Neither Here nor There: Filipino Language Teachers and Their Role in Constructing Filipino Identity

Filipino language, in its history, has been a source of strength and empowerment, and a means of nationalism and identity, against dominating powers. I propose that in the U.S., Filipino language teachers have played a pivotal role in how Filipino language courses cultivate Filipino identity. I interviewed 4 Filipino language teachers and conducted a participant observation of a Filipino teacher community group in San Diego. I report that Filipino language teachers engage in a balancing act in which they teach Filipino students an "idealized type" of Filipino identity and encourage community involvement for their Filipino students while at the same time attempt to appease their school administration in an effort to maintain their courses. Because Filipinos are a diverse group, Filipino identity must be re-imagined to be inclusive of all kinds of Filipinos. Conclusively, a community's cultural capital cannot be looked at uncritically without looking at the diversity within that community.