Working Definition:

Paul Kramer argues that categories of race emerging from the U.S. conquest of the Philippines were not manifestations of the metropole injected into colonial society. Rather, the concept of race was relatively fluid, transformed through a dialectical relationship between the United States and the Philippines and forged within the legacies of Spanish conceptions of race. Because the races of Filipino/as were unclear to Americans at the outset of the Philippine-American War, racial categories evolved as Americans and Filipino/as engaged with one another throughout the colonial project. Indeed, Americans’ racialized views could elicit incredible violence, paternalism, and doubts about the abilities of Filipino/as to govern themselves. Additionally, for Filipino elites working with colonial officials, race was contingent on religion, leading elites and American colonists alike to posit that Christianized Filipino/as were more likely to have the capacity for civility and self-governance than non-Christians. Importantly, the concept of race, in the context of the U.S. colonization of the Philippines, should be noted for its malleability and mosaic characteristics. In other words, “race” was not a static concept.

Related Terms:

Suggestions for Further Reading:

Paul A. Kramer, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006).