Sei sulla pagina 1di 22

The Culture and Politics of Identity Claim: the flight of the Filipino Amerasian Children in Angeles City1

By Janice S. Zamora-Morales Gloria Luz M. Nelson, Ph.D Jinky R. Bagagan Abstract The Philippines felt the impact of expanding U.S. militarism. The presence since 1946 of the Clark Air Force Base (Angeles City) and the Subic Naval Base (Olongapo City)- the largest military installations outside U.S. mainland- are testimony to that fact. In 1992, the Philippine Senate voted against the renewal of the bases lease, and Mount Pinatubo located in the vicinity of these bases, erupted. Speculations thus abounded that it was more the natures wrath rather than the Senates voice that forced the American military bases out of the country. The closing of the U.S. bases led to many problems. One of them was the dire situation of many Amerasian. The problem was exacerbated when the Philippine Senate, in its decision for non-renewal, neglected to include provisions and contingency plans for the Amerasian children. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, on the other hand, passed Public Law 97-359 allowing Amerasians permanent residency in the United States. Unfortunately, they excluded Filipinos and Japanese for two reasons. First, the Philippines and Japan were not war zones and the Amerasians were therefore not subjected to discrimination and hatred. Second, majority of the mothers were prostitutes. There are some Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and International organizations like the Pearl S. Buck International that help Amerasians. The assistance takes the form of help in obtaining U.S. citizenship and in locating their long-lost fathers. The problem is, majority of the Amerasian children have very little or no information at all to help trace their fathers. The Philippine National Statistics Office (NSO) has documented about 500,000 Filipino-Americans, a figure far below the actual number of Amerasians. About 53% of them are in Olongapo City, 20% are in Angeles City, and the rest reside in Metro Manila and Cebu. The study will look into the concerns of Amerasian children in Angeles City who are ostracized for being abandoned by their fathers and for being left with no sustainable resources from both parents. A survey on Amerasians will be conducted in Angeles City. To complement and validate survey results, life histories and case studies will be made on selected Amerasians. From these, common themes will be developed that will clarify the cultural and political dimensions of the plight of Amerasians in the search for identity. This study will hopefully contribute to the understanding of the Asian American culture and address issues of differential treatment on account of a multiracial identity.

Paper presented during the 27th Annual UGAT conference held last October 20-22 2005 at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas, Miagao.

INTRODUCTION The end of the World War II marked the liberation of the Philippines from Japan and not long after, the independence was celebrated when the Philippine Flag was raised while the U.S. flag was going down. This historical event took place in one of the biggest U.S. military installation in Asia. The military installation made the United States of America (U.S.A.) rose to become the sole super power in the 20th century. The Philippines is one of the countries in Asia that experienced the global expansion of U.S. militarism. The presence of U.S. military bases, the Clark Air Force Base (Angeles City) and Subic Naval Base (Olongapo City) became a permanent fixture of our social environment since our Independence in 1946. In 1992, the Philippine Senate voted against the renewal of the lease of these bases. This political decision ended U.S. military presence in the Philippines. In 1991, Mount Pinatubo which was located in the vicinity of these two military bases, erupted. Some believed that this reason and not necessarily the Senates decision, that the American military vacated the bases and left the country. When the dust has settled and the bases were empty, we were left to confront the manifold negative effects of U.S. military occupation. Among other things, we were left to deal with the toxic waste that the U.S. military had left behind. We were also faced with the dire situations of many Amerasian children2 the product of an illicit affair of two different races involving an American soldier and a Filipina who usually works as hospitality girl. The solutions called for by the latter problem are more complex than that of the former since it involves several dimensions of being and becoming human. The predicament was exacerbated by the fact that the Philippines Senate, in its decision to refuse renewal of the U.S. bases leases, neglected to include provisions and contingency plans for the Filipino Amerasian children. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, on the other hand, passed Public Law 97-359, which allowed Amerasians permanent residency in the United States. Unfortunately, this bill excluded Filipino and Japanese Amerasians. The bill cited two reasons for the exclusion: that Philippines and Japan were not war zones and thus, the Amerasians were apparently not subjected to discrimination and hatred; and that majority of the mothers were prostitutes. The Philippine National Statistics Office (NSO) documented about 500,000 Filipino-Americans. The Office was not clear on whether this figure points only to Filipinos who are American citizens and reside in the States or might include Filipinos
The Amerasian Foundation defines an Amerasian as any person who was fathered by a citizen of the United States (an American servicemen, American expatriate, or U.S. Government Employee (Regular or Contract)) and whose mother is, or was, an Asian National Asian. For this studys purposes, we modified the definition to become what is stated above.

with American blood that are still in the Philippines. USA Bound, Inc., an organization based in the U.S. that helps Filipino Amerasians obtain their US citizenship (if possible) and locate their fathers, as well as help American fathers locate their Filipino children, says there are about 52,000 to 100,000 Filipino Amerasians.3 More precise data comes from Learn.Ph Foundation, a non-governmental organization that aims to help indigent groups by means of technology training [Pinaroc, 2004]. The foundation says at least 50,000 Amerasians are scattered in Subic, Olongapo, and Clark, Pampanga.4 It is believed that the undocumented ones far exceed the figure cited for the documented ones. Amerasians are residentially concentrated around the vicinity of the former military bases. About 53% are in Olangapo city and 20% are in Angeles City and the rest reside in Metro Manila and Cebu. There are several organizations, mostly non-government organizations (NGOs) and international organizations like the Pearl S. Buck International that help mitigate the quandary of the Amerasians. The assistance takes the form of help in obtaining U.S. citizenship and in locating their long-lost fathers. Regrettably, majority of the Amerasian children have very little or no information at all to even start tracing their fathers whereabouts. The search involves extensive phone calls and letter writings. Racial mixing has produced specific social categories of half-castes (mestizos, mulattos, Eurasians, and so on) in certain historical locations and periods. There are also differential treatments for individuals of mixed races. In some cases, the mestizos had been successful in the entertainment business solely for their physical appearance which is akin to the colonial mentors and which is perceived to be attractive. However, the opposite also takes place. There are always testimonies of their being victims of discrimination, ostracism, and expulsion. Studies on the perceptions on the Amerasians in the Philippines are far from many. In fact studies on them are sparse and mostly limited to profiling and baseline studies. A survey of Amerasians was done by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in 1995. Then in 1998, the UP Center for Womens Studies, in collaboration with numerous other agencies, conducted a study of a sample of Amerasians. This latter study is more comprehensive and layered, including the Amerasians caregivers (those who are raising the Amerasians) in the study and conducting Focus Group Discussions to highlight the salient issues and concerns of the Amerasians and their caregivers.


