“My family comes from Tonga and Samoa, and we are proud Polynesians, however some of us use colourism and anti-immigrant comments towards each other- the ones we deem “illegal” and that is a sad reality”
Yes, unfortunately I have- not directed towards myself, however it has been directed at black persons, and persons of colour, mostly online and clearly visible on my newsfeed. Someone I knew from my high school days would make anti-person of colour comments as he, as a cis-gender white male felt that HIS country was being taken over. Needless to say he is not my friend anymore and I was beyond livid at his comments.
My family comes from Tonga and Samoa, and we are proud Polynesians, however some of us use colourism and anti-immigrant comments towards each other- the ones we deem “illegal” and that is a sad reality. Especially because we are so far removed from reality and recognizing that the same brown or black skin we hate on is the same brown and black skin that stands in solidarity with us, for us and to protect us.
My great-aunt was the first Tongan to come to Toronto, and she came alone. She came with a desire to make life here, and bring our family over when she was established. She came with no winter clothes, no one to help her navigate this city or even someone who spoke her native language. I can only imagine how she felt, how she went through school to become a nurse or even deal with what I am assuming was a very Euro-centric city that didn’t have places for women like her. She worked for us- me even- someone not born yet, so that we come to Canada and have the same opportunities. What I hope my beautiful aunt realizes, is that her hard work was not forgotten as a first-generation Canadian that I will see through her eyes how it was and want every newcomer or immigrant to feel that they belong. We all belong. And we will not be dismissed.
“Canada may be my home, or my current nationality, but it will never be my real home.”
Some of my family has chosen to assimilate and some (like myself) haven’t. I love Canada, however I do not love what Canada has done systematically to our Indigenous, Black persons and Persons of Colour, so for that reason I hold onto my Polynesian Ancestry. Canada may be my home, or my current nationality, but it will never be my real home. My home is my islands, where my culture is rich and my ancestors are celebrated. Canada will become more like home when those travelling from home can come here and celebrate without fear, their cultural identities.
– Rachel, 36
Tonga and Samoa