top of page
  • Cathy Holt

So, where are you from?

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

By: Antonio Basalo AKA: "BuddaRudda"

“I don’t know, where do you think I’m from?”

Well, that would depend on the age that you’re asking me. At the age of five, I migrated from the Philippines to the best "country" in the Union, Texas! From age five to my early teens I had experienced what I would call “mild racism”, but racism nonetheless. Kids of every color and nationality, black, white, brown, even other Asian peers questioned my nationality not knowing what a Filipino was - the truth was neither did I. I would act out of turn just to get other kids to laugh and maybe make a couple friends. I remember being called a Chinese chink at school after being asked “what” I was, not caring to hear my explanation they would squint their eyes, then slant them at the corner and “ding-donged” their dialogue. It hurt my feelings a little bit, but kids are kids. In my teens to my early 20’s, I was Mexican. With brown skin and a shaved head (I was in ROTC (TX801ST)), there were probably only three or four people that knew I was a Filipino and not Mexican in the entire school. One of my teachers questioned me out loud in class about the check mark on my nationality! Yes, I’m aware of what I checked. Because of this, I’ve never really embraced my own culture, just others cultures so I could fit in. I didn’t see it as a bad thing, but more of learning about the individual and their family. Yes, some families of my same skin tone acted in similar ways, but I have experienced it with other races as well.

Now at age thirty, people are seeing more of my Filipino side than my Latino brothers but I think it’s just the hair. In high school racist jokes were said ALL THE TIME BY ALL RACES AND COLORS. A lot of them were bad, but some were funny, especially if you made fun of your own race. I remember on a trip to Louisiana with some friends we stopped at a gas station. I walked in and immediately get hit with eyes directed from two men talking at the register. Long story short they asked if I needed help and I said a "brown” joke and that broke the ice. Lots of laughing and more jokes but it was more of them making fun of themselves and we all talked like we were friends for years.

Now, I’m not saying I condone any type of racism, but the fact that I can make fun of myself doesn’t give anyone power (I remember reading something along the lines of that a number of years ago so don’t quote that ha-ha!) Like in 8 mile when B Rabbit is battling Papa Doc, he dumps all of his problems and struggles on stage, ammo Papa Doc could've used to humiliate him. There's nothing anyone can say that can make me act to give him or her more power. Just as I’m taking my time yet catching up to learn, I‘ve taken time to educate people, that care to ask, about my culture. (Y’all should check out how the 45 ACP was invented, MORO REBELLION).

Much of my music I have to explain who and what I am. For example, my song “Flipper”, the title itself you can rhyme with another word, is one my friend who served overseas told me is a derogatory slur. Whelp, I owned it. The chorus to “Flipper”

“Yo the name is Budda, no Latino a Filipino

A flipper like a dolphin little bit like Dan Marino

Cabana boy fresher than Pico bad muthaf***a like Danny Devito

Hit em with the Rico brown Texas boy assume I strap a steelo

I hate b****es that get offended so easily, sh*t I hate everybody equally

This sh*t here ain’t nothing new to me I’ve been dodging haters since infancy

Down to the days til the death of me”

And people still call me Latino, bruuuuhhhhh. HAHAHA.

But I 'am proud to be Filipino, it’s rich in history and culture just like the Lone Star state. So nowadays when someone ask where I’m from, I tell them I’m right where I belong, a Filipino Texan.









123 views0 comments
bottom of page