AntiBlackness in the Sāmoan Community
When I was 6 years old I asked my mom what villages we were from so when someone asked me I could answer them. Sāmoan people were always asking my mom what village our families were from and then they’d talk for two more seconds and we’d have to kiss and hug our newly found cousins. My mom quickly responded “no one is ever going to ask you that”. I was shocked by the answer and now I see that she was right.
I’ve been called afakasi and mea’uli since I was born. Many people who are Black and Sāmoan are sharing their experiences online and it reminded me of my own. Anti-Blackness from Sāmoan people is actually super wild because Sāmoan people, like most people, are descendants from Africa.
Anti-Blackness refers to actions or behaviors that minimize, marginalize or devalue the full participation of Black people in life. The spectrum of anti-Black actions and behaviors spans from unconscious bias to motivated acts of prejudice. They include the tolerance of or indifference to the under-representation, differential success and advancement, or experience of Black people in the university.
In fact many of the people inhabiting islands within the Polynesian triangle and those who proudly call themselves People of the Pacific or Pacific Islanders first migrated from West Africa. Hell, there’s even a place called Melanesia. The White-washing of history, mass genocide and raping of local people has lead many to believe this is not true but I know y’all see the physical features the same way I do. I touched on a lot of this in my pieces Moana is Trash and The AAPI Acronym.
The same anti-Black arguments are made about the aboriginal people of Australia and New Zealand but again I know y’all see the same people I see.
The desire to distance one’s self from Blackness as much as possible is anti-Blackness. The belief that Blackness is inherently bad is anti-Blackness. The desire to White-wash your own history in order to not be seen as Black is anti-Blackness. I have been exotified by many and tossed after they realize I’m just Black mixed with Black. Anti-Blackness is not the way to liberation, it’s actually takes us in the opposite direction and acknowledging this is the only way forward.
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