Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none. I just love the photo, I took during our vacation to this city a couple of years ago. In this site, you will find articles from my autobiography, global warming, senior citizens issues, tourism, politics in PI, music appreciation and articles about our current experiences as retirees enjoying the "snow bird" lifestyle between US and the Philippines. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Are Filipino-Americans URMs?

This is the latest e-mail(hopefully not the last),that I have received on the subject of Filipino-Americans as under represented minority (URM). Again, I erased the name of the author for privacy sake. If you have additional comments, please jump into the discussion.

I was disappointed that this discussion died down so easily, I thought I saw some flames but I guess these were just sparks- but before the embers turn to ash I would like to add some of my thoughts to what Scientist # 4 has said.

First of all, Fil-Ams are classified as Asians and not Pacific Islanders. Secondly, there is nothing wrong with living the same way your ancestors did a long time ago- it keeps their cultural identity as well as self worth intact- but then again as indicated- this is a stereotype and I hope we as Fil-Ams don't indulge in.

Now for some reality 101. WE ARE MINORITIES- by virtue of our skin color and number, whether we like it or not we will always be considered this way, unless our population has grown so much that we become one of the "colored majority"- As a minority group we will always be underrepresented in the sciences and engineering. I too believe that "special programs" should not even be in place, and I too would like to see my grandchildren not to be treated as "special" but the reality is- without these what are our chances to make it out there. We were not born with the same privileges as the white majority- in case you want to know more about "white privilege" a book written by Tim Wise ("White Like Me") is a good start. Being classified with the other Asians who definitely are not URMs in the sciences does not help either.

Let's see- I can think of many of us who did not have to go through affirmative action or special programs to get to where we are- but the next generation will have to compete with other minorities who have federal support; while they (Fil-AMs) won't-simply because this Fil-Am generation is not considered URM. I'm sure that despite this, there will be some (hopefully more than a handful) will get to a position where they can have influence or leadership capabilities.- How long do you think will it take for us to reach parity with the white majority? Let us not even think of trying to do that, how about reaching parity with the Japanese, Chinese, and Indians? Maybe 4-10 generations without any "special programs" or maybe more? Not even the small number of talented few will do that job of getting the next generation to parity with these other Asian groups--Do we want to be always at the lowest rung of the ladder?However, if we have some help (like a ladder going up)- like the minority programs are supposed to do, maybe we can get there faster and be recognized for what we truly can accomplish. Here's how the African Americans and Hispanics are using these to their advantage. These are means to an end and as their numbers grow, they get stronger and more influential.

Note that even these so-called "special programs" require that you have the credentials to compete, you just don't get funded just because you are a minority- these are competitive and prestigious (unless you are thinking of "pork" money), so for those who are stigmatized by the minority label, they should really start considering how the next generation will be without sufficient push.

What can be done at this point? We can start small and hopefully this catches fire. For some of you in the academe, you may try to influence your Diversity Office to include Fil-Ams in their programs, there is a good pool of Fil-Am students out there. TAKE NOTE THE IN WORD IS DIVERSITY. For NIH and NSF grants, many of the projects require a plan to broaden the participation of URMs, increase the diversity of the student and faculty and therefore this is very timely for us to think of how we can influence those institutions to consider Fil-Ams as URMs in their own institutional programs and if so, they can then apply for programs that include Fil-Ams as URMs in federal grants (same as the University of Hawaii, NYU, etc.). If interested, I can give you more ideas.Here's a video asking if Filipinos are really Asian or are Pacific Islanders.

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