3 4

Mark Teresa. Sunday December 12, 2004, USA Bound, Inc. cited from an article by Joel D. Pinaroc, Subeditor, Central Luzon Bureau. Amerasians:Victims of neglect and discrimination. Sunday, April 25, 2004.

Culiat was the former name of Angeles City. The name was derived from vines called culiat which were abundant during that time in the area. In 1796, Don Angel Pantaleon De Miranda and his wife Dona Rosalia De Jesus led the people in clearing the area. Culiat then was still a barrio of San Fernando, Pampanga. After 33 years, with the initiative of Don Angel and his son-in-law Dr. Mariano Henson, it became an independent town. It was renamed Angeles in honor of its founder Don Angel and its titular patron Los Santos Custodios. American occupation in the city began in January 1, 1900. It was on the same day that the first U.S. Government was structured by General Frederick D. Grant. In October 1902, a U.S. Camp was built in Talimundoc (now Lourdes Sur, Angeles City). Several years of foreign occupation were experienced before Angeles City became independent. Under the Republic Act no. 3700, Angeles City became a chartered city on January 1, 1964. The researchers chose Angeles City because apart from Olongapo City, it is the next place where large numbers of Amerasians are found. Moreover, one of the organizations that assist them is the Philippine Childrens Fund of America, which is located in Angeles City.

OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY The objective of the study is to look into the self perception / identity of the Amerasian children in the Philippines who were abandoned, who grew up with no father figure, who were ostracized for their being illegitimate, and who were left with no sustainable resources from both parents. Specifically, the study aims to elucidate the self identities of the Amerasians who were products of the American bases and who reside in Angeles City. It tries to illuminate how Philippine politics and culture influenced the development of the Amerasians double consciousness of being: that of being a member of the minority of mixed race heritage; and that of being a Filipino who is politically governed by the laws in the Philippines. This problem in identities is not only multiracial in nature, but also includes personal and social issues of multiethnicity, geographical differences and physical appearance in the political and cultural context of the Philippines. Due to the relative dearth of tools to measure identity of Amerasians, this study also endeavors to operationalize Amerasian identity by their color and by their use of their fathers name, for the purposes of profiling the said group. As an adjunct, this study intends to examine the Amerasian color and use of fathers name differentials. That is, how black and white Amerasians, and how Amerasians who use their fathers name and those who dont, differ in terms of employment, education, and occupation. The researchers will also try to profile the Amerasians in Angeles City.

It is hoped that the results of the study will lead to the identification of many social and political issues that embroil the Amerasians. These issues cannot be resolved by the Amerasians alone, nor by the NGOs who are actively assisting them. There is a need for the government, particularly the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to include programs and activities that would answer to their needs. After all, they too, as Filipinos, should be bestowed the equal rights and privileges accorded to Filipinos of non-mixed heritage.

DATA AND METHODS The study uses the Philippine Children Fund of America (PCFA) dataset, which contains basic demographic information on the Amerasians, their parents (father and mother), and/or guardians. Two hundred and twelve Amerasians are originally included in this dataset. However, since this study specifically targets the Amerasian children of US Army personnel, the whole dataset could not be used. Knowing that the bases were vacated in 1991, the researchers excluded from the study those Amerasians who were born later than 1992. The researchers have also explicitly stated their intentions of including only Amerasians who are Angeles City residents. Thus, the dataset was further reduced to include only Angeles City residents. In the end, the studys final dataset contained only one hundred and fifty-two Amerasians. This final dataset was mainly used for profiling and differential analysis. To supplement the secondary sources, unstructured interviews (Focus Groups) of selected Amerasians were conducted during a tree planting activity organized by Gary Felker, an Amerasian and the present program coordinator of PCFA. The in-depth interviews were also conducted to come up with a collection of life histories for the 11 case studies. We also utilized press releases and newspaper articles on the plight of the Amerasians. From the articles and testimonies of Amerasians searching for an identity (despite the absence of their father in their most critical years of development), common themes showing the cultural and political dimensions of the Amerasians plight recurred. The notion of double consciousness as advanced by W.E.B. Dubois, 1897 has been applied to interpret the results of the study. Dubois study contributed to the understanding of the Asian American culture and to addressing issues on multiracial identities and differential treatments due to a mixing of races and physical appearance. These same issues remained unaddressed in the past literature on biracial individuals in Asia. Comparison between two types of racial mixing (Filipino and White; Filipino and Blacks) on their personal, political and cultural identities was done using T-tests of comparison means of two groups.


