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Afakasi

I am a 20 year old College student who is Afakasi (Half Samoan/Half White) and for a long time struggled with my ethnicity. I checked Pacific Islander on all things that asked my race and when people asked what I was, I answered Samoan. My nose, my tan skin, my long thick hair all pointed to my Polynesian roots. Lastly, my Last name, which I'm proud of, screamed Samoan. But, something never quite clicked because I felt rejected by both sides of my family. On my mother's side, my siblings and I were the tan kids with our blonde cousins and our FOB father. My father's side, we were always introduced as "This is my brother's kids, yeah, Afakasi--mother is palagi" and for the first 12 years of my life I thought it was a negative thing. I dreaded going to any family function on either side, even though my Samoan family always excepted us and we felt more comfortable with them. But, I was always proud of my Samoan roots, and realized I was ashamed of being Afakasi. Ashamed of not being pure bread. However, as I get older, I find myself proud of my heritage. To my white counterparts, I say I'm Samoan. To my Polynesian counterparts, I'm Afakasi. And I'm content with myself. We're not a traditional Samoan family nor are we a Traditional Cacausian family. My father didn't rule us with an iron fist, he spoiled us--he was loving, giving, told us stories like Sina and the Eel and of growing up in American Samoa. My mother learned to cook Corned Beef/Sapa Suey and how to cook Taro. So, even though at times I feel like I'm not "Samoan" enough for my Samoan family and friends, I realize that I'll never escape my blood and nothing will ever make me feel inadequate within my Culture. I'm Samoan..and I'm really proud of that!

Lea87 Lea87 18-21, F 21 Responses May 25, 2008

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Good for you. I fully understand your experience often being told I am not black enough.

Hi,i want u 2 tel me ur name & i tel u my #

my name is ray,what's urs

It's Lea87, I cannot remember my login information, as I signed up for this over 5 years ago and wrote this piece on a whim to vent my feelings about my ethnicity after a visit with Samoan family I had not seen in awhile.

I never got a chance to read all of the comments until now after suddenly remembering it. All of your stories were amazing to read and even now as a 25 year old woman who is finally starting to find her place in this world, I still relate to you all as I did back in 2008.

I still feel at times I struggle with my identity, but I understand more now as I'm older. Growing up, you simply want to belong and that is what I was striving for. It wasn't until recently when I discovered I always did belong..I was just still growing. My father deliberately decided not to raise his children the fa'a Samoa way and finally discussed why and I found most of his points valid. He still did everything he could to raise us knowing our culture and it's the legacy he will leave behind to his family. And trust me, I am thankful.

At 25, I can now say me being afakasi is the gift I was given and it is my own special uniqueness. It was great reading everyone's comments and I hope the younger ones out there read my story and find some peace with their own uniqueness..we are what we are, and there will always be someone who will love you for you!

Stay strong!

Lea

I am white and American Indian yet if I say I'm Indian people question it.all my siblings are dark haired I'm the only light haired child.It made me feel left out. Now I just embrace who I am no matter what,It's my heritage.and I am proud of it.

Wow! I am also 20 with eastern European mother and Hawaiian/Samoan father. I've never met him before as he still doesn't know he's my dad but that's a different story.

I look completely Polynesian though and am trying to meet other islanders and get in touch with my roots. Unfortunately I haven't found any yet in the Chicago area

Great story Lea! I am also a 20 yr. old college student & I appreciate that you have posted this. It feels great to learn of your feelings towards the fact that you're "afakasi". Being afakasi is a beautiful thing; you are the best of both worlds; you are rich and rare. When I was young, people always questioned me and my siblings as to whether we were palagis; 1 reason was because my oldest brother didn't speak fluent samoan and because he looked mexican, 2nd reason was because all of us had fair light skin. Funny thing is that, my oldest brother mexican-looking and white doesn't speak samoan fluently but english very well, me and my sister speak both fluent samoan and english, but my younger brother and sister speak little english (still learning) but samoan very well. There are no words or explanations to explain this, but there are many theories. One theory is that my great great grandfather (Dad's side) who was from Apia, Samoa might've been a German man living there and therefore one mixture. Another theory would be my grandmother(Mom's side) who was a beautiful light-skinned woman who was believed to be just a palagi baby who's father had left her here & therefore was cared for by a Samoan family who had adopted her. My grandmother grew up to be a very-well spoken samoan maiden married to a chief. She knew everything about the culture, EVERYTHING! but no one has really asked her if any of it was true. All that mattered was that she was LOVED & I guess that's what really matters Lea. If people are embraced with love, care, support and aiga, nothing can ever go wrong, therefore it's beautiful that you're afakasi. As for us, when people ask us, we will always say we're Samoan despite the many questions, but I guess we'll never know for sure if we're all apart of another world, just glad to be apart of this ONE :)

