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Disturbing Ignorance


In college I learned a lot of things in a lot of my courses, but the courses I truly enjoyed we’re my anthropology courses. Learning about other countries, their history, their culture and their traditions was an escape for me. I’ve traveled to many places growing up as a military brat and being heavily involved with athletics at a national and international level, but my anthropology professors had this unique innate ability to draw in students attention when giving a lecture.

In my Oceania anthropology courses, it was fun sharing my own experience of being a Polynesian and sharing how similar and different other countries under the umbrella of Polynesia are in comparison to one another. What my fellow pupils found interesting and quite admirable was the tight knit families our cultures had and the comradery we shared within the Polynesian culture. Not only do we display that amongst each other, but we live by example by being that way with non-Polynesians as well. I love when people witness that and acknowledge that as an admirable characteristic in our culture. It makes me proud to be Tongan. It makes me proud to be alongside my fellow “Polys” or “Nesians”: (an affectionate term of endearment we use to group ourselves in) Hawaiians, Samoans, Maoris and Fijiians.

However, there is a certain point that is reached when one’s pride becomes disturbingly ignorant. How? I’ll show you a few of many ignorant statements that was made by a Polynesian tweeter. I’m only sharing this for discussion purposes, but if you aren’t in the mood to read opinionated ignorance, then don’t read any further. However, if you’re in the mood for discussion and debate, please read further and comment afterwards.

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Twitter is all fun in games until someone gets hurt. Be it physically, emotionally or mentally, I don’t condone such ignorance. It’s ignorance, right? Apparently the tweeter didn’t think so.

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The tweeter responded to a hurt follower that is Hawaiian. In the midst of pride and prejudice, the tweeter completely ignores the Hawaiian’s feelings. I stared at my cell screen analyzing the situation because I know the tweeter. Initially I was appalled. I still am, but I’m puzzled as to why the tweeter thinks that a personal opinion or personal “experience” isn’t ignorant. It can be! And it IS!

I scroll further into this tweeter’s timeline to see what other “confessions” we’re made because I’m the kind of person that wants to know… even of what I read is more ignorant than what I’ve already read. So I scroll on and see regular tweets and then…BOOM! IRONY!

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Yes. Really! How ironic is this tweet? I literally laughed out loud because it was contradictory to his/her own actions. I scroll a little further. And again I laughed out loud.

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Your brain cells aren’t adding up? I’m sorry, I had one of those “laugh to keep from screaming” moments. I immediately logged off and went to discuss things with my followers on my other social accounts. It’s Friday. I wasn’t in the mood to have a “twiscussion”. As disappointed as I was with such ignorant and contradictory statements, I wasn’t in the mood to kick off a discussion on twitter today, especially on a Friday. I wasn’t in the mood to confront the tweeter. I’ll pick and choose my battles wisely. This one, wasn’t worth it. If the tweeter overlooked a Hawaiian’s feelings, what would my input matter? I just felt like blogging about it instead; gathering my own thoughts and feelings and posting them here in my own safe haven.

Think about the things you say and do. For every action there’s a reaction. The history of Hawaii and the greater good Hawaiians have done to help pave the way for the rest of us Polynesians to have a better life here in America shouldn’t be overlooked.

Thurgood Marshall (First black Supreme Court Justice) frequented Hawaii not only because of the scenery but also because of the people and their aloha spirit. Everyone knows that Hawaii is the home state of President Barack Obama. I mention this because these politicians and past ones as well were introduced to Polynesia because of Hawaii. We were once ONE people and lived on ONE land. The divisive mentality happened somewhere along the way. I only hope this tweeter and other ignorant people see the light sooner rather than later.

What do you consider Polynesia? Are you familiar with the differences and similarities between Samoa, Hawaii and Tonga? If you’re non-Polynesian, we’re you aware that intra-racial issues exist within the Polynesian cultures?

Until next post,

XoXoX

Lia

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9 comments on “Disturbing Ignorance

  1. Kashif Ross
    January 6, 2012

    I didn’t know what cultures were included in Polynesian, though I have quite a few Poly friends. But I’m always aware that these issues exist in every culture. I never assume that any ethnic group is an exception.

    This type of discrimination began long before race was an issue. Discrimination started as a religious thing. Though people believed in one god, each religious group hated the next because only “our” beliefs are correct. That transfers to ignorant people today.

    Ignorant means lacking knowledge or information. The tweeter didn’t realize that they’re ignorant because they don’t know. <— That's a circle way of thinking, but it's true. I wouldn't waste too much time with ignorant people, it's the stupid ones you have to watch out for — those that go out of their way to bash others or cause harm. Ignorance is bliss, so let the idiot stay harmless.

