Definitions, Descriptions, and/or Histories



Anti-Filipino sentiment peaked during the late 1920s, partly as a result of the depression, resulting in racially motivated attacks, mobs, and murders. In 1933, anti-Filipina/o exclusionists and pro-independence lawmakers ally to draft the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which promises Filipino independence in 1944, changes the status of Filipinas/os from “national” to “alien,” and restricts immigration from the Philippines to 50 per year. In Bulosan’s America Is In the Heart, he writes that the lives of Filipinos were “cheaper than those of dogs,” and that it was a “crime” to be a Filipino in America.


Laws prohibiting the marriage of whites and blacks date back to the founding of the American republic and the institution of slavery. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, racial “scientists” and eugenicists deemed a mixing of the “races” (“miscegenation”) as biologically undesirable. Laws prohibiting the marriage of anyone legally or socially defined as “white” with someone of another non-white, racialized group were “antimiscegenation laws.” Miscegenation is a racist term implying that such mixing is degrading to both racialized groups and that the resulting children will be “lower” than either parents’ race. Different states had antimiscegenation laws naming various ethnic or racialized groups depending on the local demographics. For example, in the South the focus was on preventing intermarriage between “whites” and people legally and socially defined as “Black” (in some states if you were 1/16th Black, in other is you were 1/32nd Black you were so defined). California’s anti-miscgenation laws prohibited the marriage of whites to blacks, Mongolians, and Indians.

Landmark Interracial Relationship Cases & Antimiscegenation Laws:

The first recorded interracial marriage in North American history took place between John Rolfe and Pocahontas in 1614. The first anti-miscegenation law in what was to become the United States was enacted in Maryland in 1661. It prevented the intermarriage of white women with Black men. In the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century, many American states passed anti-miscegenation laws. Typically a felony, these laws prohibited the solemnization of weddings between people categorized socially and legally as white and those categorized in specific non-white groups and prohibited the officiating of such ceremonies. Anti-miscegenation laws were integral to the institutionalization of slavery because it meant that Black men could be easily persecuted for the “crime” of looking at a white woman—and the cry of “rape” was often used to justify the lynching of Black men during this time. It also kept white women and the ideal of white womanhood as the sole domain of white men. Meanwhile, white men could and did freely have sex with Black women, and anti-miscegenation laws prevented such unions from ever being legally sanctioned. Definitions of Blackness were strict; if you were 1/32nd black in some states you were legally Black. That means if you had one great great great grandparent who had been legally and or socially considered Black, so were you. Thus, the mixed heritage children of interracial unions could rarely inherit their white fathers’ property. At the time that anti-miscegenation laws were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, sixteen states still had laws prohibiting interethnic marriage. Those laws were not completely repealed until November 2000, when Alabama became the last state to repeal its law. Mixed heritage organizations are now beginning to celebrate June 12th as Loving Day to commemorate the struggle of this and many other brave couples. (For more information, go to http://lovingday.org.)

In 1933, Filipino immigrant Salvador Roldan challenged the state’s law by asserting that Filipinos were Malay, and therefore, not subject to the law; he was able to marry his white fiancée. The next year, the state added “Malay” to the law.


A system in which one nation exercises military, economic, and political
power to control another country’s:

Land – by establishing colonies or political rule
Labor – through slavery and/or exploitation
Liberty – by taking away freedom and/or violating human rights
Life – by attempting to destroy indigenous culture, ideology, identity, and
Language – to control communication and education
Legacy – through the destruction of histories, herstories, and ourstories
(Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, 2007)

Under feudalism, Land = Power. If you want more power, you need more land. The
European colonial experience was based on the quest of nations for more power.
Often, the understated result of this expansion was the mass murder of indigenous
people, as well as the enslavement of Africans and the native population of the continent.
The Philippines was a direct colony of Spain, and later, the United States
(Artnelson Concordia, Tibak, 2006). (PEP book)


All people of color in Stockton, including Filipinas/os, were excluded from most areas of Stockton north of Main Street. Chinese, Japanese and Filipinas/os were segregated into area downtown called the “Oriental Quarter”. Filipinas/os settled near Chinatown and Japantown at the intersection of El Dorado and Lafayette Streets and created a four-to-six block area they called “Little Manila.” It was a diverse neighborhood, full of Filipina/o owned businesses, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, residences, churches and organizations that was home to the largest community of Filipinas/os outside of the Philippines from the 1930s to the 1960s. Many Filipinas/os lived in the small residential hotels in the area. After World War II, when many Filipina/o families settled in neighborhoods near Little Manila, the neighborhood was still a gathering place for the region’s Filipina/o American community. In the 1950s and 1960s, city officials marked Chinatown, Japantown and Little Manila for urban redevelopment and the State Highway Commission identified a corridor that included much of Little Manila for the Crosstown freeway. Thousands of Filipinas/os and other residents lost their homes and businesses. In 1972, the Filipina/o community built the Filipino Center, a downtown complex with affordable housing and a place for displaced businesses. In 1999, the city evicted more elderly Filipinas/os to build a McDonalds on El Dorado and Lafayette Streets. Filipinos continue to be the largest Asian ethnic group in Stockton and surrounding San Joaquin County. In 2002, the city, under pressure from the community, designated a four block area downtown as the Little Manila Historic Site.


