Social Categories, Nuance, and Being Messy

By The Seventh Wave

An Interview with Author Kristen Millares Young
April 9, 2020

Interviewed by Joyce Chen, TSW staff

To say that our personhood isn’t meant to fit neatly into a box, or even a series of boxes, is not a new thought. It has arguably been around since there have been forces — most times, pressure from those in positions of power — who seek to limit our identities to a single, flattening label. For sociologist and author Anthony Ocampo, Ph.D., understanding the constraints of these social categories has helped him to then trace fault lines in the foundation of how we’ve come to understand one another across racial, gender, and sexual spectrums.

Ocampo, who is the author of 2016’s The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race and the forthcoming To Be Brown and Gay in L.A.: Race and Sexuality in the Immigrant City, has long been a champion of deconstructing the categories that we’ve grown used to in order to make sense of our place in a complex society. In particular, he notes in his book that though Filipino Americans are often categorized as Asian Americans, they actually bear a lot of resemblance to the Latinx American community — a fact that can be traced back to Spanish colonialism and seen, still, in modern contexts like in Ocampo’s native Los Angeles. What this all points to, in the end, is a need to understand that there are multitudes contained within any given sociopolitcal identity.

With the election now just days away, and the deadline for the 2020 Census a point of political contention earlier this month, we thought it would be helpful to chat with Ocampo to learn more about the impact the abbreviated deadline could have on marginalized communities, the importance of intersectionality when talking about power dynamics, and the freedom inherent in the messiness of creative writing that is sometimes absent in academia.

Joyce Chen: What are some of the forces beneath your research and your work? Specifically, what questions are you trying to answer? 

Anthony Ocampo: I’m a writer and a sociologist and saying this is a long time coming, because for the longest time, identifying as a writer was the scariest thing as an academic. I’m a professor of sociology at Cal Poly Pomona. I like writing books in my academic life and more recently, have been trying to make my way into creative nonfiction writing and essays. My areas of expertise are immigration, race and ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Specifically, I write a lot about the Filipinx American experience, and a lot about queer folks of color.

A lot of my research is driven by questions that I’ve had in my “regular life.” In sociology, what’s interesting is your questions always have to be motivated by the literature. And so there has to be some theory that’s conflicting with some other theory. But to be honest, I really was drawn to writing because I was interested in questions of identity. And as a Filipino American who grew up in very diverse neighborhoods in LA, I’ve always been interested in this question about where Filipino Americans fit in. I know that for a lot of Asian Americans, for example, there’s a lot of questions of, do you fit more with the home country or with the ethnic community versus “mainstream” America? But with the Filipino case, the added layer of it is that even though Filipinos are technically categorized as Asian, growing up in LA, I got to witness a lot of cultural similarities with Latinx groups, and I always thought that was worth thinking about and studying, because I saw how this discrepancy would play out in real life.

I’ve always been interested in those moments when Filipinos have had a sense of dissonance with other Asian Americans. Obviously, there are a lot of moments when there are connections, too, but I was always interested in the ways that Filipinos disidentified from Asian Americans and in turn, identified with Latinos. Not necessarily in terms of checking the Latino box, but just in certain moments, I would see these similarities in action. When I think back on my personal experiences and think about where I fit into the landscape of my own college experience, that sort of exacerbated the need to address those questions through writing. I mean, that’s what they say, right? You write to try to get to an understanding that you don’t yet have. So that’s what ended up happening. I’ve also more recently been doing more writing about questions of queer identity. For me, I’ve always been interested in queerness for personal reasons because I do identify as queer, and how that interacts with ethnic and racial identity, in part because for much of my life, I grew up with this very narrow view of what gay meant, and it was always something that was associated with whiteness, and it was always associated with effeminate gender transgressions, as opposed to the knowledge that queerness can fit a number of different gender expressions.

And so I’ve always been interested in the disentanglement of things. With the Filipino work, it’s Filipino and Asianness. And with the queer stuff, it’s queerness and whiteness. I’ve always been interested in the messiness, the untethering, the people that fuck shit up in terms of the way that we conceptualize categories. I think they’re really, really fruitful sites for analysis and understanding of all sorts of things, whether it be relationships or family, or other roles we play in our communities.


