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Running head: ARTIFACT 2 1

Artifact 2: Immigrant Interview


Scott Burgess
College of Southern Nevada
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The person that I interviewed is named Olivier Nolos. Nolos was born in the Philippines

October 15th 1978. In the United States, he is classified as an Asian American male. Specifically,

he could be further categorized as a Pacific Islander. According to Manning and Baruth (2009),

Asian Americans include a number of national, cultural, and religious heritages and more than

twenty-nine distinct subgroups, each with unique language, religion, and customs (p. 122). The

official languages of the Philippines are Tagalog and English. Nolos says that there are over 150

different languages and dialects spoken in the Philippines. This is the result of the influences of

many nations over hundreds of years from both the east and the west influencing the islands

culture.
The culture of the Philippines is described by Nolos as being very hospitable to strangers,

and it has deep respect for the extended family. For instance, there is a custom in Filipino culture

that involves grabbing an elders hand and placing it on your forehead. This is kind of like asking

for their blessing, but it is also a sign of respect. According to Manning and Baruth (2009),

Asian Americans tend to practice values such as respect for ancestors, filial piety, and avoidance

of shame (p. 129). In terms of religion, Filipinos are predominantly Roman Catholic due to the

influences of the Spanish who first arrived in the sixteenth century, although there is a sizable

Muslim population there as well. An interesting aside that Nolos mentioned at this point in the

interview was that a lot of Filipinos value white skin color. Apparently, they believe that white

skin color is synonymous with beauty, wealth, and intelligence. Nolos thinks that this belief is

some sort of result or hold over from when the Spanish occupied the islands from the 1500s to

almost 1900. Normally, one hears such negative cultural comments from the occupiers of the

foreign lands, rather than from the locals themselves. In a limited sense, this could be called

white privilege. According to Manglitz (as cited in Manning & Baruth, 2009), White privilege
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has been described as the resulting benefits that accrue to those who have been constructed as

possessing whiteness or who are seen as white (p. 42).


Now, it is time to talk about Filipino culture. In terms of activities, Filipinos love

basketball, singing, and dancing. When it comes to food, Filipinos love to fry just about

anything. A typical breakfast plate may consist of fried eggs, fried sausage or hotdog, and fried

rice. Interestingly, pork is a big food for them. I am not sure how that would go over in the

Filipino Muslim communities on the islands. Filipinos also eat in ways that might look a little

different to outsiders. Rather than use the fork to stab their food, Nolos mentioned that the usual

method is to organize the food on their plate with their fork and then scoop it on up into their

mouths with their spoon. Also, Nolos stresses that Filipinos like to eat with their hands, although

this can vary from dish to dish. Popular Filipino foods are adobo, pancit, dinuguan, lumpia, and

balut. Adobo is as much as a cooking style as it is a dish. Basically, the word adobo describes a

method of marinating and cooking either chicken or pork. The marinate usually consists of soy

sauce, vinegar, and garlic. Pancit and lumpia are both dishes that were introduced by the Chinese

sometime in the distant past. From here, I have saved the two most interesting dishes for last.

Dinuguan is a dish comprised of pork meat and organs, simmered in a combination of vinegar,

spices, and pigs blood. While balut is simply a hard-boiled duck embryo that is eaten from its

shell. Apparently balut is a sort of street snack that people eat on the go. To an outsider, this may

seem disgusting or barbaric and lead one to believe that there is something wrong with this

culture. Ethnocentrism is the word for this line of thinking. As stated by Manning and Baruth

(2009), Ethnocentrism is the belief that ones own culture is superior to that of others (p. 45).
According to Nolos, the familys reasons for immigrating to America were entirely

monetarily based. Basically, they wanted a chance at the American Dream so to speak. Noloss

father immigrated first, and then Nolos and the rest of the family followed later. Although, Nolos
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doesnt remember the exact steps that his father took. Apparently, his father worked over in the

United States as a permanent resident, also known as a green card holder, for nine years until the

rest of the family came on over. I asked Nolos why there was such a delay between his father

getting a green card and the rest of the immediate family obtaining one. Certain types of visas

have certain types of restrictions on them. Some of these visas are based off employment, while

others are for reasons like people seeking asylum. In terms of priority, immediate family

members are closer to the head of the line. Now, if Noloss father was an American citizen, there

would not have been a wait because there are an unlimited number of visas for that category.

Those that are considered immediate family members are the spouse of the visa holder and the

under twenty-one unmarried children of the visa holder. Therefore, depending on what your

relationship is to the person in America, that will be the deciding factor on what family category

the person or persons will be placed in and how long things will take. Because he was very

young when he came on over here, he only remembers a few details. He described to me the

scene of going through immigration, being asked questions, and standing in a very long line

before boarding the plane that was to take him to America. Once they were granted their green

cards though, it took about five years for them to become citizens. This part matches what

research I have done on the subject, and it seems to apply to everyone once you have got a green

card, provided one has not committed any crimes.


Even though Nolos was very young when he did come over from the Philippines, the

initial expectations of life in the United States that he described were very stereotypical of going

from a less technological culture to one that is more. For example, there is this idea that everyone

that lives in the United States is rich, and that money grows on trees. What Nolos explained to

me is that only when he got a little older did he understand what the difference between America

and other countries like the Philippines is. That difference is that there is opportunity here. To
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succeed one must work hard, but at least here there is that possibility of success. In other parts of

the world, one can work just as hard, but the standard of living will not be nearly as good. This

explains why most Filipinos choose either public transportation, or something personal like a

bicycle because owning a vehicle is too expensive.


Since this is an education-related course, I asked Nolos how he was able to adjust to the

school system here. Because English is one of the official languages of the Philippines, the

language barrier was not that big of an issue. He did mention that because he is an Asian

American, that he did have some initial misconceptions with some of his fellow students. Those

included that he was super smart solely because of his Asian heritage. The usual stereotype as

Manning and Baruth (2009) state, include viewing Asian Americans as proficient in

mathematics and not competent with verbal tasks (p. 124) was not accurate when it came to

describing Nolos. He mentioned that he always enjoyed drawing, which is why he works in

computer graphic design today. Again, Nolos stressed that the best part about living in a country

that values immigration like it does is that theres always opportunity if a person is willing to go

get it. For him, maybe the hardest part about living here is that he still has family in the

Philippines, and that he does not get to visit them as often as he would like.
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References

Baruth, L. G., & Manning, M. L. (2009). Multicultural Education of Children and Adolescents.

Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions.