Luis H. Francia, a Filipino international writer and faculty member of the New York University recently spoke on the Filipino identity crisis last July 17 at the College of Arts and Sciences Annex Building.
In the General Education Conversation entitled “RP-US relations in the context of globalization and hybridity” participated in by several History 2 students and faculty members, Francia talked about the perils of neo-colonialism—which many point as the colonial superpowers’ way to economically and politically control the Philippines through the promotion of their culture.
According to him, we still see the “vestiges of colonialism” everywhere in the country. He cited examples such as the booming industry of skin whitening products, the unequal allocation of space for locally published books in local bookstores, the use of western terms to name local subdivisions, and the continuous patronage to things branded.
In clarifying some points raised by the audience about the Filipino identity crisis produced by colonialism, Francia said that “there is no rewriting history, but only facing its consequences.”
Although he is not an economist, Francia said that his years of residence in the United States made him realize some practical ways Filipinos can do to break the seemingly undying colonial mentality.
The first major solution that Francia however emphasized was for the country to industrialize. He added that political will and the proper enforcement of the law are also requisites in obtaining a global identity of Filipinos.
The country’s pursuit of the Filipino identity necessitates “periods of inevitable pain” but Francia assured that the destination will be very fulfilling. “But right now, we are forging a global identity through the Internet,” he positively noted as he talked about the sad and slow rate of building an authentic Filipino identity.
Francia’s discourse at UPLB was made possible by the Department of Humanities’ Division of Speech Communication and Performing Arts and the History 2 Cluster.