<p>How right you are. My wife is a beautiful Samoan lady and we have three wonderful children. I am English by birth and we have known each other from the time we were both twelve (school together in Australia). My kids are very proud of their Samoan heritage as well their English. My oldest girl has just spent time in the islands and is now really looking forward to going to England as well as she has a strong desire to look around over there. We have many Samoan, Afakasi and Palagi friends as well as many others from all over the globe and we all love getting together for bbq's or island nights whatever the case may be. None of us and I know this is easy to say but harder for many to put into practice should ever feel elevated or inferior because of race. Be proud to be a wonderful human being after all we are all created equal in the big fella's eyes, and lets enjoy each others company and the wonderful things God has created for us to enjoy. ( Revelation 4:11)</p>

LOVE THIS.

Really cool story :-) Im not afikasi anything, just white, but my baby in my tum is half samoan, his dad too walked out half way through my pregnancy, but we still get along and he will be involved as much as he can. Im hoping this baby will be accepted by his family as no doubt he will look more like them than like me and my other 2 sons, and I dont want him growing up feeling like the outcast of the family because he looks different. So far the fathers family have been very supportive of my pregnancy, and dont seem at all fussed with me being a palagi, in fact they seem quite excited as this is the first grandchild/nephew/cousin that is half palagi, they are just as curious as I am to see how fair/dark he will be, and eye colour, as I have blue eyes.
I guess, I just want him to know his culture and roots because he will more than likely identify with his samoan side more than his palagi side.

i think to be a afakasi is a wonderful think as im full blood fijian indian and i so wished to be a halfcast because to be a halfcast you get the best of both genes and its considerd as exortic because i know how my australian or otherwords my palagi frnds admire my tan skin. so to all the afakasis out there therz no nid to be ashamed because purebreeds like me wishes to have halfcast blood.

Reading all these posts make me sad as I am Australian and have a 15 month old son who's dad is Samoan but left when I fell pregnant. So my son is brought up as an Aussie but he has alot of Samoan features and is dark so oneday when he is old enough I don't want him to look in the mirror oneday and feel the same way you do. I would love him to be involved in some samoan culture but have no contact with his Samoan family I don't think they even know he exits.

well you need to talk to his samoan family and tell them that they have a grandchild and that he needs his family for the childs sake. dont keep him a secret from them.

Great ! Well done everyone i go by the name afakasi. I am maaori and samoan. A teacher and have a clothing company called halfkast clothing. ...dedicated to promoting cultural diversity and celebrating our differences.<br />
check me out on face book. Dean umu. Best of both worlds. Can relate to all the stories....lol now im learning korean and filipino.... make the most of life people lets keep connected. God bless

I am actually married to a Samoan man, and these stories are very amazing to me! I am white of all mixtues- Polish/Jewish/Native American/German... and my husband is Samoan from American Samoa. He can speak full Samoan and knows his culture very well. He actually moved to Seattle when he was 19 to be in the Army to better his life. After being in university in Hawaii, and him being stationed there we met and fell in love! He has never had a problem with me being white, and actually loves that I would love someone of another race. I think it is a beautiful thing. Honestly, his family treats me with welcome arms like I am their own! It makes me feel very well!! I think Samoan/white babies are just beautiful, and I can't wait to see what my baby boy will look like. I don't think anyone should be ashamed of what they are, nor should they be ashamed to tell people what they are!

omg im afakasi too and like everytime i go to my samoan family they always make fun of me for being palogi.i used to be ashamed of it but now when they say that i jus except it cuz its who i am so i shouldnt be ashamed

gosh im part samoan and part tongan and the rest is mixed..many blood lol..but i grew up in samoa and call my self a samoan everywhere i go..your story was great.

wow great stories ..:)

