Mistaken Identity

"Filipinos Fear Being Mistaken for Japanese"

Titled "Filipinos Fear Being Mistaken for Japanese," this article from Dallas Morning News describes the misidentification of Filipino Americans for Japanese Americans during the World War II era.

Each of these culture groups has also faced unique challenges in being misidentified for another culture group in Texas. For instance, in the World War II era, many Filipino Texans feared being mistaken for Japanese citizens during the age of internment, and some were even wrongly arrested.

In the border city of El Paso, the Tigua population was often mistaken for Mexican or Mexican-Americans. Religious cultural influence, the fact that the Tigua speak Spanish or English, and years of intermarriage with the Hispanic community blured the discernable aspects of culture that many use to distinguish one group from another. This instance of mistaken identity caused legal and economic problems for the Tigua community, but also issues of identity for individuals. Some embraced the mistake becuase it shielded them from racism directed against Indigenous people, but then distanced themselves and thier children from ties to thier ancestery and traditions. 

More care is needed to validate and appreciate the unique experiences of each distinct group. Culture extends beyond elements that we can see such as physical appearance, dances, or religions. Culutre encompases beliefs, values, and ideals, all of which are overlooked when identitiy is mistaken. By learning about different aspects of the many, many cultures within Texas, we decrease the risk of mistaking someone's indentity, and increase our chances of coming to understand and apreciate one another.