    Not everyone knows how to stand united and support one another. Don't let them interrupt your positivity. Your encouragement to readers represents the way the world should think.

    Like

    • LyfesLyfe
      January 10, 2012

      Kashif,

      I’ve been learning to clean up my acquaintances and friends lists. I can’t deal with this kind of mentality. It makes me cringe.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.
      Lia

      Like

  2. Like Kashif said above about ignorant people not knowing that they are being ignorant there in lies half the battle right? ugh! it is annoying and I so agree with you Lia. However, ignorance is bliss again as stated previously and unfortunately when we try to talk to someone who is, they dig in their heels deeper. Its best to leave that person in their ignorant bliss and hopefully through life experiences that person will come to realize the error in their judgment or way of thinking.

    I wanted to respond to your questions: What do you consider Polynesia? Polynesia to me is an identification or label for people who live in one part of the South Pacific Ocean. It is a white person who classified or broke down the South Pacific into 3 groups – Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Polynesian is many islands. That’s it. According to history class when I was in school, many islands represent the islands that are called Hawaiian islands, Samoan islands, Tongan islands, Tahitian islands, Cook Islands, and so forth. It forms a triangle from one point being Hawaii to another point being New Zealand.

    Are you familiar with the differences and similarities between Samoa, Hawaii and Tonga? Yes I am familiar with similarities and differences. Similarities are in our language, dress, and attitude towards family and society. Polynesian islanders are a collective group. I also enjoyed multicultural classes at BYUHI and I learned about the difference between societies that are individualistic versus collectivistic societies.
    Differences exist in some of the dances and what we focus on. Ex. Tahitians dance or tell a story with their hips. Samoans/Tongans/Hawaiians tell a story with their hands and swaying from side to side. Maoris tell a story with their facial expressions and chants. Similarities exist in the colors we use for clothing, ex…Red to represent blood, Green represent Growth = grass. Yellow represent Sun. Just a few examples to answer your questions.

    luv ya Lia! Keep your head up! Don’t let the negativity get you down. Keep on keeping on sis!

    xoxo,
    Cyn.

    Like

  3. Hulita
    January 9, 2012

    .It comes down to Ignorance…Ignorance comes from “fear”..fear that we do not measure up to what is expected of us. To embrace and love others, we truly must love ourselves first, yes it’s a cliche’, but it’s true.
    I believe that as much ignorance and hate exist…so does Love and Light to balance all things in the Universe! Keep up the positive thoughts…for negativity has no power over Love!

    H

    Like

  4. siithinks
    January 10, 2012

    Disturbing how ignorant some people can be. Yet who am I to speak because I find myself struggling with the same problems.

    I’ve thought about this before and, In my very humble opinion, I think it boils down to the fact that many Pacific Islanders, not just Polys, are losing their identity at large. We are all slowly falling into the individualism that is so rampant and forgetting the larger community identity. I also recently learned about the fallacy of such a word as Polynesian, yet I can’t bring myself to do away with it completely because of the sentimental properties. In a way, I think a lot of people identify with the “claim” of being Poly but don’t want to completely embrace it out of the fear that they will lose their precious individualism. It’s disturbing and it disturbs me a lot because I feel as if an identity crisis is at hand and many will not acknowledge it.

    Like

    • LyfesLyfe
      January 11, 2012

      Nephew,

      Yes! We’re a small community and race in it of itself. So when those of us have relationships outside of our own race, obviously our offspring are less or farther from our roots (genetically speaking). I am just disappointed that this person doesn’t realize that. I’ve given up trying to help the person acknowledge that.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Love,
      Auntie Lia

      Like

  5. jollysquadron
    January 27, 2012

    Polynesian love, I tell you. Its pretty scarring. Dont give people that use “im just saying” as a cover to be controversial a platform. Especially on your own space with your own energy. Its just not worth it.

    Like

  6. B. Side (@BSide801)
    February 19, 2012

    Growing up in the States I always thought Hawaiians were more Asian than anything. Obviously I was ignorant and didn’t have the knowledge I needed to know any better. Had the chance to attend a Poly leadership course in Hawaii and met some 100% Hawaiian elementary students. Their language almost sounded Tongan because of the use of so many T’s. I thought they were Samoan or Tongan by the way they looked. I learned so much in that one week about how Hawaiians were mistreated during the colonization of the island. As a proud Samoan, I am proud to say that Hawaiians are part of our Polynesian ancestry.

    Like

    • LyfesLyfe
      February 19, 2012

      I’ll have to look into that leadership course. It sounds educational and fun. Thanks for reading and commenting B.

      Lia

      Like

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