When W.E.B. De Bois wrote his essay on the fractured identity of African Americans in 1903 he was describing the inner struggle faced by the Blacks in a society dominated by the Whites. A minority is born with a veil because he learns to see himself and the world through the eyes of the majority white the same majority white who, according to Blalock (1967), Olzak (1990) and Woodward (1951) [as cited by Tomaskovic-Devey and Roscigno 1996] has benefited and encouraged the discrimination of the minority black. This produces a double consciousness-two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder." In the 14 essays found in The Souls of Black Folk, the sentiments of the African Americans in a white dominated world provided keen insights into the past and present social problems such as ghettoes in urban cities, economic inequality, and poverty. These are evidences of the cumulative effects of racism (Wilson 1986; 1997). Racism, according to Benedict (1945) is the dogma that one ethnic group is condemned by nature to congenital inferiority and another group is destined to congenital superiority (Bonilla-Silva 1997). In such a set-up, blackness and whiteness does not represent only a difference in color but a range of social distinctions such as lifestyles, forms of citizenship, and national belonging (Knowles 1999). Literature suggests that the effects of historic discrimination against African Americans have resulted in a disproportionate percentage of poor Blacks (Massey and Denton 1993; Wilson 1986, 1997). For example, in 1996 although Blacks comprised approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population, they made up about 28 percent of the poor. Although about 75 percent of all poor people are White, Blacks, especially single mothers and their children, are at greater risk of poverty. DuBois observations aid sociologists in exploring, explaining, describing, predicting, and addressing the systematic discrimination and prejudice by the majority population against the minority population. It also assumes that identities of minorities are born from the definition given to them by the majority. A study conducted by Knowles (1999) about the influence of race on identity formation bears out the latter. Knowles found out that a person of a minority racial extraction has a sense of alterity or otherness; he is aware that he is different from others, and that others see him as different (p. 124). The Amerasians can be seen in the same context as the African Americans. Their being a mixed racial group create a double consciousness, the consciousness of being a mestizo and being a Filipino on the other hand. Unlike other racial groups where ancestry maybe traced from a single lineage, Amerasians are faced with the dilemma of two lineages. Unfortunately for many of them, the fact that they were born out of wedlock makes the roots of their fathers lineage hard to define. Growing up with a single parent in a impoverished state, the Amerasian children have to contend with the lack of both material and emotional support. And since identity is a product (as well as a producer, of course) of the social circumstances in which the individual finds himself

(Knowles 1999), social and political realities continue to impinge on the Amerasians search for self identity. There are two recent studies that have applied the theme double consciousness. The first one was by Toni Morrison (1993) on fictional communities while that of Paul Gilroy (1993) focuses on the idea of double consciousness as a sub structural entity. The concept Black Atlantic was derived from the foundation laid by ideas such as transnational, transracial, and transcultural. Sociologists of the early twentieth century are more concerned with the construction of ethnic identity. The work of Avruch emphasizes the political construction of ethnicity as exemplified from the experience of the Hutus in Tanzania, and the Palestinians. If it is indeed socially or politically constructed, the mixed race of the Amerasians as a primordial characteristic is less of a concern. The focus would be on the processes of their becoming a mixed race. It is relevant to ask, what is the culture, social and political content of being an Amerasian? Surely, the mixed race groups elsewhere have different culture content. The Filipino Amerasians have a shared history, as they generally were products of illicit affairs between an American soldier having fun and a Filipina who does sex trade for a living. The conjoined perspectives of double consciousness and social construction are integral in the identity of Asian Americans.

RESULTS The Amerasian Profile The following is a brief sociodemographic profile of the Amerasians in Angeles City. Included in this part are their characteristics such as civil status, race, gender, highest educational attainment, occupation and birth status. See table 1. The data coming from the Philippine Childrens Fund of America (PCFA) reflects that out of the 152 Amerasians in Angeles City, 90.79% are single and only 9.21% are married. In terms of gender, 55.26% are males and 44.68% are females. Looking at the age distribution of Amerasians, it is observable that a large percentage, or 48.02% of the population comes from the age group 13-18. This means that many Amerasians were born within the period 1987-1992. Amerasians aged 19-24 constitute 21.71% of the population. Only one of the 152 cases is older than 55, while 5.26% are 37-41 years old. Amerasians aged 25-30 and 31-36 years old have about similar percentage shares, or 11.84% and 12.50%, respectively. All in all, about 82.24% of the Amerasians are 30 years old or less. This illustrates that Amerasians living in Angeles City are relatively young. Education information in the data was not precise and so the researchers had to content themselves with more expansive categories than is desirable. See the table below, for the categorizations. Furthermore, 20.39% of the 152 subjects did not give any

information on their educational attainment. It is still worth noting, that majority or 51.24% of those who did give information reached the high school or secondary level of education. In looking at the present educational status of the Amerasians, it is a positive indication that 55.92% of them are studying and only 27.63% are out of school. It should be noted though, that this can be explained by the Amerasians relatively bottom heavy age distribution. There are also cases when no information about education was furnished (please see table 1). Socioeconomic Characteristics Among the 152 cases only 18.42% have information on Occupation. The occupation having the highest percentage of 8.55% is factory work, security, and manual labor. This is followed by Amerasians who are artists, musicians, tutors and chef with a percentage of 4.61%. Amerasians involved in office work and other white collar jobs are 3.95%. Lastly 1.32% of them are in voluntary work. While the data on education showed that large number of them are in school, the type of occupations presented in the table are mostly blue collar jobs. This is consistent on the next category showing a large number of unemployed Amerasians with 23.57%. There are 17.83% employed Amerasians and 1.27% who are self-employed. Only 42.67% of the cases have data on their employment status. Tracing the Amerasian Identity Among the 152 Amerasians in the study, 64.47% were born in Angeles City, 9.87% in Olongapo City/ Zambales, 15.14% in other areas of Pampanga and 10.53% were born in other provinces. Cases were categorized based on their color (or race). Forty Amerasians (26.32%) had no data on color. As of those whose color information is available, 50.89% are black while 49.11% are white. One of the major factors that shaped the identity of Amerasians is the marriage of their parents. This affected their birth status (whether they are legitimate or not), and consequently, the use of their fathers name. A total of 84.87% of Amerasians are products of relationships outside of marriage while only 5.26% were born within a marriage. Among the cases, 94.07% are illegitimate and only 5.92% are legitimate. Despite the data showing a large population of Amerasians having illegitimate birth status, it is astounding to know that 55.26% of them use their fathers name while only 34.21% opt otherwise. The researchers recognize that though this figure is a reasonable one and a good indication of the Amerasians desire to identify themselves with their father, it could actually have been negatively affected by the Family Code of 1987.
TABLE 1. Demographic characteristics of Amerasians, Angeles City, 2005 CATEGORIES Percent Valid

