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3 Filipina-American Journalists Discuss ‘My Family’s Slave’ And Who Gets To Judge It

By in Huffington Post on May 18, 2017

By Carla Herreria

This week, it seemed the entire internet had something to say about The Atlantic’s latest cover story, written by the late Filipino-American journalist Alex Tizon.

Tizon’s personal essay, which detailed his life with a woman he first knew as Lola and eventually identified as his family’s slave, quickly went viral.

People reacted emotionally. People acted with outrage. People criticized Tizon for participating in modern-day slavery. People criticized him for telling Lola’s story ― Eudocia Tomas Pulido’s story ― in the first place.

Then, Filipinos began speaking up for themselves in an attempt to explain a culture that many felt the rest of the world simply could not understand.

Filipinos and Filipino-Americans wondered out loud: How could the rest of the world, especially wealthier countries, expect to solve the Philippines’ social issues without experiencing their painful history and cultural complexities first-hand?

And, more pointedly, who gets to tell Filipinos how their stories should be told?

Once the story saturated the internet, three Filipina-American journalists at HuffPost found ourselves grappling with our own identities and wondered how Tizon and Pulido’s stories could be viewed from a more open perspective ― one that considers privilege, race, culture and class.

So we took our conversation to Slack, a group chat app used in many workplaces. Before you fully dive into the chats, here is a bit on our respective backgrounds:

Carla Herreria, a HuffPost Trends reporter based in Hawaii, has had relatives who have both hired and have been hired as maids. Her parents emigrated from the Philippines to California, where they became citizens and started a family.

Dzana Ashworth, a HuffPost video producer based in New York, was adopted by Jewish parents and born and raised in the U.S. Her parents hired a Filipina caretaker, who is now Ashworth’s godmother.

Danielle Datu, a HuffPost […]    

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