Joyce: That makes me think about academic versus literary writing, and the possibilities and limitations of both. In terms of creative writing, it seems like there’s more of a chance to dig into that messiness, but with academia, it might be a little more structured. Is that a fair way to describe the difference?

Anthony: I think that’s a great way to describe it. In academia, we’re trained to write journal articles, which in sociology is a very prescribed format. There’s the introduction, the sociological puzzle, the research question, the lit review — basically, how other people have answered that same question — data methods, discussion. It’s very prescribed, very much based on the scientific method, and even in book format, it’s just a longer version of that.

Every semester, I have students who tell me that everything we read in sociology is so depressing. Everything’s about how poor these people are, how limited their access to resources are, how oppressed they are, racism, sexism., phobias of whatever kind. And I’m like, Wow, they’re not wrong. Of course all these things are really happening to the communities that I study, things that are really messed up, like imperialism and colonialism and homophobia, for sure. But in my real life, there’s a whole lot of laughing and joy and messiness that I feel like isn’t represented in sociology. In sociology, we tend to paint marginalized groups as only marginalized. But in real life, I can see how marginalized people are the ones doing the marginalizing, too, in whatever ways. Creative writing has allowed me more liberty to explore the full spectrum of humanity for these marginalized people and communities. I feel I must pay homage to Roxane Gay and Bad Feminist here because that was the first book where I saw her really tackle some of the same issues that I studied sociologically, but in a way that was very narrative and irreverent and at times hilarious. I just didn’t know that that was possible. And that book really sent me down a rabbit hole to explore a different style of writing, but still driven by the same questions that I’ve always had.

As you know, we were in Berkeley in 2018 together and we had that VONA workshop with Kiese Laymon, and that was at a time where I was like, “fuck academia” and “fuck sociology,” and all the hyper-professionalism and elitism and blah blah blah. And I remember Kiese would try to reel me in. Like, “Hey, don’t throw out that sociology stuff. It can prove useful.” I think at that time, I felt so fucked over by professional sociology, so I was very knee-jerk reaction, anti-academia. But in the past two years since that, I’ve really come to see that he’s right: if you can take an artful approach to sociology, then it can actually be a useful tool for your creative writing, too, which I didn’t realize until my anger had subsided.

Creative writing has allowed me more liberty to explore the full spectrum of humanity for these marginalized people and communities.

Joyce: I think what you said about how marginalized people in sociology are portrayed as a sad bunch feels true, because we’ve all had to deal with a whole host of oppressions, depending upon what group or groups you fall into. But in literature, there’s the possibility of centering that narrative so that instead of just being the sad character on the side, marginalized folks actually get multiple layers of humanity.

Anthony: For sure. When I started to read more literature, broadly speaking, from creative nonfiction and memoir to novels, I started to feel really drawn to the unflattering moments among people of color or queer people. I have to credit Roxane because her book’s literally titled Bad Feminist, and then Kiese, who has always been upfront about how he’s participated in certain types of patriarchal structures, and is constantly reflecting on how he can do better. But you can’t erase the past.

I’m particularly drawn to memoir — like Meredith Talusan, for instance. She writes about being Filipina, an immigrant, and a trans woman. But you know, there are certain parts of her book where she’s unbecoming, and I think that that’s important for her to write about those moments. Cathy Park Hong’s new essay collection, Minor Feelings, is like that, too. I like that chapter where she writes about her college years and her Korean friends and how they were kind of conceited and arrogant. Because Asian Americans are always depicted as demure and passive and staying in their lane, and I’m like, cool, here’s someone who’s talking about being arrogant, and I think that’s awesome to see. Obviously, I don’t aim to be an arrogant person, but I have the right to have a moment where I have been guilty of arrogance as opposed to what happens in a lot of minoritized contexts, where we have to be super Filipino or super queer or a hyper-manufactured, curated representative for everybody. I just don’t want to do that. That’s just shitty for me, let alone for people that may from a distance be trying to use my moves as a guide for their moves. 

Alexander Chee is another great example. He’s just the most gorgeous of prose writers. I like books where people of color and queer people get to be the asshole. I’m not going to ever knock books where folks use the personal essay to highlight the stuff that’s messed up about their social, structural position. But at the same time, I don’t see that as the pinnacle of what nonfiction should be for marginalized people. I think what it does is that it implies that we should be afraid of the unbecoming aspects of our personhood, and I’m just like, I don’t want to do that. Though, I do want to give a caveat: I am a cisgender male, so I do understand that the spectrum of what I’m allowed to do and say is very different than women, trans women and cis women, and so I want to acknowledge that I am in a privileged state to be able to say that.