Percent Age Groups 13-18 years old 19-24 years old 25-30 years old 31-36 years old 37-42 years old 43-48 years old 49-54 years old 55-60 years old Highest Educational Attainment Some Elementary or Elementary Graduate Some High School or High School Graduate Some Training, Some College or College Graduate No Info School Status Out of school In-school No Info Occupation Factory worker, security guard, other manual laborers Artist, musician, tutor, chef, others with responsibility Office workers, professionals Voluntary work Not Applicable No Info Employment Status Unemployed Employed Self-employed No Info 48 22 13 12 5 0 0 0.65 20 41 19 20 28 56 16 9 5 4 1 24 57 24 18 1 57 N= 152 48 22 13 12 5 0 0 0.65 24.8 51.2 24.0 --33.1 66.9 --46.4 25.0 21.4 7.1 ----56.1 40.9 3.0

Article 164 of Executive Order No. 209 (The Family Code of the Philippines) provides that births within a marriage are legitimate and thus, children who were born outside it are not. Article 176 of the same maintains that illegitimate children shall use their mothers surname. It can therefore be supposed that had this law not been in effect, more of the cases would have registered use of their fathers name. The researchers also examined differences between White and Black Amerasians and between those who use and do not use their fathers name, respectively, in terms of their socioeconomic characteristics. Amerasian Color Differentials There is not much difference in the employment status of White and Black Amerasians. Forty percent of White Amerasians are employed as opposed to 38.5% of the Black Amerasians. Sixty percent of White Amerasians are unemployed, while 61.5%

of the Black Amerasians are such (see Table 2). The subsequent test of association that has been performed revealed there is no significant relationship between color and unemployment (see Table 5). In terms of educational attainment more whites (73.1%) are still in school, as compared to the blacks who are (68%). But notice their educational attainment. About 33% of the Black Amerasians reached the college level or its equivalent, whereas only 18% of the White Amerasians have done as much. Notice too, that there are less Black Amerasians (16.7%) than White Amerasians (32%) whose highest educational attainment is the primary level. Black Amerasians seem to have better educational attainment. However, the apparent association is not significant (see Table 5). As discussed previously a large number of Amerasians (93%) are illegitimate and both Whites and Blacks have about equal representation in this category. About 91% of Black Amerasians and about 94% of White Amerasians, respectively, are illegitimate.
TABLE 2. Color Differentials of Amerasians in terms of Socioeconomic Characteristics Color Category Employment Status Total (n) Black White Unemployed 61.5% 60.0% 60.8% (31) Employed 38.5% 40.0% 39.2% (20) Total (n) 100% (26) 100% (25) 100% (51) Occupation Manual laborers and artists 54.5% 80.0% 66.7% (14) Office and voluntary workers 45.5% 20.0% 33.3% (7) Total (n) 100% (11) 100% (10) 100% (21) Highest Educational Attainment 16.7% 32.0% 24.5% (24) Some Elementary or Elementary Graduate Some High School or High School Graduate 50.0% 50.0% 50.0% (49) Some Training, Some College or College Graduate 33.3% 18.0% 25.5% (25) Total (n) 100% (48) 100% (50) 100% (98) School Status Out of school 32.0% 26.9% 29.4% (30) In-school 68.0% 73.1% 70.6% (72) Total (n) 100% (50) 100% (52) 100% (102) Birth Status Illegitimate 91.2% 94.5% 92.9% (104) Legitimate 8.8% 5.5% 7.1% (8) Total (n) 100% (57) 100% (55) 100% (112) is mother married to father of Amerasian? No 91.2% 94.4% 92.8% (103) Yes 8.8% 5.6% 7.2% (8) Total (n) 100% (57) 49% (54) 100% (111)

Use of fathers name Differentials Apart from looking at color differences, the researchers attempt to see if the use of their fathers name has a bearing on the Amerasians socioeconomic characteristics. Table 3 demonstrates that there is a positive relationship between use of fathers name 10

and employment status. That is, there are more Amerasians who say they use their fathers name (45.2%) than those who dont (37.9%) that are employed. On the other side of the coin, 62.1% of those who dont use their fathers name are unemployed, whereas only 54.8% of those who use their fathers name are thus. This association has been tested and the results show that this is not a significant association (Table 5).
TABLE 3. Use of Fathers Name Differentials employment status Unemployed Employed Total (n) Occupation Manual laborers and artists Office and voluntary workers Total (n) highest educational attainment Some Elementary or Elementary Graduate Some High School or High School Graduate Some Training, Some College or College Graduate Total (n) still in school Out of school In-school Total (n) birth status Illegitimate Legitimate Total (n) uses father's name No Yes 62.1% 54.8% 37.9% 45.2% 100% (29) 100% (31) 81.8% 18.2% 100% (11) 35.2% 52.1% 12.7% 100% (71) 23.4% 76.6% 100% (77) 64.1% 22.2% 61.3% (84) 64.3% 35.7% 100% (14) 11.9% 45.2% 42.9% 100% (42) 50.0% 50.0% 35% (42) 35.9% 77.8% 38.7% (53) Total (n) 58.3% (35) 41.7% (25) 100% (60) 48% (12) 24% (6) 100% (25) 26.5% (30) 49.6% (56) 23.9% (27) 100% (113) 32.8% (39) 67.2% (80) 100% (119) 100% (128) 7% (9) 100% (137)

