I think they expected that we would date outside of our community.: Becoming Minnesotan

Dr. Maryam Beltran Shapland, Emergency Physician at Woodwinds Hospital, Woodbury
  • Name - Maryam Beltran Shapland
  • Age at interview - 34
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 01.25.2011
  • Maryam Beltran with her sister and parents in Manila, 1987.


    Filipino, Youth Experiences

    Essential Question

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

    Assimilation: Does a person have to give up part of his/her culture to become more American?

    Words to look for

    Background Information

    Life in the Philippines tends to be centered around the family and the church. The family may be an extended one, with close relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Traditionally the family has been patriarchal, with the father in charge, and the children expected to have great respect for their elders. Like many other cultures, some Filipino families have faced difficulties in the United States between the traditional expectations of the parents and the desires of the children for a more Western style or less strict upbringing.

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

    • Chapter 1

    Download Maryam Shapland 3
    2:33 Minutes | 2.47Mb


    Narrator: Maryam Shapland (MS)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    MS: My parents were very open to us dating and having boyfriends. I don’t know if it’s because my mom is one of seven girls, and they just assumed that when you become a teenager, you date. They were not very restrictive. Of course, we had curfews and couldn’t go out on school nights. But, they let us go out.

    LM: Do you remember how old you were when you were allowed to go out on your first date and do you remember who your first date was?

    MS: I do! I think I was fifteen years old. It was this Caucasian guy with long hair. His name was Bill. We went to a church function. [Laughter]

    LM: Did your parents mind that your first date was not from the Filipino community?

    MS: I think they expected it. I think they expected that we would date outside of our community, because most of the people around us… We were living in a suburb. We went to high school in a suburb, so I think they pretty much expected that it wasn’t going to be solely Filipinos; although, I did date Filipinos.

    LM: Oh, you did date within your community, too?

    MS: I did. Yes.

    LM: I was going to ask, but maybe the answer is now obvious. I was going to ask if your parents were strict with you and your sister in the typical Filipino way.

    MS: No, they were not. They let us pretty much wear what we wanted, again — obviously, nothing too showing or nothing too provocative. But we got to pick out our own clothes. Slowly, my mom let us wear makeup over time. Because she herself does not use makeup very much, so she was more conservative about that than anything else. They were strict about certain things: getting your homework done on time, making sure we called if we were going to be late to go home. They wanted to know who we were going out with. They wanted to know the parents if we had a sleepover or if it was from the Filipino community, they wanted to make sure they knew the parents. They wanted to meet the boys that were taking us out. But, in terms of not letting us go on dates, not letting us do social activities, they were not restrictive at all.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Verb:  1. To suppose to be true, especially without proof.  2. To take on a position or duty.  (assumes, assuming, assumed)


    Adjective:  Of European descent, white.


    Noun:  A group of people who share a common understanding of the same language, manners, tradition and law.


    Adjective:  Tending to resist change.


    Noun: A rule requiring people to be off the streets and in their homes by a certain time.


    Adjective: Serving or tending to provoke, excite, or stimulate; exciting.


    Adjective:  Confining; restraining; strict.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 2138