Joyce: That’s such a salient point. The idea that you can be complicated without having to apologize for being complicated, for being flawed, whatever “flawed” might look like for different folks, is really important. So does being able to be the “asshole” in a narrative come down to a matter of permission?

Anthony: That’s the thing. The permission doesn’t come out of nowhere. I think it’s built of all those moments of connection where folks give us permission a tiny percent of the time to experiment with who we are without consequence. I think it makes for better art, I think it makes for more provocative reading. I’m just over the curated humble brag, the literary version of the humble brag. I understand it, but I don’t find it that interesting anymore.

And maybe part of it is that I’ve been surrounded by people who’ve been very real. I really credit our little writing crew with you and Cynthia Greenlee and Ruby Hansen Murray, particularly Cynthia, who I feel like is the kind of writer homie who just grants me permission to push myself to be more “me” every time I talk to her. And that’s a real gift, because given that we understand the structural position that we as writers face, I imagine there can be an inclination or a temptation to be gentle. I do that, and maybe that’s because it’s a Filipino or an Asian thing, but I appreciate being around people who don’t care that what they say may cause you not to like them. I don’t have that superpower, but I appreciate the people in my life who are able to do that.


Joyce: Right. It’s like the people who aren’t afraid to hold up the mirror in a very real way and just be like, Here’s how you are, and here’s how you can be better, whatever better might look like. I’m curious about the idea of identity in context. I know we’ve spoken before about how, when folks identify themselves, it depends so much on context. I’m kind of curious if you could speak a little bit to that idea, of how a person has to redefine themselves in the different contexts they find themselves in.

Anthony: I think that, like you, I grew up in an environment where I never really had to question my sense of identity. Ethnic identity, racial identity. I was surrounded by Filipinos and multigenerational Filipino families. I went to the Philippines on the regular, and obviously, there were identity issues there, but I think it was really important that I was already very solidly embedded in a Filipino social context.

I read a lot of narratives from Asian American writers or creators, and that narrative of trying to be white or how they didn’t fit in with white folks — I never really had that until much later in my life. And I think that that’s worth amplifying: Asian American stories where the writer didn’t want to be white. If anything, I was very self-conscious about being light-skinned. I was super conscious of being too light. And in that space, I could just have regular problems, like my immigrant relatives commenting on my weight and someone making fun of me for my failures to be a “real boy” or masculine. Obviously, that changed when I went to high school. I went to an all-boys private high school. So even though there was a good chunk of Filipinos there, my classmates also consisted of people who were from the Pacific Palisades and Malibu, and people whose houses had pool houses, and it was just — I didn’t understand the wealth. I didn’t understand the whiteness but I really didn’t understand the wealth. It was like studying in another country for high school.

I think this is why intersectionality comes into play, because at my high school, yes there were the wealthy white folks and the mishmash of POC folks, but my immediate instinct was to fall in with the Filipino group. Because that’s what you do at a racially diverse high school in LA: you fall into your respective group. However, that strategy was curtailed by the fact that I was tagged as effeminate. It could have been me walking on my tiptoes. It could have been the way I responded to certain situations. It could have been my musical tastes or TV tastes. It could also be the fact that when there was banter among the boys that had to do with girls, I never participated because it just, in my mind, sounded so fake. Even though I wasn’t out with myself, I didn’t participate in the locker room talk at all. And I always assumed it was because I respect women, and I think that’s true, but it’s also probably because I’m gay. So gotta love Filipinos because all it takes is one head Filipino to decide that you’re a faggot and to tell everyone else, and then they don’t want to touch you with a 10-foot pole. You’re just forever banned. So that was very traumatizing.

It’s weird because it was traumatizing in the moment but I’m also kind of like, “Thank god it happened,” because the social detour that I went through brought me into a collective of other don’t-fit-the-mold-of-masculinity folks of color, some of whom ended up coming out later in life. We were all part of the yearbook, all these “failures” of masculinity, so that was very incredible. Even today, I’m almost 40, and I still look back at high school and I romanticize what a band of misfits we were. These were people who were intellectually very sharp but also witty and the things we did were so transgressive and I guess you could say queer, and it was just really great. Within that group, if you showed any hints that you wanted to be white, it was actually completely inappropriate.

