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I Will Not Be An Outlet: What Being Filipina Means To Me

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

I was fortunate enough to be born into a loving Filipino family. I grew up in San Diego, California, in a really diverse neighborhood so I had the privilege of never feeling ostracized because of my ethnicity. I also grew up with both sets of grandparents who really went out of their way to make sure that my cousins and I were all educated in the ways of Filipino culture. My culture has always been such an important part of my upbringing and I will always be so incredibly grateful for that.

Being Filipina has always been an integral part of my identity. However, as I’ve grown up, being Filipina has come to have a deeper meaning. When I was fifteen years old, I became involved with a boy who was in the process of applying for colleges. One day, I saw him post on one of his social media platforms after he got rejected from some of his top schools. He was rather angry about his rejections and decided to rant about the people that got into his desired schools instead of him. He began to rant about people of color who he decided were undeserving of their college acceptances. I’ll spare you the details but one line that particularly stuck out to me was: “Yet some dumbass <4.0 scoring LGBT gender studies woman that’s not white will get into any school she wants.” Needless to say, we are not in each other’s lives anymore.

That post has stuck in my mind ever since it was posted. This post not only disrespected me, but disrespected my family and all that they have gone through to give me the life that I have. It not only underestimated my family’s and my hard work, but it underestimated the hard work of the AAPI community and other communities of color. This post showed me that all this man thought of me was that I was a girl cheating my way through life and living off the privilege I was given as a woman of color. Interesting take, I have to say. But, if there is one thing that this post and this man’s words gave me, it was the fire and motivation I needed to succeed. I would prove to him that this Filipina woman was not going to take his words of ignorance and was going to build a life for herself that is bigger than he could ever imagine. So, yeah, blame me for it all. Blame me for your white privilege not working, blame me for not being able to get into your top schools, blame me for existing in the world and for taking away the privileges that “rightfully” belong to white men such as yourself. I am Filipina and I am proud of it. I will not be an outlet for your white man’s anger. 

During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, I began to really explore what being Asian American means to me, especially considering the traumatic events that were centered around violence against Asians. Many of these crimes were centered around using Asian individuals as scapegoats. Bigoted individuals were placing blame on innocent people of Asian descent and using them as an outlet for their rage and racist urges. It was heartbreaking to witness. I watched as my family, more specifically my grandparents, feared for their safety. Turning on the news felt exhausting, looking at my social media platforms was draining, and knowing that some people just couldn’t let us peacefully coexist in the world filled me with an awful sense of hopelessness. But, despite those negative feelings of discomfort, I learned what it was like to have a community. I learned what it was like to mourn as a community and to love as a community. 

During my two years at community college, I participated in creating an independent feature film called Hiraya. The film focused on telling the story of an all Filipina family working to overcome adversity in the 21st century, specifically during 2020. It touched a variety of topics that affect the Filipino community but mainly focused on the Stop Asian Hate Movement. Although this film fixated on the harsh reality of existing as an Asian individual in the year of 2020, it was a project that showed me that love persists through times of darkness. There was a lot of pain involved with creating this project but there was also much healing. This project was a labor of love that showed me the beauty of having a community that will always have my back in times of sadness, fear, and anger. 

Our world is filled with mountains and mountains of hatred and bigotry and just when you think it cannot get any worse, it somehow does. It’s enough to make you feel defeated. But, even in the hardest of times and in the midst of all the chaos of the world, there is a light that peers through the darkness. This light is us. This light is you, this light is me, this light is the communities of color that cultivate a love that is stronger than the shackles of bigotry. This is a love that shows that we will not be an outlet for hatred and blame. 

So, to all those who use my community as an outlet and to this boy who decided to rant and attack my community, you can hate all you want and talk about how undeserving we are until your lungs give out. But none of it will be true and none of it will dim the light that we possess. And it sure as hell will not extinguish the fire that you have lit inside me. Say whatever you want to say, this “dumbass <4.0 scoring LGBT gender studies woman that’s not white” can take it. Oh, and also, this statement is wrong. I’m actually a world arts and cultures major ;). 

Before ending this article, I want to say that to be Filipina is to be inherently political. Writing an article about being Filipina and what it means to be Filipina would not feel complete if I didn’t mention the current events that have taken place at UCLA over these past couple weeks. These past two weeks have been filled with pain, injustice, disappointment, and fear. All I can say is if you are celebrating AAPI month, you must include the liberation of Palestinian people. Stand with those who are affected by colonization and use your voice to speak for those who cannot. “From Palestine to the Philippines, Stop the U.S. War Machine.” 

Lauren Del Mar is a third-year World Arts and Cultures major at UCLA! She is from San Diego, California and she is beyond excited to be a part of the Her Campus team! From writing to performing on stage, Lauren absolutely adores storytelling and is so happy to be able to tell stories through Her Campus!