Take Pinky. In 1974, her father, Jimmy Edwards, was a 22-year-old sailor aboard a United States Navy ship visiting the Philippines, 9,000 miles away from his hometown, Kinston, N.C. He fell in love with a Filipina named Merlie Daet, who gave birth to their daughter, Pinky. Mr. Edwards had hoped to marry Merlie, but as a sailor, he could not marry a foreigner without his captain’s consent. The captain refused. Despite his best efforts over the years, Mr. Edwards was unable to find Pinky (or Merlie).
Until 2005, that is. USA Bound, a now defunct nonprofit organization that reconnected Filipino children with their American fathers, told Mr. Edwards that it had found Pinky. He flew to the Philippines, only to find her living in poverty in a cinder-block hut in the mountains with her husband and five children. Determined to give her a better life, he sought United States citizenship for her.
To his surprise, it was too late. Although by birthright, children born out of wedlock to an American father and a foreign mother are entitled to United States citizenship, they must file paternity certifications no later than their 18th birthday to get it. But since the military bases in the Philippines have been closed for over 20 years, virtually all Filipino “Amerasians” — a term coined by the author and activist Pearl S. Buck to describe children of American servicemen and Asian mothers — have passed that age.
Stories like Pinky’s are legion. Amerasians in the Philippines substantially outnumber those living in neighboring countries, with recent estimates as high as 250,000.
– From “The Forgotten Amerasians,” by Christopher M. Lapinig
By Andrea Plaid
Taking a break from the Crush column to review one of my favorite kinds of movies–documentaries–but I promise to include a Crush alum to keep some continuity!
So, let me keep my promise: I saw CrushR Raj Patel in a celebrity-powered version of Food, Inc., the well-regarded exposé on the effects of agribusiness and the US government subsidizing it on people living in this country and Latin America, the other night. The documentary, called A Place At The Table–as powered by Top Chef‘s Tom Colicchio (and co-directed and produced by Colicchio’s spouse Lori Silverbush), actor Jeff Bridges, and musicians T Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars–takes Food, Inc.‘s initial nugget of criticism on how agribusiness and its federal subsidies helps create food insecurity to create a solid framework on exactly how it’s done, from the Reagan-era dependence on food charities to fill in the needs of food-insecure USians as the administration cut federal spending on food programs (the film states that the US had 200 food banks in 1980 but now there are 40,000 food banks, soup kitchens, and pantries) to pricing many people living in this country out of being able to get healthy food (according to the film, the relative price of fresh fruit and vegetables has gone up by 40% since 1980, while the price of processed foods has gone done by about the same percentage) to business policies (like the fact, says the documentary, that we subsidize the basic ingredients in processed foods but don’t subsidize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains because the producers tend to be small producers as well as food suppliers and business owners determining that it’s simply not cost-effective to make fresh produce available to certain locations because they’re considered “out of the way”).
By Guest Contributors Tanya Golash-Boza and Amalia Pallares; a version of this op-ed was originally published at Counterpunch
One of the supposed lessons of Obama’s electoral victory was that Republicans could no longer afford to advocate an enforcement-only position on immigration reform. So, it says something that the party’s first nod in that direction was extraordinarily weak.
At the tail end of 2012 and of their careers, retiring Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) introduced the ACHIEVE Act, which would provide legal status to a narrow group of undocumented youth. However, this proposal does nothing to appeal to Latin@s because it provides no real path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Whereas the DREAM Act provides undocumented youth with legal permanent residence and then citizenship, the ACHIEVE Act offers a W-1 visa, which leads to a W-2, and then a W-3, with no direct path to citizenship.
By Arturo R. García
Fun fact: It wasn’t until this past weekend that I met my colleagues in the flesh.
Thanks to the internet, that’s not quite so weird to say anymore. But I can tell you that it felt great to hang and collaborate in person with Latoya, Andrea, Joseph, and Kendra–on top of contributors Tressie McMillan Cottom, T.F. Charlton, and Caitlin M. Boston–after four years(!) writing here, was a great turning point to reach in our association.
It was also, believe it or not, the first time I encountered not just many of our allies and collaborators, but our fandom in person; for whatever reason, it seems many of our Racializens are based out of the East Coast, so it was interesting to see that flicker of recognition for our work–and, thank goodness, appreciation for it–play out.
In a testament to both the amount of conversation the conference generated and how plugged-in of a constituency it attracted, Facing Race became a trending topic on Twitter both Friday and Saturday last week. At one point Tressie called the whole affair “TwitterCon.” And, over the course of the week, we’ll begin to do our best to retrace our steps for all of you, with Storifys, video, etc. And that’s just from the panels we were able to get to. There’s a whole host of signals out there just waiting to be boosted.
But this morning, at least, I’m going to enjoy the weekend just a little more. Big thanks to the Applied Research Center for putting this all together, and to our readers and supporters who were able to make it out there. If you weren’t, though, don’t sweat–we’ll catch you up soon.
By Andrea Plaid
Watching last night’s vice presidential debates, I thought about which woman I’d could easily see shredding Congressman Paul Ryan’s arguments with as much–if not more–aplomb than Vice President Biden. Of the many I thought of, I came up with the late congresswoman Barbara Jordan.
By Andrea Plaid
When I watched the documentary Payback, based on Margaret Atwood’s book about debt and forgiveness, I really wasn’t there for Atwood. I’ve never took a liking to her literary self since developing an intense dislike for her most famous work, The Handmaid’s Tale. The book rubbed my proto-anti-racist self the wrong way when I read it years ago. What I didn’t expect is to have her introduce me to my latest infatuation, Raj Patel.
A sect of people think he’s a god. No, seriously: a New Age sect believes Patel is a messiah predicted by their leader in 2010. Patel graciously and firmly stated at NYT.com that he wasn’t whom that set of faithful folks were looking for:
“It’s incredibly flattering, just for an instant,” Mr. Patel said of his unwanted status. “And then you realize what it means. People are looking for better times. Almost anything now will qualify as a portent of different times.”
The public-media premiere for Jarreth Merz’s An African Election is finally here! So, what’s happening tonight?
As you may know, we’re really hyped about the people WGBH, Boston’s public TV station–in collaboration with Racialicious and the National Black Programming Consortium‘s (NBPC) AfroPoP.TV–scheduled to appear in-studio and on Skype to have a roundtable discussion about the documentary and the issues regarding voting and democracy in both Ghana and the US:
That kicks off at 8PM EDT on PBS’ WORLD channel. We encourage you, Racializens, be a part of the Twitter discussion that’ll take place at the beginning of the panel. You just might have your pithy question or comment read on the air.
Then, at 8:30PM, the film rolls, and so does the live-tweeting! Please feel free to join the R (@racialicious) and (NBPC (@BLKPublicMedia) and our guest tweeters:
- Jen Wang (Disgrasian–@disgrasian)
- Tami Winfrey Harris (the R’s Senior Editor–@whattamisaid)
- Scot Nakagawa (ChangeLab/RaceFiles–@nakagawascot)
- Kenyon Farrow (Feminist Wire, AlterNet–@kenyonfarrow, @Praxis_Project)
- Regina Bradley (Racialicious, The New Black Magazine–@redclayscholar)
The hashtags for tonight are #AfricanElection and #AfroPoPTV.
See you in eight hours!