So to answer your question, there was this other sort of POC space that I felt was so rich and amazing, and where I could be myself. In retrospect, I learned a lot from that group of friends. And I really really miss it a lot. We were also a group of friends that wasn’t really into dating, so in some sense, sex just never came up. It was just never there to complicate the situation. It was just really pure and resistant at the same time. And mind you, this was the 90s, when A Different World was on, The Cosby Show, Martin — this was a time when there was no prescribed Black “type.” And even though I am not Black, the fact that I had a plethora of TV to choose from where I could see people not white act all sorts of ways, that was a nice sort of backdrop to the friends group that I had, because we often referenced all sorts of things that were POC, whether it was shows or music. I could say Dwayne Wayne or Whitley Gilbert and use that seamlessly in that space, and they would get it. And it was a language that was just ours, in a school that was predominantly white, where you knew for a fact that nobody could reference the key character types in A Different World.


Joyce: I don’t want to simplify what you’re saying at all, but it almost sounds like there were two parallel silos that were happening at the same time in terms of white mainstream and then everybody else, in a way. Those references don’t always cross over even though it was all happening during that period of time.

Anthony: To be honest, there was also a Filipino mainstream. There was a very prescribed rule for what it meant to be Filipino. You played basketball, you DJ’d, you tried to breakdance, or you breakdanced. You hung out with these groups of girls from whatever school, you went to school dances with them, you took pictures at the mall and you distributed them. When you’re existing in the Filipino mainstream or the white mainstream, there is almost no need for you to grab onto whatever mishmash of cultural representation that you can. Because you already fit in. And the thing about being queer is, being Filipino, you don’t fit in with the whites. And being queer, you don’t fit in with the Filipinos. That’s why we loved Daria so much. We were like the Daria’s. That was the most accurate depiction of who we were in high school.

It was a language that was just ours, in a school that was predominantly white, where you knew for a fact that nobody could reference the key character types in A Different World.

Joyce: In terms of the census, then, it is so much about placing folks into categories and boxes and not having that joy and not having that ability to exist in multitudes. As somebody who’s so steeped in looking at the intersections of so many of those identities, what is something that layfolk like me, who are not sociologists, but are trying to stay engaged — what’s something I should be aware of when it comes to the importance of the census?

Anthony: My cousin Paul Ocampo, who works at Asian Americans Advancing Justice, gave me a little more insight into this. The census, and society more broadly, has always been in the business of counting people, in terms of understanding who is inhabiting what spaces. I think what’s been really evident — especially after the 1960s — is that racial minorities have realized that being counted is something that can help them advance their goals, whether it be trying to ameliorate some of the inequalities that they face on a number of fronts, or whether it’s about representation. What’s interesting is a lot of the census categories that we’re so used to — Asian, for example — didn’t really exist in the same way even 50 years ago. It’s interesting to look at the different census forms across time and see, Oh, these groups were really thought of as separate even though today we see them as under the same umbrella.

And I think that that’s the case for both Asian Americans of different ethnicities and Latinos of different national origins (although back then they would use the word “Hispanic”). There was this sort of proactive work on their part to be counted. Because they knew that numbers — critical mass — would determine their mobilizing power. Their voting power. G. Cristina Mora, who’s a sociologist at Berkeley, looks a lot at how bureaucrats, media folks, and activists of different Latin American, Latino backgrounds, namely Cuban, Puerta Rican, and Mexican, for a long time, didn’t see themselves as existing in the same boat. Puerto Ricans are citizens while the other groups are not, so citizenship was a big divider, but they eventually all banded together to become Hispanic — nowadays Latinx. And on the Asian American side, there were Filipinos, Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans who banded together in the 60s. It’s important to note that not everyone was vibing with that strategy. There were Asian Americans who were like “What are you doing?” and I’m sure that there was an equivalent for the Latinx community as well. But the key thing is that these minority groups wanted to be seen, visible, and then counted.

And then you have people who are activist demographers. People who know demography but are also activists. Juanita Lott is a Filipina American activist who understood the importance of demography. That’s pretty remarkable if you’re thinking about the time back then. She’s still super active today, but it’s truly astounding how much she and other activist demographers knew [the census] really mattered. It matters for the layperson too. You might think, “So what if people get undercounted,” but if you think about the resources that are allocated by the census, there’s a whole variety of them, from Medicaid to education resources to representatives in Congress to electoral college votes. Given what we’re seeing about how much a couple votes can matter, it’s super important to get those numbers as accurate as possible.

