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Beyond Yellow EnglishToward a Linguistic Anthropology of Asian Pacific America$
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Angela Reyes and Adrienne Lo

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195327359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327359.001.0001

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“We Can Laugh at Ourselves”

“We Can Laugh at Ourselves”

Hawai'i Ethnic Humor, Local Identity, and the Myth of Multiculturalism

Chapter:
(p.288) 17 “We Can Laugh at Ourselves”
Source:
Beyond Yellow English
Author(s):

Roderick N. Labrador

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327359.003.0017

This chapter examines the intersection of language, humor, and representation in the linguistic practices of Hawai'i comedians. In these comedy performances Mock Filipino is often employed to differentiate the speakers of Philippine languages from speakers of Hawai'i Creole English (or Pidgin). Key to understanding the use of Mock Filipino is the idea of “Local” as a cultural and linguistic identity category and its concomitant multiculturalist discourse. Local comedians' use of Mock Filipino relies on Hawai'i's myth of multiculturalism while constructing racializing discourses which position immigrant Filipinos as culturally and linguistically Other. The linguistic practices in the comedy performances are identity acts that help to produce and disseminate ideas about language, culture, and identity while normalizing Local and reinforcing Hawai'i's mainstream multiculturalist ideology.

Keywords:   race, ethnicity, language, representation, performance, humor, multiculturalism, Filipino, Hawai'i

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