What is going on my wonderful people?! Hope you all had a great weekend as we continue this week on The Micronesian.
Across the region
Looking at the news stories across Micronesia this past week, one thing has become very evident. First let me share these stories with you and then we’ll discuss.
Over in Guam, a new term has been coined to describe Micronesians, rock-throwing islanders is the latest and not so greatest of them. This is from KUAM news.
Now let’s go over to the Guam Daily Post where an editorial spread claims Alcohol-induced crimes against Guam as a community are never OK, and I agree. Alcohol-induced crimes against any community is never OK, almost everyone will agree with this.
So, it was KUAM on the TV, Guam Daily Post on print and even a podcast on the airwaves with some former Guam Chiefs of Police ( this was earlier, but I thought I’d include it).
So, what’s going on?
Before I continue, let me make one thing clear. There are more stories like the ones I’ve shared above. In fact, moving forward, I think I will keep a record of all stories that show the one thing that is very evident for me.
That one thing I speak of is, that it seems the only news worth publishing in Guam about Micronesians are negative ones. This has become almost the daily norm.
Why does the media in Guam focus on the negative aspects of what they, the media, call a minority of Micronesians. Consider the recent editorial spread on the Guam daily post:
While we recognize that many immigrants from Chuuk and other parts of the FSM are hardworking and law-abiding residents of Guam, and are primarily focused on supporting their families with some of the tough jobs not many people want to keep for long, there are pockets of male immigrants from Chuuk who do pop up in criminal cases and police blotters for crimes associated with drinking.
Excuse me, it’s “pockets” now. It’s not just pockets of Micronesians. It’s pockets of male immigrants from Chuuk. That’s pretty specific. Hold on, are the “rock-throwing islanders” and “pockets of male immigrants from Chuuk” one in the same??
Perspective is paramount
So much of the stories about Micronesians coming out of Guam are negative. Now we know, thanks to the media, that those stories only represent a fraction of the total Micronesian population. This has always been noted and I thank them. We challenge the Guam media to change their perspective on Micronesians. They’ve already taken that small step to note that “many” of us are “hard-working and law-abiding”. Let’s go further.
First off, please remember that there are three sovereign countries in Micronesia, five if you count Kiribati and Nauru. We are not your outer islands. I’ve heard that so many times. It’s just a common perspective for many people in Guam including the media to dismiss us as just “outer islands”. Let me give an example, from a story that has nothing to do with pockets of male immigrants or rock-throwing islanders:
United Airlines Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz made his first Guam visit this weekend as part of efforts to recognize the airline’s employees from Guam and the outer islands of Micronesia as the airline celebrates its half-century of presence in the region, including through its shared past with predecessor airlines. Click for full story.
See how easy it was for the writer to just dismiss us? We are in fact the sovereign countries of the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
If the media is already noting that not all Micronesians are troublemakers in Guam, then how easy would it be to identify our countries as actual countries? It would be too easy. Will it help? It won’t hurt I can tell you that.
Second, please show more positive stories of Micronesians.
Third, go and talk to a Micronesian. I can almost guarantee none of those who write or speak about these stories calls any Micronesian a friend. I hope I’m wrong.
For the most part, the media is a great tool to increase awareness and inform the public.
I truly believe that what is happening here is what has happened to all immigrants. Thing is, our situation is unique. How unique? One, we are from the same region. Let me remind the media that Guam is in Micronesia. Also, how many immigrant groups come with funds to minimize their impact? Guam received $14.9 million for 2018. If that’s not unique, then please tell me.
So, please remember. We are your neighbors. We are from sovereign nations, not territories or colonies.
Most of all, we are people. Not pockets or rock-throwing islanders. WE ARE HUMANS, like you.
See you on my next blog or Podcast.
Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels