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How we are trained to erase ourselves

Found via deepad's journal:  The Remyth Project.

I've been following the discussions about cultural appropriation on the heels of thinking about my being a Filipino writer who writes in English and lives in Dutch society.

Sometime ago, I wrote this poem to express how I feel about my position as a Filipina and as a woman of color. In many ways, Filipinos are really good at erasing themselves. We excel at this. In fact, a common phrase in the Philippines is: "di bale na" or "hayaan mo na". Terms which are shorthand for not making a fuss about something. Learning to speak up without apologizing for speaking up is something I am still learning. It's hard because sometimes speaking up often means subjecting oneself to criticism. 

As a Filipina who believes in the right of a woman to be heard and to stand up for herself, this poem is me acknowledging how easy it is to give in to what the culture I grew up in has trained me to do: erase yourself. This is why deepad's essay resonated so strongly with me.


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