When you’re of mixed descent, where do you call home? Who do you call your people?
I am a mix of nations, of people, and of places but I was born and raised in Fiji. I never thought to write out my struggles with being a “half-caste” until recently. For years growing up I was literally classified “OTHERS” - during our Vernacular Class, I was refused from Fijian and Indian Classes and instead confined to a room with other kids of mixed blood and a severe lack of identity. For a long time I never felt worthy of being called a Fijian. I don’t look, sound, or speak Fijian. I don’t eat like a Fijian (which you’d be surprised is my most commonly pointed out trait!). My lack of identity was so bad I even rejected make-up or pretty clothes (which I adored growing up!) because I didn’t want to stick out even more than I already did!
“Quit telling a black kid with great intellect that they act white!” - 😭 Post from @2brownishgirls.
I used to get this a lot! The moment I’d wear lipstick, or couldn’t properly roll my “R’s” the way a Fijian can, or when I couldn’t get the island humor - I’d be mocked “White!”
First of all, I am white! My grandfather was full blooded Irish - a tall, white man with blue eyes.
He embraced the Fijian culture so well that if you closed your eyes and heard him speak, you'd think he were Fijian.
To label someone a “color” is incredibly ignorant. If you take away our skin color, we aren't that much different. Human beings are incredible beings. We all have our history - parts we are both ashamed and proud of. We all have our stories. We all have our dreams! Moving to Samoa was a breath of fresh air! I had a blank page that needed a new story! Soon, after much grace, forgiveness of my past, and loving community, I learned who I am.
Not defined by people or place, but by the truth of who God says I am. Learning that He sees us the same, loves us the same, and deeply values us the same helped me graciously let go
of my past and embrace the present.
I know there are blended kids out there who may have a similar experience and I pray this conversation can help you identify areas you may need forgiveness, grace, or healing.
Although culture is important, I have learned to cultivate my own story.
I get to choose what to make of my name, my skin color, and my blood.
I am Irish, Rotuman, Samoan, Scottish, Indian, English...and maybe even a few other bits.
I literally carry the genes of both the slave trader and the slave.
I may not be full blooded or speak the language of my island nations,
but I am a Pacific Islander through and through. Partly in blood, fully in Spirit.
Sincerely, Alexia Rae.