Dear White Consultant by ‘Amelia Kami

Dear White Consultant,
You are not of the Pacific islands.
You are entranced by our grace,
in awe of our strength
but
so quick to judge our mistakes,
so quick to share your thoughts
on how to fix us,
how to better us
as if your ancestors had not tried before.
Dear White Consultant,
You are not of the Pacific islands.
You are a descendant of the colonizers
using your textbook knowledge
to disguise your true motives,
to fulfill your visions
on how we should act,
how we should talk,
how we should be.
Dear White Consultant,
You are not of the Pacific islands.
You are
the remains of an ideology
that everything you say
is true,
everything you say
is final.
Dear White Consultant,
You are not of the Pacific islands.
You have never scraped a coconut
picked from the tallest tree by your cousin,
you have never scaled a fish
fresh from your grandfathers Saturday catch,
you have never collected rocks
for Sunday ‘umu with extended family,
you have never felt your grandmothers hand across your head
because you were talking too much in church.
Dear White Consultant,
You are not of the Pacific islands
and yet
you are so eager to teach us
about us,
our lives,
our culture,
our home,
our history,
from a textbook;
pages written by the hand of a white man.
Dear White Consultant,
You are not of the Pacific islands.
You are allowed to admire,
you are allowed to experience,
you are allowed to appreciate
but
we will not
allow you to appropriate,
to denigrate,
to dominate.
Dear White Consultant,
Your time has passed.
We will write our own history from here.
Your consultation is required in your own land.

This poem was inspired by several encounters I’ve had with “white consultants”. It’s to refer to people that aren’t a part of a certain culture or ethnicity yet they still feel the need to validate their perspectives on the lifestyle and culture. Yes, we make mistakes but they are our mistakes to make. This poem is a challenge against the epistemic violence that is masked by the excessive aid from overseas countries. Don’t get me wrong, we are grateful and appreciative but our own new history can’t be written if the overseas countries are still playing the lead parts. I just hope for a time where Pacific islanders can learn about themselves in a way that won’t be tainted by the opinions of a white man.

Mia Kami 

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74 thoughts on “Dear White Consultant by ‘Amelia Kami

  1. They opportunist! Trying to improve their CVs for other opportunities. Using their country’s aid to further theirs and their country’s deliberately obscured hegemonistic ulterior motives to undermine and dominate the unsuspecting receptions.

    That is the aim of all aid donors.

    Like

  2. To me the “white consultants” does not limit only to “white people” as alot of you who are commenting being hurt that this poem was directed at you, no, in my understanding white consultant means foreigner consultant, someone who comes to our small islands and tries to impose on us views outside our cultures or not culturally appropriate like the way we dress, or the respects due to our elders and to our parents. I just want to say this :
    Those of you who are proud of helping us out Pasifika people thank you for your help, we love all foreigners, for those of you who have lived in the Pacific throughout your lives, thank you as well for trying and very well accomplishing the deep respects for our culture, you are not white you are a Pacific Islander. For those of you who says that we would be deeply hurt if someone wrote dear pasefika consultants and stating out our ignorance as a Pacific Islander please search it on google alot of “Pacific Islanders” have written about some forms of ignorance in our culture in either poems, story or novel form. There’s alot! And we are aware of them all.
    Yet this individual shared her views in what the foreigners have done to our Pacific Islands, a view from what the younger generation sees and what we hear from our ancestors, the views of foreigners being introduced to our islands causing many ripples of change that its almost too late to return us back to our old respective ways culturally. I dont know maybe my view is way off from what the poet was trying to portray. I only know this, her words ring with truth that some of us are not able to accept. Thank you Mia.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love it soooooo much and thank you Amelia Kami…..There is a great need to deconstruct White Supremacy and again not being racist but Pacific Island people should narrative our own stories because we leave the realities of how things should look like for us. #WeGotThis

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love it ❤ This is perfect and exactly what happens. The Colonial Hangover is still very strong here in the Pacific ❤ The sad part is the Older generation who hold the power here in the Pacific are colonial Babies and will NOT rock the boat because they have been taught that White is Better and Smarter. Till our own people start to listen to people like us, we will remain under the thumbs of the White Consultant. ❤ Great Stuff..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fully 100% support this poem. It’s sent ripples – no waves – through social media and the aid community already and is blasting through ideology and piercing consciences as we speak. People with open hearts of any background will understand, others will not and there will be so much resistance. And fear. But for the strong – we need to understand the aid system, what money goes where, how it relates to national governments and democracy and the international order, and for Pacific Islanders to make their own choices as free people to accept only what is helpful to them. What a truthful and courageous poem which will change the world. Well done well done well done!! Support and love from the UK

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As a privileged white man who escaped the rat race in my own society, I completely sympathize with you. I would love to see more resistance towards development, less cell phones, less Coca Cola… Your words are strong but true. I’ve always believed the internet is truly the world democratizer. I hope you keep using it, share your feelings, your thoughts, your beliefs! (Some of us) are listening.

    Thank you for the hospitality, the friendliness. the generosity, the stories.

    Like

  7. Kudos Mia. I have had same experience in a prominent organisation known for its humanitarian assistance. However, locals are never appreciated nor allowed to voice opinions. If we do, which was rare…. our response was we will discuss and get back to you. Such was the response locals get. The interesting part, is, a local could do the same job but it’s more sophisticated that when a white consultant holds the post.

    On point!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. For those who are offended by the poem and its apparent lack of gratitude, I think this speaks volumes of your own privilege and your lack of recognition of the challenges that we as Pacific islanders face.

    I have worked with many consultants of various colour and yes there are some who I have encountered that are amazing and respect our people and their traditions and have adapted their style to one that facilitates and empowers our people to recognise and identify their own solutions. To these people I applaud and thank. It is also funny to note that these people are not at all offended by the poem and applaud and agree with it, share it more widely even!

    But as I write this I realise, here I sit, an educated Pacific Islander (who acknowledges that I too have a lot to learn from my people) defending one of my own, to those who I assume are foreigners to not discount our experiences and our challenges “so quick to share your thoughts on how to fix us, how to better us”.

    Do you not see the irony in this?

    To Mia- I thank you for your courage for sharing so openly your experience, one that I myself share in but have never had the courage to share so openly.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well observed , the issue is that People who dedicate their acedemic careers to making observations on our People don’t get that they are inherently condescending and myopic to have the need to be in that field in the first place. Stupids

    Liked by 1 person

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