Racism is a hell of a drug especially when it's dished out onto your own. The sense of unworthiness that has subconsciously sifted through the psyche and embedded itself into your daily verbiage, where you find yourself referring to people as beings that are less than, reducing them to sub-human and unworthy of the dignity you deem fit to pull out from beneath them. You who dares to hide behind the white saviourism of your so-called enablers, who excuse your verbal diarrhoea as something that is a little tickle and fancy to their neo-colonialist worldview, where they can have a laugh because it's just a bit of banter … innit? The white saviours who can't see beyond their nose when they try to tell US, the ones who have been subject to the racist vitriol, what THEY have decided is racist, for us. How they sit in their little insulated white cocoons gaslighting us to the high heavens and expecting us to bend to the whims of their white fragility because one of their friends has been exposed to the world for the racist that he is.
Racism is a hell of drug.
Self-hate is a hell of a drug. The internalised twisted rot of confused identity that has taught you that the iTaukei part of you is undesirable and therefore anyone who fits the bill for you must be expected to wear the labels of monkey, slave hair and uneducated fools. So twisted are your ways of convincing the young ones that they need the validation from your self-imposed throne of importance, so they silently bear those insults with a grin, out of fear of being ostracised and relegated once again to looking within, from without. Tell us, is it the need to be aligned to the Polynesian because when the colonisers were raiding our shores and land, subjugating our people to mental slavery amongst other things, they ingrained into your ancestors that the Melanesian cousins were dirty and dumb, much like the words that slid out of your lips loosened by the white man's gin? They say a drunk mind speaks sober thoughts, so I ask, why is the apology centred on this one time where you finally got caught, when all those who have survived your venom are coming out and some as far as more than a decade ago?
Self-hate is a hell of a drug.
Gatekeeping is a hell of a drug. This one is for the enablers, you know who you are. You the ones who gatekeep the doorway for your poets and artists to revel in their talent. But you gatekeep for all the wrong reasons. You have internalised the methods of the colonisers where they got to choose who gets to be seen, heard and celebrated. You, who has turned a blind eye time and time again on the one we gnash our teeth at and forsake because of the hurt and anger that they have unleashed on us with their careless words. The one who dares to palm this off as just another news cycle that will die out because you have created the monster who has been made to believe, that without them, poetry and arts in our communities cannot breathe. We know who you are, we have whispered your names to each other and will now also gatekeep but in the way that you have failed to do so. We will take on the task of protecting those who come after us, nurturing them in the way you have failed, celebrating them in the way you have failed, calling them out so we can bring them in, in the way you have failed. We know who you are. And we are watching you because the next time you feel it might be safe to endorse the racist in your new projects, you can be sure that we will be there to remind you over and over again why you cannot get away with endorsing racists who pillage our heritage in order to validate their work. In the words of Lauryn Hill,
"Now tell me your philosophy
On exactly what an artist should be
Should they be someone with prosperity
And no concept of reality?"
Gatekeeping is a hell of a drug.
It's always sad when the true face of someone who we considered a friend is revealed to us. When the facade is ripped off like a band-aid hanging on its last legs on the half-healed scab. The agonising pain a reminder of your own fear to call out friends because in your heart of hearts you always knew that the undertones of racism was there, you just chose to delay confronting it because you thought you were strong enough to be the one being subjected to it. Not knowing that the path is littered with so many others who don't have the same support network that you have access to, that there are young creatives who have set aside their talent because they were subjected to the toxicity of mediocrity masked as mentoring wisdom. I hope the young ones who have had to survive this are able to heal and take up their god given talents once again and share it with the world. You are the ones who have been chosen by your awakened ancestors. The ancestors that you can communicate with in your mother tongue, the one who hears your prayers when your hands move over the hues of the ocean that you choose to colour the day with. The ones who guide you as you weave your thoughts intimately into the mats that will call us in, to sit and hear the magic you create, with the pearls that spill from your love swollen lips. The ones that remind you that those white saviours don't have to set the benchmark for us, because the benchmark has always been set. We who are born standing on the shoulders of giants don't need their cheap praise, because when racists dare to diminish us, we rise and move even higher.