Moreover, there are more Amerasians using their fathers name (35.7%), than there are of Amerasians not using their fathers name (18.2%), who are involved in office or voluntary work. On the other hand, 81.8% of Amerasians who dont use their fathers name belong to manual labor, whereas only 64.3% of Amerasians who use their fathers name belong to this category. However, the apparent association between use of fathers name and occupation is dubious in light of the very small number valid cases (25 for this bivariate analysis). Table 3 also shows that Amerasians who use their fathers name have higher educational attainment than those who dont use their fathers name. About 43% of the former at least reached college or its equivalent, whereas only a meager 12.7% of the latter have come as far. And as expected only 11.9% of the Amerasians who use their fathers name have never risen above the primary level, as opposed to 35.2% of the Amerasians who do not use their fathers name. There is therefore, an apparently moderate positive relationship between the use of fathers name and educational attainment. A subsequent test of independence confirms this observation (see table 6). Furthermore, analysis of the relationship between use of fathers name and school status


reveals that 76.6% of Amerasians who do not use their fathers name are in school, whereas only 50% of those who use their fathers name are. A specious dilemma seems to present itself at this point. If there is a positive relationship between use of fathers name and educational attainment, how can there be now an apparent negative association between use of fathers name and school status? Isnt it true that Amerasians who use their fathers name stayed in school for far longer than those who did not (see above paragraph for educational attainment data)? The apparent contradiction actually does not exist. An explanation lies in the age structure of the Amerasians under study. Many of the Amerasians (48%) belong to the 13-18 age group or the schooling age group. Thus, it is natural that most of the Amerasians under study are still in school. The use of their fathers name would not matter much in this case. An inspection of the following table would show that 87.5% of Amerasians aged 13-18 are in-school as opposed to only 68%, 20%, 46.7% and 28.6% of those aged 19-24, 25-30, 31-36, and 37-42, respectively. Complementing this pattern, we can see that as we go up in age group, the greater the percentage of Amerasians who are out of school. See table 4 below.
TABLE 4. Bivariate Analysis of Age Group and School Status school status Out of school 12.5% 32.0% 80.0% 53.3% 71.4% 100.0% 33.1% (42)

age group 13-18 19-24 25-30 31-36 37-42 55-60 Total (n)

In-school 87.5% 68.0% 20.0% 46.7% 28.6% 00.0% 66.9% (85)

Total (n) 100.0% (64) 100.0% (25) 100.0% (15) 100.0% (15) 100.0% (7) 100.0% (1)1 100.0% (127)

The above finding, however, casts doubt on the association between use of fathers name and school status. The relationship may well be spurious, brought about by the skewed age structure of the Amerasians under study. Understandably, 64% of Amerasians who are illegitimate and only 22.2% of those who are legitimate do not use their fathers name. And of course, 77.8% of Amerasians who are legitimate use their fathers name, while only 35.9% (which is still a sizable percentage) of illegitimate Amerasians use their fathers name. This association is found to be significant (see Table 5). To summarize, though the use of fathers name is one way of forming the Amerasian Identity, being black or white still has a bearing on their identity formation. Why they are such shall be discussed in much detail at the latter part of this paper. At this point however, many things are clear. Though apparent associations exist between color and employment status, educational attainment, school status, or birth status, subsequent tests of independence did not validate them. In the case of occupation, lack of cases prevented a meaningful testing. However, let it be noted that the researchers do not totally discount these associations, but accept it only for the meantime. After all, the


patterns exist. Further study may yet prove that Amerasians color do affect these socioeconomic variables. Use of fathers name shows patterns of association with employment status, educational attainment, and school status. This time, however, the patterns are confirmed by their Pearson Chi-Square values. Significant is the association between use of fathers name and educational attainment, as well as the association between use of fathers name and school status. The researchers, at this juncture, remind you that the latter significant association may well be spurious. Further testing is required, and that, unfortunately, is beyond the present scope of this study. The study also bears out the fact that there is a significant association between the birth status of the Amerasians and their use of their fathers name. That is, an Amerasian born inside a marriage is more likely to use his or her fathers name than another Amerasian who was born out of wedlock. This association is of course closely linked to (and most probably derived from) the association that exists between the occurrence of a marriage between the Amerasians parents. As of present time, it is sad that the researchers will have to concur with the general assessment that the Amerasians are a marginalized minority. However, given the large percentage of the Amerasians who are in school, as well as the existence of social and education assistance programs especially instituted for them, the researchers are optimistic that the possibility of an upward surge in their social mobility is in the offing.
TABLE 5. Tests of Independence Association employment status occupation highest educational attainment school status birth status mother was married to father of Amerasian The blank spaces are for associations valid cases. Color 2 .013 --4.608 .316 .464 --Significance (2-sided) .910 --.100 .574 .496 --Use of Fathers name 2 Significance (2-sided) .322 .570 ----15.711 .000 8.743 .003 6.206 .013 5.573 .018

that could not be tested meaningfully due to the small number of

The Amerasians the stories they tell: Hindi kami magkakilala ng Tatay kong Kano (My American father and I do not know each other) Ms. Susie Virginia Lopez: Almost a fairy tale


