My dad's family came to NY from the Philippines. There was an interracial marriage back in the day (my great-grandad married a white woman), and my mixed-race grandfather also married a white woman. I often wonder what their experiences were. Everyone assumes I'm white, and for all intents and purposes that's accurate because I have all the privileges that go with white skin. But watching the video about the Native "one drop" rules and the pizza analogy, I identify a little. I've never felt like I can identify as Filipina because that hasn't been my experience in the world. Yet, to just say I'm white is a denial of some of my ancestors.
On a related note, I met a Filipina at an event last year. She saw my last name and recognized it (it's a common name in Luzon especially), and asked if I was Filipino. When I said yes, she very excitedly told me that if I went "back there" (I've never been), I'd be very popular because of my light skin. I was floored. How the hell do you respond to that, especially to a relative stranger?
I offer this to reflect on the nuances of colorism, the fetishization of light skin - and light eyes, as the green-eyed Latino guy pointed out - and for many of us, the impossibility of identifying as just one thing. What does it mean to be 1/8 Filipino? Am I white or not? To whom does this matter, counting either against me or in my favor, and why? How many other mixed race people do I know who I've just assumed are one thing? I'm always relieved when applications and other forms list "Other" or "Mixed" on the race question--why doesn't that happen everywhere?
I don't have answers. Just sitting with the questions.