New Article Co-Written by Rick Bonus on the Impacts of Colonialism and Racism on Filipinx American Health Inequities

Submitted by Ellen Palms on
Health Affairs February 2022

Within the monolithic racial category of “Asian American,” health determinants are often hidden within each subgroup’s complex histories of indigeneity, colonialism, migration, culture, and socio-political systems. Although racism is typically framed to underscore the ways in which various institutions (for example, employment and education) disproportionately disadvantage Black/Latinx communities over White people, what does structural racism look like among Filipinx/a/o Americans (FilAms), the third-largest Asian American group in the US? We argue that racism defines who is visible. We discuss pathways through which colonialism and racism preserve inequities for FilAms, a large and overlooked Asian American subgroup. We bring to light historical and modern practices inhibiting progress toward dismantling systemic racial barriers that impinge on FilAm health. We encourage multilevel strategies that focus on and invest in FilAms, such as robust accounting of demographic data in heterogeneous populations, explicitly naming neocolonial forces that devalue and neglect FilAms, and structurally supporting community approaches to promote better self- and community care.

Read the full essay here.