Volume One, Issue 3

Haynaku1: For the white feminist professor who told me I was “ghettoizing” myself by studying Asian American Literature

Melinda Luisa de Jesús

years later
it rankles me

withering disdain:
“don’t ghettoize yourself—

better than
that!” she purred,

my immediate
agreement and gratitude,

feminism relentless,
eager to educate,

and civilize
and replicate. But

brown sister
had other ideas.

1 Haynaku is a tercet-based poetic form created by Filipina American poet Eileen Tabios.

2 See McKinley’s 1903 statement on the annexation of the Philippines: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5575/

3 ‘"Little Brown Brother" was a term used by Americans to refer to Filipinos. The term was coined by William Howard Taft, the first American Governor-General of the Philippines (1901-1904) and later the 27th President of the United States. The term was not originally intended to be derogatory, nor an ethnic slur; instead, in the words of historian Creighton Miller, it is a reflection of "paternalist racism", shared also by Theodore Roosevelt.’ https://www.nps.gov/prsf/learn/historyculture/the-philippine-war-suppressing-an-insurrection.htm

Melinda Luisa de Jesús: "I am Chair and Associate Professor of Diversity Studies at California College of the Arts where I teach and write about girl culture, monsters, and race/ethnicity in the United States. I edited Pinay Power: Peminist Critical Theory, the first anthology of Filipina/American Feminisms (Routledge 2005). My writing has appeared in Completely Mixed Up, Approaches to Teaching Multicultural Comics, Ethnic Literary Traditions in Children’s Literature, Challenging Homophobia, The Lion and the Unicorn, MELUS and Meridians. In 2017 I published 5 chapbooks of political poetry with Locofo Chaps.

"I am a mezzo-soprano, a mom, an Aquarian, and admit an obsession with Hello Kitty. For more info: http://peminist.com."

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