Despite the hardships faced by Filipino immigrants, Bulosan had faith that he would be received into the hearts of the American people. (Book Cover)
Carlos Bulosan believed that America was “a heart unfolding to receive him”
By Ted Alcuitas
Editor, Philippine Canadian News.com
With the latest racist outburst by the American president and the eerie chant “send her back”, it is time to revisit Carlos Bulosan’s seminal book – America is in the Heart.
We can no longer pretend that America is still in the heart as Bulosan wrote in 1946. Today, it is clearly and unequivocally a racist society embodied by its current president.
Along with the chant to send back the congresswomen of colour attacked by Trump, there was no condemnation from the Republican Party.
Even as we write, the U.S. has just revoked its ‘safe third country’ agreement preventing asylum seekers to be sent back – another nail in the coffin in Trump’s relentless effort to close the doors to “others”.
The Filipino- American diaspora, now close to 4 million according to the latest Pew Research data, should have cause for concern.
Already, some of them have expressed fears that those in the country illegally (“TNT’ or Tago nang Tago) could be affected during this week’s sweep by ICE.
The discrimination and outright hatred against Filipinos in Bulosan’s time did not really disappear.
Instead, it is now even bolstered to include all others especially Muslims and Latinos.
For a racist, it does not matter whether you’re Muslim or Latino.
If you’re not white, you’re not welcome to the bosom of America as was the hope of Carlos Bulosan.
Trump and Duterte
We in the diaspora are painfully aware of the similarities between Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who goes after his critics with a vengeance.
While Trump attacks his critics by fuelling racist hatred against them, Duterte puts them in prison or worse, have them killed.
America is not the Heart by Elaine Castillo