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October 9, 2017 | by  | in One Ocean |
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One Ocean

Are all Pasifika people super, extra, religious? Well, a lot of non-Pasifika people who give out religious magazines and promote church events seem to think so. It’s come to be expected of us, as if we should be religious, as a part of being Pasifika.

For real, though. I’ve seen it here in Wellington, up in Auckland, and even in Brisbane, Australia. One time, my dad and I were at a bookshop and someone was giving out pamphlets. She asked us where we were from, and as soon as we said “Samoa” she was like, “Oh you don’t need one of these! You’re Christians. You people are so committed, it’s amazing. All your choirs and singing and music…” (girl, they’re the same freaking thing, ehka!).

She didn’t ask us. I feel like this colonial imposition of creeds, of ideals, of lifestyles, is still a predominant feature of (some) mainstream and non-mainstream interactions. Some, and not all. The thing is, it shouldn’t even be as much as “some” anymore. In a post-colonial world, some is A LOT!

I mean, dear person whose name I didn’t get, I can actually be brown and not be in the front pew every Sunday. And Pasifika people aren’t simply religious by default. To be religious is a choice. To not be religious is a choice. To have choice is a right. I want to sing in the choir and serve lunch at the pastor’s house after lotu because I choose to, not because some (outdated) colonial “go to church” standard expects me to.

One thing university has helped me stop saying is “should” — unless it’s in the context of “you should think for yourself.”

You really should.

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