Interviewed by Dr. Rudy Guevarra Jr. in his new book “Becoming Mexipino”

Just got my signed copy of Becoming Mexipino: Multiethnic Identities and Communities in San Diego written by Dr. Rudy P Guevarra Jr. (Arizona State University) and published by Rutgers University Press. I remember when Dr. Guevarra and I first met at a FANHS (Filipino American National Historical Society) conference in San Diego years ago. We compared notes about being Mexipino or Chicapina, as my family calls us, and, later at UCLA, I would share my stories with him officially for the honor and privilege of being included in his book.

Here’s an excerpt:

Rashaan and other Mexipinos in San Diego are the bridges between both cultures because they live a multicultural existence. Multiethnic and multiracial people have already experienced an alternative worldview, which has positive implications. She described it in terms of the future of racial and ethnic mixing: ‘I think it is inevitable…Time magazine put up all the races of together to see what it [hypothetical person of the future] would look like, and it looked Filipino. You know, it’s like we’re already there, we’ve been there. We’re just bringing it to the forefront (158)

Becoming Mexipino is a social-historical interpretation of two ethnic groups, one Mexican, the other Filipino whose paths led both to San Diego, California. Using archival sources, oral histories, newspapers and personal collections and photographs, Rudy P. Guevarra Jr. traces the earliest interactions of both groups with Spanish colonialism to illustrate how these historical ties and cultural bonds laid the foundation for what would become close interethnic relationships and communities in twentieth century San Diego as well as in other locales throughout California and the Pacific West Coast.

Educators, please consider using this text in your classroom. California history lovers, ethnic study researchers, and San Diego locals, why not pick up a copy for yourself? Please help spread the word to interested parties and consider having a go yourself!

Spring 2012 starts with an homage to love, labor, family, and Mattel

There’s a first for everything and this spring’s first is a personal essay published in Doveglion Press. “Barbie’s Gotta Work” is about love, labor, and ironing underwear for golf fanatics in east county San Diego.

Here’s an excerpt:

Barbie’s Gotta Work
By Rashaan Alexis Meneses

Under the most surprising contexts, I’m constantly reminded of the efforts my parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins have contributed for the sake of our family. In 1930, my maternal grandfather arrived from Limisawa, a small island in the Gulf of Leyte where Magellan landed and held the first Filipino mass. With nothing but a pail of adobo in his hand and in serious need of a warm coat, no sea breeze or monsoon could have prepared him for the San Francisco chill that greeted him in his new home. Before arriving, he had raised and supported his brothers and sisters by managing their small family farm in the Phillippines. With my grandmother working at his side as well in the States, my grandfather juggled three jobs while raising his children.

Born in California, my paternal grandmother shuttled across the Central Valley following the harvests as many Mexican migrant families do. She doesn’t count her adolescent days picking tomatoes and prunes as official jobs because every kid in her family and in the surrounding neighborhoods worked the fields. For my grandma, hop-picking was the perfect excuse to get out of the house and meet the young, military-rated 4F men who committed backbreaking labor on the hopyards…

Read the entire piece here.

Image from Jemboy’s World

“Tropical Island Fun with Barbie and Miko” January 26, 2009

The Barbie Travel Agent Set was a surprise gift from Santa who, ironically, had designs to usher and initiate me into Third Wave Feminism:

Image from The Henry Ford Museum, “Happy 50th Birthday, Barbie!” March 2009