no drama obama.


so, get this: a black man has officially become president of a country that was previously (ha, just kidding) run by rich white men. and because he is black, and not white, i am supposed to feel like anything is possible, like america really is the country where anything can happen. well, maybe i would feel that way - if i was black. i'm just saying, why did it take so long for something like fucking ugly betty to become a hit show? why did a comedy like harold and kumar go to white castle not get released in theaters until 2004? i'm just saying, who made these decisions?

jaspreet and i recently had dinner at olympia pizza. she's an indian-american in her last year of law school. "can you imagine, what it might have been like if all the indians i knew growing up weren't just gas station attendants and convenience store clerks?" "i know," i said, "name one filipino celebrity!" "i can't!" she answered, then followed with, "name one indian celebrity!" "miss universe," i said, "but i can't even pronounce her name." "aishwarya rai," she said. "oh, kal penn," i said. "yeah, kal penn," she said. i was waiting for her to name john cho, but then i remembered he wasn't even filipino.

i told her this story about when i was in the seventh grade, and we had to make a scrapbook of our autobiography. we had to illustrate the past, present, and future for ourselves. obviously, having no access to anything filipino-related, in the future, i became david schwimmer, and i married courtney thorne-smith. one of my classmates laughed at me. "in the future, you became white!" edgar, the all-time defender of all things filipino, quickly fired back: "whatever! you try and find some pictures of filipinos, or any asians!" i don't know what the other filipino kids did for their future selves. i was too busy caught up in my own world, this future i hadn't thought much about. was i really going to end up white?

i dreamed it was cool to be filipino. okay, i didn't really dream it, but i thought about it. what would my reality be like if it was even just a fad in our culture, even if it was ephemeral? if my cousin had put up pictures of filipinos (and i'm talking some dark ass filipinos from the provinces) on her wall, instead of the sparkly clean jonas brothers? what if there was more than just manny pacquiao and that one black eyed peas song? why did it take me forever to discover a filipino band called imago who i actually kind of like? i don't think i will live to see a filipino-american president, or a mexican-american president, or an indian-american president. but, i'm supposed to be impressed because someone non-white made it, huh?

today has proven that, if you're rich and educated, white or black, anything is possible for you in this country. as for the rest of us, maybe one day we, too, can become black or white.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jackie Chan is a famous Filipino.

my cover girls said...

In all fairness, Obama was not raised rich, and only recently finished paying off his student loans. Bill Clinton also came from nothing. Lyndon Johnson was also raised very poor. Richard Nixon was not rich as well.

Also, Bobby Jindal, who is an Indian American, is thought to be one of the front runners for the Republican party.

But thanks for trying to take any bit of negativity you can out of the day. It's cute.