A big worry is that it will be minority groups who will be disadvantaged by the early closing of the census, and it’s a real worry. Think about the Latinx voters who are undercounted. What does that mean? They have less power, less political power. They have less resources because resources are allocated because of census data, but then in addition to that, they’re also likely to be lumped in with those who are uncounted in the census: undocumented folks. Not that all Latinos support undocumented folks. But like, if undocumented folks are not going to be counted in the census, even though we know that 11 million plus are here, we gotta find the folks who do have a say and make sure they’re counted. It’s important for them to be counted. To the max.

It’s really complicated. And I think, to be honest, we’re constantly, as writers, journalists, and academics, citing the census for a point of departure and for how we make decisions about what is possible. The census is important for whether you decide to open a business somewhere. Or if the business is viable. Or if you’re a bank and you have to decide whether you can give this loan to someone. All of that data is so important for the objective of advocacy. Particularly for groups that have historically been stripped of power.


Joyce: What’s interesting in my mind is you have “Asian American” as a term that came about in the 60s as a way to gain political power, but then there’s also the recognition that it kind of collapses a lot of different nuance between every single ethnicity, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to reconcile these two facts. Because if banding together helps in terms of political power, but then it basically says Chinese Americans and Hmong Americans are the same, which they’re not, where do you go from there?

Anthony: I think with any sort of pan-ethnic coalition, you don’t want to duplicate what white people do, which is invisiblize the least powerful. So I think that it is a big problem that people are lumping in a Hmong refugee with the Singaporean immigrant who comes over to the States with an Oxford education. Those two people, based on the census, would be the same: “Asian.” In some ways, Hmong refugees share a lot of the same socioeconomic challenges as, say, other racial groups, but because they’re tagged as Asian, all the stereotypes of Asianness go with [that label]. And let’s be clear, those stereotypes were driven by neoconservatives in the 70s who were like hey, Black and Hispanic people, get your shit together, because look at the Asians. The whole wedge thing. So yes, it is tough. But I think Asian Americans, more than general society, have the potential to get in the habit of elevating and amplifying the most marginalized members of the group. If pan-ethnicity is about amplifying stories and needs that are invisibilized, then that should carry through with the operations of any Asian American groups. I think the problem is that if you’re in the minority, the moment that you have a taste of power, it probably feels really good. And it becomes really easy to become the thing that you hated most. Very very fast.

And so this is where I turn to frameworks in Black feminist theory, because the question that is constantly being asked is, “Who is being left out?” And if we center who is being left out, we can actually develop frameworks and strategies that are going to be helpful to all. And I really do believe that. The other thing too, which I find really funny, is that with the Asian box, there are a lot of folks who are frustrated by that racial box leading to folks having very narrow ideas of who they are. “Oh, I’m Asian, but I don’t want you to see me as just fitting in that box.” And what I learned recently is that the idea of not wanting to be typecast by race is not just something that I of course feel, but something that is quite the prevalent narrative among Asian American conservatives.

As some folks maybe don’t know, I went to a Filipinos for Trump rally [earlier this month], and it was kind of a dare, but I ended up learning a lot. It was very challenging, because I spent the last four years like many of you, not engaging with Trump supporters, thinking that they’ll go away after we vote them out in 2020. That made me realize that actually, even if he doesn’t win, that’s a lot of stuff that’s going to remain that can facilitate the election of another person just like Trump. But what I learned is there are a lot of folks who’ve been really hurt by racial stereotypes and being typecast, and so in some ways, their motivation to be Republicans is part of their desire to show the world that they’re not a “normal,” “typical” liberal person of color.

I think with any sort of pan-ethnic coalition, you don’t want to duplicate what white people do, which is invisiblize the least powerful.

Joyce: Wow. That’s spinning my head in a lot of different ways.

Anthony: Oh, trust me. I’m three weeks removed from the rally, so I’ve had time to work it out a little bit but you know, it’s a thing. It’s still spinning my wheels three weeks later.