Susie is considered to be very lucky since she was able to get a nursing degree from a local University in Angeles City. She married a classmate in college and both are in the same profession. At the age of 37 years old they are gifted with one child. Susie has a black American father and was with the air force when he met her mother, a native of Leyte. Her father was only 21 or 23 years old then, while her mother was 31 years old when she was born. Two years after she was born, she no longer had any communication with her father. Her mother, who is strong-headed, did not bother tracing the whereabouts of Susies father. It was when she was 4 years old that the father came back to the Philippines to bring the daughter with him to the U.S. But for some reasons not clear to her, the wish never did materialize. She continued schooling through her fathers financial support .Pearl Buck Inc/ WEDPRO etc. Meanwhile both her parents found a partner in life. The mother did not bear a child from the second relationship with another American Air Force personnel, who became Susies father figure while she was growing up. The father back in the States had two daughters with his wife. Both daughters, like Susie, are professionals. The elder one is an Engineer with the federal government, and the other is a teacher at Harvard University. During this period of separate lives, communication with her fathers family was sustained. She was even able to maintain good relations with her fathers wife. It so happened that both her parents lost their respective partners in 1992 and 1993. Soon after her father became a widower, he asked Susies mother for another chance to be together. Her mother, however, refused. Susies mother though she was already old and that she still cared so much for her dead husband. The father who was bent on marrying a Filipina ended up marrying someone else, and he settled in the Philippines near their neighborhood. Susie now has both her biological mother and father living near her home. So what more could she ask for in life? When asked about her life situation at present, she said she does not have any problems, emotionally and financially. Indeed, Susie is considered to be very lucky. Her growing up years were not even tainted with resentment. She was accepted by her friends and schoolmates, probably because she is not that dark, though she has experienced being taunted as negra in the past. Susie has benefited from two families of two different worlds. The acceptance and recognition from her fathers family (her fathers sister did her graduate work at U.P.) and the loving relationship she had with her stepfather contributed to her having a good life. Vanessa Giles Alam ko ang address ng tatay ko sa States pero ayaw kong tumawag baka ako mareject( I know my fathers address in the States but dont like to contact him for the fear of being rejected) Vanessa was born a month after her father left the Philippines in October 1983. The mother was working as a maid in her fathers household and that was how the relationship developed. I never had a glimpse of my father but I had a monthly support of $300 for 10 years because of my mothers strong determination to get financial support. However this monthly stipend was reduced to $50.00 after 1993 and was cut off altogether in 1996. My guess is that my father might have been offended by my mothers persistent requests for financial support through


several agencies. Vanessa claims she knows the present address of her father in the States but has not had the courage to communicate with him for fear of rejection. She knew however that she has a sister each by her fathers first second wives, and another sister in the person of her fathers adopted daughter. Unfortunately, Vanessa has not finished College. Her mother had to stop working because of an illness. My mother is admirable since she did not marry at all and devoted all her time bringing me up. In school, Vanessa was called many names because of her dark skin, and it was her mother who always stood in her defense. Later on Vanessa had been to prevent her mother from getting into fights, saying, Hayaan mo na sila. Vanessa had lived well and leaned to ignore the gossips and whispers whenever she passes by. Its part of her life and she has learned to live with it. Jessica Ybaez; Hirap na hirap ang loob na wala akong Tatay ( It hurts so much that I have no father) Jessica has another Amerasian sister who has a different father. Jessica does not carry her fathers family name. Until now she does not know her fathers family name and has no inkling about what he looks like. She is totally clueless about the identity of her father. Other than her fathers first name, Jessica knows nothing else. Her dreams include trying to imagine what her father looks like. A school, she developed a strong will as a defense against the constant bickering with her classmates. The label anak sa labas ay masakit (The stigma of being born out of wedlock is very hard to overcome). It is inevitable that Jessica tends to compare herself to her sister Diane. Although they have the same mother, Diane is considerably more lucky because she has been receiving financial support from her father . Moreover almost every week Diane talks with her father., The father calls very often and Diane also makes the initiative to call his father. Jessicas suffering does not only stems from the comparison with her sister Diane. It also comes from having been deprived of parental love early in life. She thought all the while that her maternal grandparents were her parents, only to find out at the age of three that they were not her parents at all. Chris Ang daddy ko ay stateside (My father is from the United States) Chris knows his father to be Gregory Fernell. His mothers name is Cecile. His older brother is an Amerasian but they do not have the same father. His older brother studied in College but had to stop to help their mother at work. Chris admits that he is not close to his brother. His mother Cecile has not been very cooperative regarding his own father. The mother however kept an undated letter from his father. The letter states that the father would have died in the war if he did not see him. In the letter his father said he loves Chris and he hates knowing that Chris is being teased for not having a father. Aside from the letter, there was also a card from his father. The mother had known later that his father has another family and does not want to have any ties with them. In school, Chris is called Neggie. My mother has given us gold necklaces to wear to show as an evidence to my classmates that daddy ko nasa States.


Diane Ybaez My siblings in the States and I have talked Dianes father is David Smith. Diane has been communicating with her father since June 2004 due to the persistence of her mother who has never lost hope in locating Dianes father. Through friends of her mother they finally located the father who did support her in the past, at least until she was two years old. My mother met my mother in a disco bar. As a military man, my father left while my mother was pregnant. My mother tried her best to look for him by befriending many Americans. Now that we are getting support from him, we are not so hard up. The family of my father in the States are friendly and they talk to me over the phone. Jocelyn Tinglao: My father thinks we (mother and I) are already dead. Jocelyns mother was the house girl in her fathers household. Her fathers wife was with him but according to Jocelyns mom, the wife is a T-bird (lesbian). My mom had two pregnancies by my American father. She lost her first pregnancy by miscarriage. The father knew of this pregnancy. Jocelyn was the product of the second pregnancy and was born in a hospital in Angeles after the Pinatubo erupted in 1990. However, in 1989 and before she was born, the father left with his family for the States. My mother was in Cavite when my father came back to look for us. He was told we were already dead. Through Garys help they were able to get the address of the father. Today there are waiting in anticipation for the fathers positive response. Jennifer: I dont know who my father and mother are. Jennifer is now 28 years old and works at the former Clark Air Base. Jennifer did not grow up with her m other but with her grandparents and an aunt. Jennifer has met neither her mother nor her father. Her grandparents and aunt who have been supporting her refuse to tell her anything about her biological parents. The mother had been sick and perhaps it was such a sad story that volunteering the information may be more harmful rather beneficial . Steven Dad, I Love you Stevens mother works at the Canteen in the former Clark Air Base. His father and mother had a long courtship (Makulit ang Tatay ko). He was born in November 1987. His father left when he was two years old. The Mount Pinatubo eruption was the main reason why we were not able to join my father when he left. All the papers were destroyed during the eruption. My mother never had the opportunity to put the necessary papers together. My father had given financial support until 1996. In 2000, through Garys help, they were able to get the exact address. But Steven was reluctant to make the initial move and instead encouraged his mother to do so. He happened to have an Aunt living in the States and that served as conduit for the father and his family back in the Philippines. The aunt brought positive news which paved the way for them to muster enough courage to call his father. The phone conversation that occurred on Feb 14 was so significant because for the first time having a father


