White Citizenship: A Category of Identification and Route of US Immigrant Constitution

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The “desire to be white” observed amongst Filipino/Ilocano-Hawaiian immigrants is not a mere personal resolve nor a sole act of individual decision. It is an aspiration driven by the ideology of “white ideal,” the discourse of middle class success, and deepened/straited by the historical junctures such as the colonial and neocolonial relationships between the US and the Philippines, immigration policies, and the sugar plantation labor history in Hawaii. The control and discipline of Filipino/Ilocano-Hawaiian immigrants are installed through the iteration of normative rules involving identification categories of race, ethnicity, and class. The identification of white ideal however may get deflected in the crisscrossing and reception at the level of social praxis, as the attempt to embody a norm is never complete (Rottenberg). Such area of ambivalence may produce fissures that present critical space for the re-encodation of Ilocano-Hawaiian representation and agency. Of note is the seamless intrication between the history and the story, between texts and contexts, or conversely, between contexts and texts in selected GUMIL Hawaii short fiction. The play of “mirroring” of white ideals and the “disidentification” of the same is precisely recuperated in the study.