Joyce: Yeah, I think this thought is going to be spinning my wheels for a long time, just thinking about it. So in a way, then, we’re all just looking for ways not to be put into a box. I think that’s human nature, right? No one’s like, Yeah, I’m just this one thing. It’s just that this search surfaces in different ways, perhaps?

Anthony: Yeah. And I think that what’s funny too is that it’s also strategically used as a reasoning. Like saying, Oh, we Filipinos are family-oriented, and we work hard. That’s sort of putting people in a box, so it’s pretty inconsistent, too.


Joyce: Hmm. Yeah, I’m going to have to chew on that for a little bit. Anthony, I’m also curious, when you were speaking earlier about your high school crew and there being this kind of joy and being in each other’s company, as messy and complicated as that can be, I’m curious if you could speak more to that, because our next call is actually all about joy. What we realized when we were forming the call was that that’s actually a huge form of rebellion, because people in power, whoever those folks might be, generally just want to stomp out joy. Because joy is just allowing folks to live as humanly as they want to be in defiance of whatever the powers want them to be. Could you speak a little more about rebellion and joy as protest?

Anthony: Yeah. I really do buy that — I have a dear dear friend who’s coming over and we’re going to have a socially distant brunch outside and bottomless mimosas. We’re all queer and Filipino and in most every other space, we don’t get to be as outwardly queer and Filipino and so here’s a place where we can indulge in that. Not deliberately, but just because it’s an inherent part of who we are. And I’m so looking forward to it. And I think it’s going to recharge me for the rest of the week. Because how annoying is it that who we are is so often constrained, our ability to make ourselves legible is so constrained by the male gaze or the white gaze? It’s so terrible. And it sucks. It’s this lost opportunity. When I was at grad school getting a PhD at UCLA, I obviously had to attend seminars and go to talks and do what I had to do to show that I could get the PhD. Comprehensive exams and writing, to some extent, that brings me joy, because I love ideas. It’s such a privilege to be in a job where you’re grappling with ideas. But I was also the only Filipino in my program, I was the only queer person of color in my program. There were gay white men, and I was cool with them, but I think I was the only queer person of color, and so obviously in the space of academia or grad school, what sucks is that you have to spend a lot of time explaining and contextualizing who you are and what you like, why you like it, why you reference these things, because you’re so far from the center.

And so to be honest, five to seven times each week, I would spend time in my queer spaces. And it was very much queer POC spaces specifically. And I just remember how much energy I derived from being in a space where everybody’s biography was more aligned to me than 99 percent of my time outside this space. So for those two to four hours every night, I was euphoric. It was euphoria. Imagine spending two decades of your existence not being allowed to be who you are, and then all of a sudden entering a space where you’re not only granted permission, but you’re emboldened to be who you are. And in all aspects, from gender play to sex to being an asshole. Being in love and having a crush. Being publicly affectionate. All those things that I think you have come to witness your whole life as something that you don’t have access to, then all of a sudden having that space that you can access — man, I just went to town. I indulged. I lived several lifetimes in those two to four hours a night over the course of my grad school career.

And I think it made me a better writer, a better thinker, a better storyteller, because I was constantly in dialogue with a world that didn’t give a shit about academia. And I feel better for that. And so in the same way I found joy in the grappling of ideas in the academia context, I just found so much joy in the language both spoken and unspoken that emerged from a place that for so much of my life has been demonized or villainized. So for me, joy is the chance to be at the center, but that’s just the beginning. It’s the chance to be at the center, and experiment with aspects of your personhood that you’ve been conditioned to shield from the world. I fucking love being messy.

Headshot of Anthony Ocampo

Anthony Ocampo, Ph.D. is a writer and sociologist from Los Angeles. He is the author of The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race (Stanford University Press), which was cited and featured in The New Yorker, NPR Morning Edition, NPR Codeswitch, Latino USA, Public Radio International, NBC, BBC Mundo, and a variety of Filipinx and Latinx media outlets. Anthony is finishing his second book Brown and Gay in LA: Queer Sons of Immigrants Coming of Age (NYU Press). He is the founding editor of the Asian American Sociology Series for NYU Press. Dr. Ocampo’s research and writing has received support from the Ford Foundation, Jack Jones Literary Arts, and VONA. He currently is Associate Professor of Sociology at Cal Poly Pomona.

Photos of the author by Julian Sambrano (header image) and Tom Zasadzinski.

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