A few months, a “blog war” broke out on this website. It was about some of the more extreme views of Samoan culture, namely Fa’lavelave. I have taken some time to really think about the issues and I realize I could have use alot more grace on such a hard subject to a nationality.
I should have known better. Growing up in the islands, I know island culture all too well.
I admit that in our culture, we have grace for “kano” (outsiders) and actually don’t expect them to agree with culture. We use this as a buffer (so to speak) to take hard looks at our culture and if it makes sense. (For example, we have a seven day long funeral and it is dumb as hell!)
However, we will just say that the Samoans are less than open to discussion concerning culture. Culture is not optional to them.
The issues are real. The poor just can’t afford all the cultural giving. Bingo (gambling) is not ingored, it is actually the churches that do it. There is little opportunity for the Samoan young person. All of this is true and needs to address. I was purposely blunt to get the point across as many Samoans seem to be pre-conditioned to believe, “There is no poverty in Samoa.” (which is a lie) I wanted to challenge what was really going on.
I did so at the expense of offending many, many people and looking back, I realize I over stepped some lines. I could have used alot more grace and the bad part is I was raised to do so. As the son of a pastor, I know I should use grace and use what my mom called “words that make people feel powerful.” I did not do that and I am sorry for my actions.
I realize I could of and should of mixed alot more grace in what I wrote.
People got offended, attacked me so I attacked back. Looking back, I was wrong.
There is many people that will not care what I said and I don’t expect this to go viral. (only bad news travels) I only hope that people will take the meat of my messages about the issue facing those who struggle and consider what I was trying to get across and forgive the lack of tact I used.
Most of the people I have met with about the “controversy” have walked away seeing I am not as “anti-Samoan” as it seems. I am more anti-poverty and anti-corruption. (My studies of Samoan customs and culture leads me to believe Fa’lavelave was not meant to be so militant. Historically, you gave what you had. If it was a Chicken, a pig, a fine mat, whatever. Today, if you gave a live chicken for the fa’lavelave; matais would be mad and tell you, “We don’t want a chicken, we want cash.”)
I have been in Samoa for three years and I think I got more of a education inside the psychology of the Samoan nationality than I have in the 2.5 years before. Alot of deep beliefs that I did not realize exist have come to the surface. Example is the negative views of white Americans. I did not realize just how distrusting the psychic of the Samoan was towards outside. To deal with the hate for that education is worth it. I want to understand the Samoan person. Mind and Soul.
Now, concerning some statements I made about women and marriage (Why I wouldn’t marry a Samoan). It is no sercet that inter-cultural marriages are hard. If when American Samoan (that have a more American than Samoan psychological view) struggle with being married to a Samoan who was born and raised in the mainland; a Samoan and a white person will struggle even more.
Truth be told, if I am going to ever get married (which is a question) then, it will probably be a Samoan. Facing the facts, if I live in American Samoa and travel to Samoa often. That’s means about 95% chance, if I do get married, my wife will be Samoan. Yet, the culture issues will be present.
I hope the people reading this accept the apology. Please comment and let’s start a discussion about the issues at hand.