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.


“desire to be white”, disidentification, ethnicity, performativity, Ilocano-Hawaiian diasporic identity

Please login first to access subscription form of article

Read Full text in PDF

Browse By

Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)