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Filipino American Men in Los Angeles During World War II Years - Essay Sample

2 pages
455 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
Type of paper: 
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For many centuries the Filipinos have been labeled as the forgotten "Asian American." Linda Espana-Maram explores this by looking deeply at the politics of popular culture of the Filipinos in Los Angeles. She examines the relationship that exists between the Filipinos and other races like Chinese, Mexican American, and African Americans. By exploring the lives of the Filipinos in the early 19th century both on the social, economic and political sector, she manages to show that the Filipinos are not the forgotten Asian Americans. They managed to defy racist attitude and shape their immigrant identity and masculinity like any other race. Also, they have contributed a lot to the growth of US in different ways. (Espana, 2006).

During the taxi dance halls, Filipinos men got attracted to the women from other races especially Africana American, Asian American and the white women. The dances between the Filipinos and the white women and aroused strong emotions and relationships which led to fighting between the Filipino men and the white men's. The anti-miscegenation law in the US was passed to limit the Filipinos on whom they could marry. Some men disobeyed the law and intermarried with white women especially to taxi-dancers, hotel waitress, hospital attendants and those in private homes. The asexual masculinity of the Filipinos men emerged from the leisure activities like dances, sports and the work that they performed (Espana, 2006).

The Filipinos masculinity in America was perceived to be weak both on the economic, social and political arena. They were an invisible group who were rarely recognized in the US. The only place where their masculinity was manifested was only in pool halls and gambling dens. They were viewed as weak and feminine hence given the jobs of the females workers (Espana, 2006). African Americans used to work as war slaves while the Asian migrants were used to expand global capitalist system and industrialization in the US. The weak masculinity of the Filipinos from other races and the discriminating policy differentiated them from other races.

The experience of the Filipinos in the dancehall produced a different kind of masculinity identity. During those activities, some intensified the idea of racism and racial antagonism that existed between Filipino, Mexican, White men and the blacks boxers. During the boxing, some Filipinos men used the boxing idol as a source of identity and pride to push against the notion of racism, sexual thrust, and masculinity placed upon them. Defeating white fighter in the boxing enabled them to challenge the ideology of white supremacy, The activities helped to create a different sense of the Filipino masculinity as opposed to those branded earlier.


Espana-Maram, L. (2006). Creating Masculinity in Los Angeles's Little Manila: Working-Class Filipinos and Popular Culture in the United States. Columbia University Press.

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