Creating Masculinity in Los Angeles's Little Manila: Working-Class Filipinos and Popular Culture, 1920's - 1950's

Linda España - Maram Columbia University Press


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The author analyzes the politics of popular culture in the lives of Filipino American laborers in Los Angeles's Little Manila, from the 1920's-50's.  The Filipinos' participation in leisure activities - including the thrills of Chinatown's gambling dens, the excitement of boxing matches, and the sensual pleasures of dancing with White women in taxi dance halls - sent legislators, reformers, and police forces scurrying to contain public displays of Filipino virility. Filipino workers, by flaunting "improper" behavior, established niches of autonomy where they could defy racist attitudes and shape an immigrant identity based on youth, ethnicity, and notions of heterosexual masculinity within the confines of a working class.

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