Something is out of wacky, here in the United States of America, specifically in the Bay Area. What I had been looking forward to as the capital for queers, Asian Americans, and Latina/os. I left the East Coast thinking that I was going to leave behind the dichotomous ways of perceiving and living out race relations in solely black/white and heterosexist terms. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was going to be surrounded by a majority of “my people,” Asians, Latina/os, and queers of all colors, cultures, languages, and rhythms. Instead, I feel as though I have encountered total chaos and confusion.
One of my first encounters with such chaos occurred when I attended my first Filipino festival back in August of 1998 at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. For the first time, I became exposed to a Filipino-American youth culture, which I perceived to be a Filipino-American version of Hip Hop-pop/whatever you want to call it. I assumed then that this had been a subject of concern to Filipino-Americans who had been here longer, observing with critical eyes, these practices of appropriation of Black cultural forms on the part of our people. Before I proceed, I would like to acknowledge differences in appropriation of Black culture and other non-white cultures by whites who might do so in a colonizing manner (as a historically consistent sense of entitlement over “Other” cultural practices and artifacts) as opposed to other people of color who might do so as a shared practice of resistance against the white power structure.
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