They did not expect the discrimination and prejudice that took place here.: Becoming Minnesotan

Belen Andrada receiving an award from the FMA seniors.
  • Name - Belen Andrada
  • Age at interview - 84
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 12.01.2010
  • Filipino American Club function, Minneapolis, c.1950.
    Filipino Eddie Maglaya, Dunwoody student and part-time butler, Twin Cities, 1920

    Discrimination, Filipino, Work

    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Problems in America: What could have helped this person’s adjustment in the U.S.?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    The majority of Filipinos who came to Minnesota prior to the 1960s were young men planning to study at the University of Minnesota or other local colleges. Most of these students returned to the Philippines following the completion of their studies, as it was almost impossible for a Filipino to find work in the Twin Cities at that time other than as a servant, waiter, or other service worker in a home, hotel or restaurant.

    Since very few of the first Filipinos to arrive in Minnesota were women prior to the 1940s most male Filipino immigrants married local women of European heritage. The couples in these mixed marriage and their children often faced discrimination from the women’s families and from society at large.

    To learn more about Filipino history and culture, visit our Filipino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Belen Andrada 7
    1:41 Minutes | 1.62Mb


    Narrator: Belen Andrada (BA)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: What were the Filipinos doing here in Minnesota when you came here, and how did they earn their living? Were they professionals, what things did they do?

    BA: Now even the professionals did not really get jobs in their field of choice. Most of them were in service professions: waiters, help in the house, like with the Carlsons and the Morrisons, all of these big people. We could never practice the degrees that we had because, again, at that time the discrimination was really bad. My uncle even tells me he could not even walk side-by-side with his wife; otherwise, somebody would be spitting at them or throwing stones at them. And yet, most of the Filipinos here married Americans, because there were no Filipino women then, at the time.

    LM: What were their reasons for coming here, these first wave of Filipinos?

    BA: The first wave thought they could go to school with all the promises of, “Go to America and it’s going to be really nice there.” They did not expect that they were going to go through the discrimination and prejudice that took place here. In fact, many of the PhD graduates went back to the Philippines. They did not stay here.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  Unfair treatment of an individual or group based on their religion, ethnicity, or other reason.


    Noun:  1. A customary action, habit, or behavior; a manner or routine.  2. The observance of religious duties which a church requires of its members.

    Verb:   To perform or observe in a habitual fashion.  (practices, practicing, practiced)


    Noun:  A negative judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge of the facts.


    Adjective:  Describes a specific field of work that requires above average education and a specific set of skills.

    Noun: A person who works in a job that requires a lot of skills or training.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 2144