Talofa everyone.. My father is American (white) and my mother is quarter Samoan, her mother hailed from the village of Apia Samoa from the Fretton family and her dad hailed from the beautiful Toronto Canada. That makes me a pure Samoan girl. I grew up in Southern California and I was known to many as the exotic looking white girl. I never paid attention to my background until one day I went to Hawaii to attend my mother's cousin's funeral. Her funeral was traditional Samoan and I was completely blown away on how beautiful our Samoan culture is and I was amazed at how much love our people has for each other. I started asking my cousins in Hawaii about the culture but unfortunately none of them understood anything because them too did not have the opportunity to learn, however, they were far ahead of me as far as knowledge of where our ancestors came from and the basics about our culture. To satisfied my ccuriosiity I started talking with my mother's late uncle and asked him a lot of questions. He felt sorry for me because there is noone at home to teach me or my brothers and sisters anything about our Samoan culture and heritage. My mother did not learn to speak Samoan and that contribute to the problem. I invested my whole two weeks in hawaii indulging myself to deep conversation with my late uncle and he taught me so much about the history of Samoa and my family. I realized how important it is to know my culture and speak the language. Therefore, I came home to California from the funeral and told my parents I am leaving to Samoa for 3 months. I spend almost a year in Samoa and loved it very much. I taught English in few high school and also helped out with local villages on different projects. I now understand my language and am able to speak it. It doesnt matter my palagi looks because I am a proud Samoan girl.<br />
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O outou Afakasi po'o fasi kasi palagi.. Aua ne'i outou mama pe fefe e ta'u outou o Samoa.. E ui iga paepae lou kigo ma lagu moanga ou maka light blonde hair but my heart is pure Samoan. I lau graduation from UCLA I wore my puletasi and everyone was shocked when I told them that I am Samoan. Some of them diid not know where it was but now they know that Samoa lies pecefully in the heart of the pacific. I think the most important thing to us who are born and raised outside of Samoa is to understand what it is to be proud of being Samoan!!! We educate ourselves to the highest level we can represent our Samoa when we are successful. Aua le galo e fesoasoangi our people.. Ua iloa...fa laia<br />
<br />
Helen Patterson<br />
Malibu<br />
California

Malo Lea,<br />
I'm also afakasi, half-FOB from Mum, half-palagi from Dad's side and I can definitely relate with alot of your feelings. In my case it was somewhat harder. I was brought up by my maternal grandmother, so I was brought up speaking, thinking and acting like a Polynesian. However, while kinda tanned and with dark hair, I don't have very strong Poly features and I have a palagi first and last name. To make matters worse my mother, despite marrying one, was very dismissive of Australian ways. For the longest time I struggled to create an identity - I wanted to be an Islander but no-one would really recognise me as such. I think you're right "afakasi" - Islanders tend to be really protective of their identity and have such strong confidence in the fa'a samoa that they can be pretty offensive if you don't fit the traditional mould. As we grow up we eventually find places and ways of belonging. I now live in a largely Palagi place, with a small Islander community. So the palagi's recognise me as being same but different, and Islanders also recognise me as part of the community, especially because most of the kids here are half-caste and I teach them language and culture.<br />
<br />
I used to be embarrassed about being a half caste, but now I proudly embrace my identity as "one and a half caste". Its not that we're lacking the fullness of our Polynesian or other heritages, but that we are enriched, more open-minded and value our roots more for having two distinct sets of experiences. PART POWER!

samoans are racist against anything outside of 100% pure samoans, thats why anyone mixed with samoan feels judged!

well i cant relate because i am not afakasi but i must say that afakasi girls are hecka beautiful......girl you know how i be hella jealous of my cousins that are mixed and they be lookin hella cute and im lookin like dang maybe i should lie about being half something but then i cant cause have you seen me???? lmao!! too much!! no matter what i think anything mixed with samoan is really beautiful!! maii kids are half samoan and i think they are beautiful kids........and thats not a braggin mother.....thats the truth........ia po loa male nuku!!! lmao!! well you stay beautiful and if they cant except i will you......you are trully a samoan sis to me!!!<br />
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okay luff to you and the aiga<br />
<br />
Lia in the 808........falaia pye pye amuia lava oe.......

hey sis...wow i can TOTALLY relate! My mum is samoan and/but my dad is fijian-indian and for it me it was a bit like that! I look indian fijian but im WAYYY more samoan aye! And yeah they'd ALWAYS ALWAYS always ask my mum when i went with her to family gatherings whether i was indian LOL i was named "the indian" and THATS what made me wanna stay away from the fam coz i was ashamed my self of being afakasi!<br />
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I always thought i was a mistake to BE afakasi but as ive grown ive learnt to be PROUD of who i am and maybe even allow a LITTLE priide lol coz GOd inteneded you to be the way you are! <br />
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Look forward to hearing from you! Just love meeting afakasi sisters!! =]<br />
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takea, manuia lava oe..xxxxxx<br />
<br />
Rish.