became very real for Steven. His father cried when Steven said, Dad I love you. Steven was the happiest man at that time. The father only needs to sign his papers. If everything works out as planned , he will join his father next year. He also found out that the disruption in the communication and the difficulty in communication was due to the different assignments of his father. He was assigned in England and Korea before he was reassigned in California. Ashley: Three siblings, one mother and three fathers The father is Thomas Clayton, Jr. She has two other Amerasian siblings. The three of them do not have a common father. From the letters that she got from her mother, she learned that her father and mother did not get along very well. There is no communication with her father. Except for a picture of his father hanging in their house, she has no idea on the whereabouts of her father. She has now a step father but she does not get along with him. Josephine: Father was an alleged drug user The fathers name is Scott Butler. The mother used to work as a waitress inside the former Clark Air Base. His father told her mother he was single. Her mother found out after the father got her mother pregnant, that he was a married man. The father got imprisoned for alleged drug use. She and her mother visited him in prison. When Pinatubo erupted, they lost touch with the father. From her mothers things, got a hold of a letter where her father promises support. Her mother has already gone to the U.S. embassy. Unfortunately, the embassy people were not so helpful in tracing the whereabouts of the father. She has another sister, also an Amerasian but the father is unknown since their mother claims she was raped. The mother does not seem to remember the physical appearance of her younger sisters father. Her mother had a steady boyfriend who has provided for them. That good fortune did not last because of intrigues created by those who were envious of her mother. The mother was able to establish put up a house which she rents out and which serves as their daily sustenance. Josephine is now in 4th year high school and she is aware going to College, as she desires, is improbable. The sale of their house is not enough to see them through. Kenneth : Sa Bisaya ako lang ang iba, Iba-iba ang tawag sa akin, hanggang nasanay na ako (In the Visayas , I was the only one who was different. I got used to the different names I was called. ) Kenneth grew up with his grandparents in Cebu since he was 4 months old. He was eight years old when he learned that his mother was in Angeles City and that his father, known to him as Alex Smith, did not live with her. His mother used to send him money while he was in Cebu. Kenneth had realized early on that he is different from the Bisayan. His physical looks is the butt of jokes. But according to him he had learned to live with the being a nigger or negro. He said he couldnt help being born with darker skin. Kenneth is now staying at Villa Sol with his grandmother and aunt. He has a 3-year old sister whose father is an Australian staying in Balibago, Angeles City.


He does not have any desire to look for the father and does not care about him. Kenneth is in school through the support of the grandmother and aunt.

DISCUSSIONS The cultural basis of identity Through the lifetime process of socialization, one learns two types of identity: the social identity or where the individual imbibes the culture of the society of birth, and the self identity where one develops a unique personality that is somewhat distinct from the rest of the members of the society where one belongs. The Amerasians had been born and raised in a Filipino society. Like any other society, expectations are predictable based on the normal ways of everyday life. The self identity formation is the by product of the interactions of the different groups with the individual. Amerasians have distinct physical features that make them stick out like a sore thumb among groups with brown skin and straight hair. Growing up for the Amerasians living in Angeles City is not smooth sailing, not only because they looked different but also because they lacked parental love, both from a father whom they have yet to meet and a mother who does not have the resources to provide even their most basic needs. From the interviews and their demographic profile it is clear that the Amerasians identity revolves around the ascribed (race of the father, age, sex) and achieved characteristics (occupation and income of mother, marital status). It is also patent that they have an awareness of being different from other Filipinos, and that they are aware of how other people saw them.

a. The mothers occupational status Amerasians share many common life events. For the majority of them, their father is unknown as they were born after their father had finished his tour of duty in the former Clark Air Base or after their were forced to leave due the eminent danger brought about by the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991. Their mothers bore them out of wedlock and the circumstances of the relationship were work related. Typically, the mother is a waitress, a canteen worker, or a house maid. In such circumstances, the mothers had inferior status and were susceptible and vulnerable to the allure of the American soldiers whom they met and who used them for sexually oriented leisure. Although none of the Amerasian children had openly admitted the deception that their mother had experienced from their biological American father, it can however be gleaned that their mothers had been in multiple relationships resulting to having several children with different fathers. b. The role of the extended Filipino family The maternal grandparents took over the parents role whenever the mother and the absent father failed to fulfill their responsibilities. Differences in physical


appearance make the Amerasian distinct from the rest of the majority population. It becomes even more traumatic when the doesnt know who his parents are. there is absent of parental ownership. The Filipino values on children has played an important role in the survival and coping mechanism of the Amerasian. c. Dire Poverty of the Amerasian .

