When I first heard that I was going to have to conduct another oral history, I tried to gather up all the techniques that I had used from the last time I had to conduct an oral history in my Anthropology. However, I soon learned that this project was going to a little bit different than my previous one. In my Anthropology class, I had to create a 7-page oral history on an elder basically of my choice. It was to be written in a formal, essay-style format. In my humanities core class, however, I learned that instead of this fancy type of writing that I have always been taught to use, my teacher wanted to challenge us to write in a journalistic style, like the kind of writing one would see in a magazine or newspaper article.
This was the first of the challenges that I faced when completing this project. Although I do not know the result, I think that this was a great learning experience. Since I have mostly never written in any style other than the formal, essay-type, I found it very interesting to find a new way to express the information that I learned.
Now, onto the major learning points of my experience. I, along with two other peers, interviewed a fellow student/friend of ours about her experience immigrating from the Philippines to America. Our plan of action was to ask about certain topics which would help to focus on the ideas of America’s cultural imperialism of the Philippines and how much of an impact it had on those living in the Philippines. Before conducting the interview, we created lists of questions under given topics such as food, media, and education. Our interviewee provided us with personal responses for all our questions and I found that I was rather surprised with the result.
Since I am not Filipino, I did not know much about the culture or how much it has been influenced by outside, imperial powers in the past. Now I do. The information that I gathered could prove that cultural imperialism is both a positive and negative thing depending on what perspective you choose to look at. For instance, our interviewee informed my peers and I that in schools in the Philippines, there would be a whole, separate class that was dedicated to teaching the students how to write, read, and speak English. Apparently, Filipinos viewed English as the universal language and felt it was important to learn since the goal was to get the students to graduate and go to America for jobs. They felt that there were better opportunities in America and a way to make sure the students were prepared to go get those jobs was to learn English.
Another important piece of information that our interviewee provided was the obsession that Filipinos had with becoming pale. This was a result of seeing all the American TV shows, which featured mostly white actors and actresses. Not only do we have this in the interview, but it can also be proven because most of the famous people in the Philippines are those who are not full Filipino and appear to be “lighter-skinned” than the rest of the population. Even if an individual was not talented at all, they still had a very good chance of being featured on TV if they were not full Filipino.
After conducting and completing this project, my group and I’s objective was to leave it up to the reader to decide whether cultural imperialism had a beneficial or non-beneficial impact on the Philippines. Hopefully, we accomplished our goal. I found this project very helpful, not only for the sake of the class, but also for expanding my own personal knowledge about the world outside of America.
Thanks for reading!