The Atlantic

Lola’s Resistant Dignity

Reading “My Family’s Slave” in the context of Philippine history

Source: Bullit Marquez / AP

This article is part of a series of responses to Alex Tizon’s Atlantic article “My Family’s Slave.” The full series can be found here. For another historical perspective, please see Micki McElya’s essay on how Lola’s story echoes the American “faithful slave” narrative.


Alex Tizon’s essay “My Family’s Slave” has stirred considerable controversy. Readers have struggled to understand the conditions that allowed for the enslavement of Eudocia Tomas Pulido, the complex dynamic of her relationship with the Tizons, and the highly conflicted reactions the story has elicited across the Pacific.

Many commenters from the U.S. saw the Tizons’ relationship with Pulido through the lens of antebellum American slavery. Such views tend to conflate the Tizon family with white slave masters, Lola with black slaves, and their household with the plantation. Once you’ve made these alignments, it’s easy to condemn Tizon’s confession as insufficiently repentant, and the narrative as self-serving.

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