Sunday, August 15, 2010

Half-Caste Part 2

"... The girls are plenty, and all half caste..." I'm driving in my car listening to Jamoa Jam and singing this phrase at the top of my lungs. Yeah, that's right Utah! I'm half-caste! And what?!

Okay, there is some false bravado in that last comment. I'm only happy to sing the song because it makes my being afakasi a positive thing. More often than not, it's been a negative in my life. You would think that negativity would come from the old school American culture and its 1950ish outlook on interracial marriages. But, no. The negativity has come from my own Samoan people.

Here's the funny part. I come from a large, strong family of chiefs from a large, influencial village in American Samoa. I can travel anywhere, and I mean anywhere, run into a Samoan, be introduced and just get the look that says, "Oh, she's just some afakasi girl who doesn't know anything about her culture." Okay, now the funny part.

If I'm introduced and the introducer says I'm from Samoa, the other person has a polite smile and says, "Oh", while nodding, indicating they really don't care.

Seriously, here's the funny part. I can be introduced as a Samoan from American Samoa and my family and village enter the conversation... Hello! Eyes light up, hugs, the big smile with the drawn out "Ohhhh", the whole barrage of questions on how's the family, and finally the "I knew your dad, family, etc..."

Why couldn't it just be, "Oh, you're Samoan and it's good to meet a fellow Samoan"? Instead, I get the feeling you have to lay out your pedigree so the other person can make sure you're worthy to converse with, most especially if you're afakasi.

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