In light of recent news, and the flurry of talks that followed, this non-scientific poll was made with the intention to measure public perceptions on the controversial question of, "Are Chuukese more violent than other Micronesians?"
[UPDATE] - The purpose of this poll is not to stir emotions, but to ask a difficult question to start the process of understanding and hopefully healing. Media outlets in Guam and/or Hawaii have seemingly fallen in love with negative news stories about Micronesians, mostly Chuukese. We’re bombarded with stories and images of homelessness, killings, rapes, and general violence and negativity. I am not saying these are not newsworthy. And I am not saying that these should not be covered. Indeed they should. But there is a bigger story for us COFA citizens.
Our collective stories as Micronesians struggling to find our place in a world that others have created for us. Our search for identity, purpose, and meaning is hardly told by major news outlets or any outlet for that matter. We are thus perceived as an invading horde. A parasite or a policy concern. Never a local, always a foreigner. Never a resident but a “legal non-migrant”. When will we become a part of the community instead of being segregated into Micro-communities?
There looks to be deep frustration and anger among our people. And many times we start to see dividing lines in the shape of comments such as, “Not all Micronesians, just the Chuukese…”, or “Those aren’t my people I’m from [insert other island]”. What have we allowed others to do to us? To COFA migrants specifically?
And for us Chuukese, when was it normal to think violence is the appropriate response? When did we begin to accept that we should not only respond with violence but with the finality of death? I was told that respect is one of the most important traits for our Chuukese culture. Is respect an outward expression only? Because we seem to not have any for ourselves. Most of the violence committed by Chuukese people is to other Chuukese people. Now why do allow this to continue?
Family is the most important thing to our Chuukese culture. We give our lives for our families and sometimes literally. But now in this globalizing world, this era of inter-connectivity, I think we need to reform our ideas of giving our lives to our family and our ideas of respect. Cultures must change organically and not forcibly to match the times we live in. Our polls and the discussions that follow, are attempts to begin that change. Reflection is step one.