Term of respect and admiration for the generation of men and women who immigrated to the United States between the beginning of the American colonial period to World War II, coined by their descendants and more recent immigrants. However, some scholars are critical of the term for a number of reasons, and prefer to use terms like “pioneers” and “first wave immigrants.” For some Ilocanos and Visayans, “Manong/Manang” are familial, terms used for an older sibling, and terms of deeper respect (Uncle, Lolo, Tata/Tay (father), Sir, and Mr., for example), were more often used for the pioneer immigrants. Scholars also maintain that the term “Manong/Manang Generation” also “freezes” that generation in old age, conceptualizes that generation’s identity only in relationship to younger and newer immigrants, and doesn’t recognize their youthful experiences in America, multidimensional lives and their different life experiences over many decades.
PINAY/PINOY PIONEER LABOR (1906-1934) Pinay/Pinoy: The nickname Filipina/o immigrants gave themselves in the United States, to identify anyone who is Filipina/o with American roots/experiences. Some its earliest uses can be traced back to the mid-1920s. The term traveled back to the Philippines, where it is now widely used for any Filipina/o.

Dignified Labor: The Filipina/o American farm workers and cannery workers performed extremely difficult work with great skill and pride. However, they were often exploited, abused, devalued, and mistreated by the people who employed them. Despite this, they were dignified and proud of their work and their skill, and determined that they be treated and paid accordingly. They were skilled workers and highly professional. They did work that many could not, or refused, to do. They fought for economic justice by organizing labor unions that fought for fair wages and working conditions. They had great dignity, and believed that their hard work was worth good pay and safe working conditions. They sacrificed many of their dreams, including going to college, to help their families in the United States and the Philippines. They were Pinay/Pinoy Pioneers.

Degradation and Exploitation: Because of racism and capitalism, Filipinas/os and other immigrants and workers of color laboring in agriculture, canneries, industries, and in domestic work were exploited and degraded despite their skill and experience. Filipinas/os, considered a dispensable, cheap labor source, worked the longest hours and were paid the lowest wages and endured the worst working and living conditions. They were humiliated, treated unfairly, and forced to work in conditions few Americans would accept. Their hard work and professionalism were devalued because of racist and classist ideas about Filipinas/os and about the nature of physical labor. For example, some farmers believed that Filipinas/os were suited to farm work, because they were shorter and therefore, closer to the ground. Many farmers and bosses believed that Filipinas/os deserved low wages because they were thought to be racially inferior.

Determined Activism: Despite their mistreatment, Filipina/o American farm workers were determined to fight against the exploitation of farm and cannery workers. Even though they were often beaten, arrested, jailed, shot at, dismissed, and ignored, they persisted in fighting for wages through militant and highly organized labor unions.


(1906-1934) Filipinas/os who arrive in the United States in this period– about 100,000–constitute the first major wave of Filipina/o immigration to Hawaii and the “mainland” United States. Beginning in 1906, the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association (HSPA) recruited thousands of workers, most of them Ilocanas/os and Visayans. By the 1920s, Filipinas/os immigrated directly to the United States mainland, and some sakadas began leaving Hawaii to settle on the mainland. Most of the early immigrants became laborers in plantations in Hawaii, on farms in the United States, or in Alaska in the salmon canneries. Many were inspired by the pensionadas/os and desired the opportunity to go to school in the United States, but had to work as laborers to survive.

As “nationals” of the United States, Filipinas/os entered the United States without restriction, filling a labor vacuum on the West Coast that arose when all Asian immigration was prohibited from entering the United States under the 1924 Immigration Act. The majority of these immigrants were young men under the age of 30; about ten percent of these immigrants were women. Filipinas/os settled in such West Coast cities as Stockton, California, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salinas, Watsonville, and Seattle, creating vibrant Little Manilas, Manilatowns, and many Filipina/o American organizations. Filipinas/os also created militant and highly organized labor unions in Stockton, Salinas, and in the Alaskan salmon canneries.

Anti-Filipina/o sentiment peaked during the late 1920s, resulting in racially motivated attacks, mobs, and murders. In 1933, anti-Filipina/o exclusionists and pro-independence lawmakers ally to draft the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which promises Filipino independence in 1944, changes the status of Filipinas/os from “national” to “alien,” and restricts immigration from the Philippines to 50 per year.


(1934-1946) This period is characterized by three key developments: the exclusion of Filipinas/os and the change in their status, the onset of World War II, and the coming of age of American-born or American-raised children of the pre-war immigrants. Filipinas/os can no longer move freely between the Philippines and the United States and are now classified as “aliens.” World War II brings devastation and horror to the Philippines as the United States departs and Japan occupies the Philippines. However, Filipino immigrants in the United States are offered an opportunity to fight in the Philippines in the U.S. Army’s First and Second Filipino Infantry Regiments, and to become naturalized citizens. Though the majority of immigrants were Filipino men, there were many Filipina/o American families in Hawaii and in the United States. The children in these families became adolescents in the late 1930s and 1940s, in the process, creating a unique Filipina/o American identity and ethnic culture.


Identity is not the same as heritage, though many people often conflate the two ideas. Identity is more often about who an individual identifies with rather than what an individual identifies as. Therefore, a person of mixed Filipina/o and Thai heritage may identify first as an Asian American because she feels more in common with other Asian Americans than with either the Thai or Filipina/o American communities. A person of mixed heritage is likely to have a sense of identification with more than one community, so different identities may be fore-grounded at different times.

- The collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known.
- The set of behavioral or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognizable as a member or group.
- The quality or condition of being the same as something else.
- The distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity; individuality. (Dictionary.com)


The systematic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little social power in the United States (African Americans, Latino/as, Native Americans, and Asian Americans), by the members of the agent racial group who has relatively more social power (Whites). This subordination is supported by the actions of individuals, cultural norms and values, and the institutional structures and practices of society (Adams, Bell, and Griffin, 89). When we think about racism, we can look back at hundreds of years of acts of racism. The term “racism,” however, did not actually appear until the 1930s.