It’s your problem that I’ll ignore

Monalisa Layan,
Federated States of Micronesia

I lived in Hilo, Hawaii for 7 years while I attended college. There were many kinds and good people that I met. However, there were some that were just plain ugly. As a native Pacific Islander, it was quite strange for me to see someone who is not pure Native Hawaiian–mixed plate as some may say–calling me names and telling me to go back where I came from. It’s even more ridiculous for me to see a Caucasian person yell at me for being racist because I served someone brown before them in a room full of brown people and they were last in line. And in both experiences I’ve learned one thing: it isn’t really racism that drives most people’s hate, it’s the fear of not belonging. Hawaii is literally a place of many, many ethnic groups from all around the world. So when you have someone born and raised “local” who is racist towards you, you have to wonder why they are doing that when they are completely multi-cultural in appearance. Maybe they’re afraid that they don’t fit into a particular ethnic group anymore, so they will use whatever percentage of Native Hawaiian blood they have to speak on behalf of an entire group? And when you have someone who absolutely looks different from everyone else, the white person in a sea of brown, whom you treat like everyone else [because they are human] and yet still thinks you’re singling them out…Maybe they are afraid of everyone else because somehow they think people actually find them offensive? As far as I’m concerned, if you treat me with respect, I will respect you too. If you don’t, then that’s your problem and I will ignore you.

 

Tweets by Michele Norris