What Are You?

Samoan. That’s the first identifier that comes to mind after my name. Okay, maybe my age comes before that, but my ethnicity is at least third. Being Samoan has always been a huge part of my identity. It is both my ethnic background and the culture of my home growing up.

16 February 2018

When I first began and stopped writing this post, obviously there was something that sparked this interest. Perhaps it was this video I watched of Pacific Islanders breaking stereotypes and letting people know what it’s like to hear unintentionally and intentionally racist comments. Maybe I was distracted by something that caused me to walk away, but here comes a small story-time related to what I began writing above.

Last night, after watching the brilliantly amazing Black Panther, my friends requested and found a boba place to get something to drink before we went home. As we pulled into the parking lot, however, there was a mob of people crowded outside the door. We rerouted, and somehow ended up at a brewery. Boba and Beer are pretty similar, you know.

Fast-forward after two rounds, a guy breaking about six glasses by crashing into a table, that guy putting his hand on my shoulder and getting escorted away by a bartender, and then that bartender apologizing three times while telling stories that all shared the underlying moral of “you can’t reason with drunk people”. There was a dude whose hovering was way too strong, and who got my attention by first asking what my ethnicity is. Actually, I heard him say, “… I think she’s Samoan… look at her hair man… I think she’s Samoan…”, and then saying, “Hey, are you Samoan? What are you?” After confirmation of my ethnicity and turning back around, he complimented my hair. As soon as I said, “thank you”, my friends knew it was time to get going.

My sense of time was a bit skewed, but he ended up behind me again after what seemed like 10 minutes. Mind you, we are sitting at the bar, no other bar stool behind me, and last call had already passed. Funny example of a deflated masculine ego: Dude was trying to get our attention and asked “where are you guys from?” about three times before saying, “must be dikes.” (Side note – Guys, just because a girl isn’t interested, doesn’t necessarily mean she’s a lesbian. If anything, you just might be creeping her out. Just FYI. Leave her alone) My girls didn’t hear the butt-hurt comment, but nevertheless, downed their drinks and I got my keys to go.

We were on our way out when he said something again. I turned confused and he repeated “Are you married?” I should’ve said yes, but I said no, and he said “Oh, so you just don’t like me?”. I just laughed with a “didn’t say that (awkward drunk man who looks about 15 years my senior and who I hope doesn’t try to follow us outside)”. The bartender called out, “Have a good night” and we walked briskly out the door. IHOP afterwards helped reset the night. I dropped my friends off, and took the two and a half hour drive to the desert.

There are several morals to this story but, to my non-Samoan/non-Polynesian/non-islander friends, please do not touch our hair. Yes, we are patient, but do not be so foolish as to push us to the point of your regret.

To Everyone: Do not ask someone “What are you?” My response is usually “human” or “alien” depending on my mood. “What’s your race?” – “Human. I belong to the human race”. “What’s your nationality?” – “American.” “Where are you from?” – “California”. “No, like, where are you REALLY from?” – “SOUTHERN California”. My ethnic background is Samoan. My ancestors are from the islands of Samoa. Ask me about my ethnicity.

And, to the guys, boys, men, my dudes… y’all are so appreciated and loved, but please don’t be creepy. Please. You’ll know you’re being creepy if a girl is not interested or responding to you, though you persist and persist. There’s no chance. There’s plenty of fish in the sea, you know, all those metaphors; so please, if she is acting uninterested and not reciprocating the same energy, leave her be. To simplify it a bit more, she don’t want you. I say that emphatically. She. Don’t. Want. You. I do have advice though: Friend-zone girls. This actually goes both ways. Treat people like human beings first, and your chances of possibly getting closer with them will be considerably higher, I guarantee.  Know your worth without treating others like they’re less than you and people will recognize and acknowledge your worth.

Wakanda… I mean, Samoa Foreva. Black Panther was honestly epic, I’m still kinda shook.

Much Love


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