Except for Susie Lopez, all the Amerasians were living very destitute lives. None of their mothers are earning enough to provide even the basic needs of their children born out of wedlock. In most cases they resort back to the trade they know which is to look for another man mainly for financial support. This may be why their Amerasian children have different fathers. d. Getting to know the father, an American soldier on a tour of duty in the former Clark Air Base Every one of the Amerasians in the cases we have interviewed (except maybe Kenneth) who do not want to meet their father. For most of them it is their dream to meet with, talk to, and hug their father whose images are imprinted in their own facial features. Looking at oneself in front of the mirror provides them a clue of their fathers physical appearance. Their fathers were American soldiers who met their mothers while having rest and recreation in the immediate vicinity of the US military facilities. It is in these so called amusement centers where the illicit affairs would usually occur. The hospitality industry around the bases included bars, cocktail lounges, night clubs, dance halls, sauna baths, and sauna clinics. Because of the circumstances of their birth, the heartbreaking stories of the Amerasians centers on the dearth or lack of information as to their fathers whereabouts (unknown address), the refusal of the father to accept the Amerasian child as his own (in cases when the father was located), erratic financial support, and lack of effort on the part of the father to bring the child he had left behind in the Philippines to the United States, primarily because they have their own family to think about. In spite of all these obstacles, many are still hoping to see their fathers . This desire to see and communicate with the father against all odds, highlights the fact that the Amerasians see their father as a substantial part of their own identity. The political source of identity a. The inability to migrate due to political barriers Each country has distinctive migration policies. Children whose parents are from different cultures and political heritage have to overcome several barriers. First, they have to hurdle the barrier of gaining information on a long lost father. Second, they have to have courage to crack the barrier of possible rejection and non recognition from the father. Third, they have to contend with the barrier of paternal financial support them. And fourth, they have to clear the barrier of convincing the father that it is part of their birth right to live in the United States and they should thus be


petitioned by the father. The last barrier involves not only the parental consent but also the countrys permission to allow them to legally enter the U.S. Without proper papers or documents to attest to their claims, the Amerasians are in for a series of endless frustrations, disappointments, and miserable lives.

b. The Political issue: Exclusion from the Public law 97-359 Public Law 97-359 was introduced on October 1, 1981 and was passed on October 22, 1982 by the US Senate and House of Representatives. It addressed the predicament of the Amerasians who were fathered by the U.S. Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. It gave Amerasians of these countries first or fourth visa preference and a five-year financial support until the children turn 21. The same law, however, refused to bestow such considerations upon Filipino and Japanese Amerasians. Filipino and Japanese Amerasians were excluded because these children are supposedly not subject to discrimination, prejudices, and hatred, and because most of their mothers were prostitutes anyway. Furthermore, the Philippines was not a warzone. All these three reasons allegedly justify the exclusion. The last reason, however, is debatable. After all, the Philippines was a vital supply and stationing base. It was the U.S. that brought the thousands of U.S. military personnel to our country and it also designated the country as the primary Rest and Recreation area for U.S. Armed Forces personnel.

CONCLUSION In this paper, the researchers explored and examined how the Amerasians experienced double consciousness because of the culture and politics behind the formation of their identity. The double consciousness, which was evident from the Amerasians accounts, showed the eagerness of Amerasians to know their father and be part of their fathers world, and to be recognized as American citizens. The use of the fathers name despite illegitimate birth status is an indication that some Amerasians long for the other half of their identity. In this paper the researchers also attempted to look at the product or aftermath of the process of identity formation. This is the reason for the bulk of the discussion dwelling on the Amerasians present condition, which was operationalized by their socioeconomic characteristics. Emphasis on the Black and White dichotomy was done to show that Amerasians do suffer different degrees of discrimination based on their race. Testimonies show the discrimination, especially against the black ones. Although the Amerasians are active agents of their own socialization and struggle against discrimination, we cannot deny the fact that the support (or the lack thereof) of the various institutions (family, government, NGOs, etc.) surrounding them also shape their identity.


The government, local and otherwise, molds their identity in the form of laws and policies that impede their reunion with their fathers. Likewise, the kind of upbringing they have in the family is a major factor that continues to form their consciousness. Some of them see their mothers multiple relations as a one way ticket to uplift their impoverished condition. The family may negatively or positively affect the Amerasian identity. If there is a remarkable contribution that the Filipino family extends to these members of society, it would be the grandparents continuous nurturing of the Amerasians when both parents are absent. Generous organizations, such as the Philippine Childrens Fund of America (PCFA), also help shape Amerasian expectations and identity. Their provision of educational and logistics support (in the case of locating their fathers) could not help but affect the Amerasians socioeconomic level and aspirations. The societys racial prejudices intensify the Amerasians desire to search for their American identity, and their longing that someday they will be accepted as part of the American society and culture. The search for the fathers is the search for identity, a reality that tears the Amerasians into a double consciousness- being both a Filipino and an American, and suffering the consequences of sharing part of both worlds.

Bibliography Avruch, Kevin. Culture and Ethnic Conflict in the New World Disorder. in Stone, John and R. Dennis (eds.), Race and Ethnicity: Comparative and Theoretical Approaches. Blackwell Publishing, 2002 Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. 1997. Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural Interpretation. American Sociological Review. 62:465-80. Burke , Peter J. 1997. An Identity Model for network exchange. American Sociological Review. 62:134-50. Du Bois, W.E.B. 1903. The Souls of the Black Folk. Chicago. AC McClurg and Co. (edition cited is the Fawcett Publications, Greenwich, CT, 1961. ) _____________ 1897. Strivings of the Negro People Atlantic Monthly 80:194-98.

Gilroy, P. 1993 . The Black Atlantic. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Knowles, Caroline. 1999. Race, Identity and Lives. The Sociological Review. 47:11035. Massey, Douglas, and Nancy Denton. 1993. American Apartheid: Segregation and the making of the Underclass. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Simbulan, Roland G., 1985 The Bases of our Insecurity : A Study of the U.S. Military bases in the Philippines, Balai fellowship, Inc. Quezon City, Philippines. _______ 1996 The Truly Disadvantaged, the Inner city, the Underclass and the Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press Tomaskovic-Devey, Donald and Vincent J. Roscigno. 1996. Racial Economic Subordination and White Gain in the U.S. South. American Sociological Review. 61:565-89. Wilson, William James 1987 . When Work Disappear: The Work of the New Urban poor. New York: Knopf. Executive Order No. 209. The Family Code of the Philippines. July 6, 1987.