Living for Myself

Written by Paige Williams
NZ born of Samoan/NZ European descent

 

 
 
When I was a teenager, my step dad nicknamed me “jandals” as a reference to being a fob and would talk to me in a fobby accent...

A few months ago I made the leap – and deleted my family from my Facebook page.

Why? Probably not why you’d think. Sure they’d share embarrassing photos of me and write awkward comments on mine and my friends’ posts *cringe* but the number one culprit was their total ignorance and lack of self-awareness.

 

Sounds pretty harsh hey? Well let’s put it this way… I am of Samoan and NZ European descent. I grew up with a white mum, a white step dad, white grandparents, white uncles and aunties, a white brother... you get the picture. None of them had ever been followed around in a clothing store, none have been told that they speak well for an islander or looked pretty for an islander, and none have ever questioned ANYTHING outside of the box.

Yes, I am inherently white. But, growing up I was too white to hang out with the islanders, and too brown to hang out with my fellow whiteys (please note, I actually DID have amazing friends throughout school from both those sides, but nevertheless the above was a common pattern throughout my school years). My parents were/are also terrible racists… but of course they would deny it! When I was a teenager, my step dad nicknamed me “jandals” as a reference to being a fob and would talk to me in a fobby accent (you know the one where the white man tries to sound like an illiterate fuck – nothing like what we actually talk like). Every day they would both make fun of people (not just racists, but the whole package) for anything and everything. It was a toxic environment and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

On another note – my family of WYPIPO also have no idea how to think for themselves. Anything remotely outside of their belief system is mocked. Black lives matter? Not a chance in hell to them. White privilege? NO SUCH THING! I’ve called them out many times about comments they’ve made regarding why a white man escaped conviction and a coloured man does not, but the message never sinks in. They refuse to believe that they are living, breathing proof that white privilege exists and they would rather poke their eyes out than admit it. I read a quote once that said when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression. This is absolutely true and without a doubt is how my perfect family feel about the topic – poor oppressed people with their million dollar farms, holiday homes and multiple vehicles (uggggh).

Moral of the story is - the older you get, the more you realise it’s okay to live a life others don’t understand. I’m happy being “awake and enlightened” and have no room for that kind of negativity or toxicity in my life, and my kids won’t be experiencing it either!