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Becoming Filipino in Hawaiʻi : rejection, reframing, and acceptance of a stigmatized identity

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Item Summary

Title: Becoming Filipino in Hawaiʻi : rejection, reframing, and acceptance of a stigmatized identity
Authors: Eisen, Daniel B.
Keywords: Filipino
Issue Date: Aug 2011
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2011]
Abstract: It is an unfortunate occurrence in Hawaiʻi that many locally raised Filipino individuals grow up viewing their ethnicity as a stigma. This leads many of these individuals to develop a sense of shame about their ethnic background and they often reject a Filipino identity. While these individuals reject their Filipino identity they attempt to pass as another ethnicity or simply claim local in an attempt to shed any ethnic ties they have to the Filipino community. Although these individuals reject their Filipino background growing up, many of these individuals reconnect and "rediscover" their Filipino identity between the ages of 18 and 23, often in a college setting where they have access to learn about their Filipino heritage (Strobel 1996). Learning about the Filipino culture allows these individuals to discover the various forms of capital, known as community cultural wealth (Yosso 2005), that exist within the Filipino culture and develop a sense of pride in their Filipino background.
This study focuses on the experiences of twelve individuals, who have undergone this process of shifting from rejecting a Filipino ethnic identity to embracing and accepting a Filipino ethnic identity. Through semi-structured interviews with these individuals, who were raised in Hawaiʻi, the processes of rejection and acceptance were examined. The research examines how and why these individuals internalized the negative stereotypes about Filipinos, such as "Filipinos are uneducated," "Filipinos are simple wage workers," and "Filipinos are rude." The research further examines how these individuals coped with these internalized stereotypes by (a) claiming another ethnicity, (b) claiming to be local Filipino or just local, and (c) being ambivalent about their ethnicity. Finally, this study examines the processes that allowed these individuals to begin to accept a Filipino ethnic identity and examines the importance of (a) becoming a role model, (b) breaking the stereotypes about being Filipino, and (c) reframing the idea of Filipino in a positive fashion.
Overall, this study sheds light on the impact that stereotypes and a colonial mentality have on the development of a Filipino ethnic identity in Hawaiʻi, which raises important theoretical questions about identity formation in marginalized groups, such as Filipino in Hawaiʻi.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/101615
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Sociology



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