Young MaristsComment

Young MaristsComment
      Growing up as a Pacific Island male, the concept of masculinity was fueled by the misconceptions of us brown boys being “big, hard and strong - the “Man of the House”. Maybe it was the strong representation of Pacific Islanders in the All Blacks. Maybe it was the idea that brown boys only go to school for Poly Club, Lunchtime and Rugby. You see, it lies in the perception that all brown boys are tough; our natural build often leads to wider society thinking “tough” is in our blood. So much so, this word “tough” also carries the unfortunate connotation that because of my skin color, since I’m tough, I must be violent.  “It’s always the brown boys getting into fights”.   “It’s always the brown boys getting kicked out of school”.   “It’s always the brown boys starting trouble”.  There was an article published last week about Joseph Parker and the miscommunication mishap with Whanganui High School. Although the school was in the wrong, one comment read, “Giving a presentation about his boxing to Pacific students - they’ll grow up to be locked up anyway with the number of fights they’ve already had haha”. It’s not so much the comment that gets me. It is more so the lack of shame he had in posting that via social media - almost to the point where it carried a sense of normalisation. Now, I say 'almost' simply because the only backlash that comment received came from none other than other Pacific Islanders. If it were not for those brown people, I assure you it would have been just another statement made by an uneducated and miserable citizen of this proud nation. I’m not here to ramble on about keyboard warriors but this is to give you an insight into how our society has this misconception toward Pacific people, especially males.  Yes - we may be on the higher end of incarceration numbers. However, that does not paint a picture of all the hard working men out there trying to make a decent living through three or four low-paying jobs, next to no qualifications, with very limited English, and in territory unfamiliar to the villages they’ve left behind in order to create the lifestyle we have in our hands today.  We may be brown, but we are proud.   We may be brown, but we are considerate.   We may be brown, but we are not violent.   Don’t let the skin color fool you - I’m educated too (and no, not as a PE teacher).

Growing up as a Pacific Island male, the concept of masculinity was fueled by the misconceptions of us brown boys being “big, hard and strong - the “Man of the House”. Maybe it was the strong representation of Pacific Islanders in the All Blacks. Maybe it was the idea that brown boys only go to school for Poly Club, Lunchtime and Rugby. You see, it lies in the perception that all brown boys are tough; our natural build often leads to wider society thinking “tough” is in our blood. So much so, this word “tough” also carries the unfortunate connotation that because of my skin color, since I’m tough, I must be violent.

“It’s always the brown boys getting into fights”. 

“It’s always the brown boys getting kicked out of school”. 

“It’s always the brown boys starting trouble”.

There was an article published last week about Joseph Parker and the miscommunication mishap with Whanganui High School. Although the school was in the wrong, one comment read, “Giving a presentation about his boxing to Pacific students - they’ll grow up to be locked up anyway with the number of fights they’ve already had haha”. It’s not so much the comment that gets me. It is more so the lack of shame he had in posting that via social media - almost to the point where it carried a sense of normalisation. Now, I say 'almost' simply because the only backlash that comment received came from none other than other Pacific Islanders. If it were not for those brown people, I assure you it would have been just another statement made by an uneducated and miserable citizen of this proud nation. I’m not here to ramble on about keyboard warriors but this is to give you an insight into how our society has this misconception toward Pacific people, especially males.

Yes - we may be on the higher end of incarceration numbers. However, that does not paint a picture of all the hard working men out there trying to make a decent living through three or four low-paying jobs, next to no qualifications, with very limited English, and in territory unfamiliar to the villages they’ve left behind in order to create the lifestyle we have in our hands today.

We may be brown, but we are proud. 

We may be brown, but we are considerate. 

We may be brown, but we are not violent. 

Don’t let the skin color fool you - I’m educated too (and no, not as a PE teacher).