University Times

The Pacific, To Be Specific

Pacific+Islanders+in+cultural+attire.
Back to Article
Back to Article

The Pacific, To Be Specific

Pacific Islanders in cultural attire.

Pacific Islanders in cultural attire.

Pacific Islanders in cultural attire.

Pacific Islanders in cultural attire.

Betty Green

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Cal State LA is well known for its diverse community from around the world; but there still are some races that remain underrepresented, fading into the background.

For years, Pacific Islanders have been categorized as Asian Americans. According to the book, Racism, Sexism and the Media: Multicultural Issues Into the New Communications Age, Asian people were first recognized before the appearances of Pacific Islanders. Due to the much larger migration from Asian countries, comparatively smaller amount of unknown Pacific Island identities were ignored, thus creating the race subcategory, “Asian Pacific Islander”. With no cultural relation, the Pacific Islanders have been labeled as Asian Americans, including on many school campuses. This misrepresentation has created a feeling of invisibility among many Pacific Islander students on our campus. Often labeled as “brown” Asians, Polynesian students continue to feel neglected by their school.

“There aren’t enough Islanders in this school in order to have an aided organization,” claimed Mechanical Engineer Major, Lolo Fanguna. Fanguna emphasized the percentage of Pacific Islanders admitted being less than one percent. “People just don’t care. We come from such small islands, so of course they’d just categorize us with a majority group such as Asian Americans,” he said with a laugh.

A MAP OF THE PACIFIC ISLANDS-Polynesia, Melanesia, & Micronesia.

The campus does have an Asian Pacific Islander Resource Center, which was created in 1993. Its purpose is to serve students specifically of the Asian and Pacific Island background.

“I’ve heard of the Asian Pacific Islander Resource Center. I never went, but I heard it’s only Asians at that spot,” shared Business Major Josh Uili. “There’s nothing wrong with Asians, however people need to know that Pacific Islanders differ from them culturally. They are not Pacific Islanders, and we for sure are not Asian,” he stated matter of factly.

Social Justice Program Coordinator Minh Dao has been working for the Asian Pacific Island Resource Center on campus since January of last year. “It’s amazing working here; it aligns with my major and what I want to do with my career,” stated Dao. He continued, “I love creating a community with other students here.”

Dao also touched on the irony in the name of the Resource Center. “I know we’re called the Asian Pacific Islander Resource Center, but it’s very hard for me to reach out to PI’s. I don’t know how to reach out to them, or maybe they’re just not into it.” The coordinator explained how “inclusive” he believes the resource center to be, mentioning how it also includes South Asia, because there are so many Asian countries and “us Asians need to get along and learn about each other.”

All are invited to the Asian Pacific Islander Resource center, including students and faculty of all races. As for now, Pacific Island students will continue going about their academic journeys, with hopes that Cal State LA will one day give them a bigger platform and recognize their true identities.

 

Betty Green is from San Mateo in the Bay Area. She is majoring in broadcast journalism at Cal State LA, and aims to become a Television/Radio host & personality. Green is a Pacific Islander herself from the island of Tonga & believes that the knowledge of different countries & cultures is essential in understanding one another.

The story was written in JOUR 3500: Race, Class & Gender in American Journalism

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • The Nest

  • The Pacific, To Be Specific

    The Nest

    ANDROGYNY at the Center of the World

  • The Nest

    CSULA Officers to Receive Body Cameras

  • The Pacific, To Be Specific

    The Nest

    Nannies to the Rescue

  • The Pacific, To Be Specific

    The Nest

    NDAs: 101

  • The Nest

    At Howlin Ray’s

  • The Pacific, To Be Specific

    The Nest

    H&M wants all your clothes

  • The Nest

    The Veiling of the Villa

  • The Nest

    Helping People Help Themselves

  • The Nest

    The East L.A. Walkouts of 1968 Reenacted Today

Navigate Right
The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles