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Building Filipino Hawai'i$
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Roderick N. Labrador

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038808

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038808.001.0001

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“The Center is not just for Filipinos, but for all of Hawai‘i nei”

“The Center is not just for Filipinos, but for all of Hawai‘i nei”

(p.98) Chapter 4 “The Center is not just for Filipinos, but for all of Hawai‘i nei”
Building Filipino Hawai'i

Roderick N. Labrador

University of Illinois Press

This chapter argues that the Filipino Community Center represents a “class project” that not only reveals a repertoire of Filipino identities but also an active confrontation with the group's ethnoracially assigned identity and its political, economic, and social consequences. It analyzes the grand opening ceremonies of the Filipino Community Center and suggests that as a middle class project (with the Filipino Chamber of Commerce a central stakeholder), it emphasizes self-help entrepreneurship and the elevation of business-related “ethnic heroes” as part of the never-ending pursuit of the “American Dream” in a “Land of Immigrants.” The chapter investigates several interrelated issues, namely how those in the middle class shape subjectivity in a community that has been defined and defined itself as impoverished and subaltern, and the various ways Filipinos think about and perform class (via the images, symbols, and ideologies they use) to construct competing visions of “Filipino.”

Keywords:   Filipino Community Center, Filipino identity, ethnic identity, middle class

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