Sunday, August 14, 2005

ESPN ta'lo

Just thought I'd share a letter I wrote to the editor of the PDN a few weeks back. I don't think they've printed it, so I thought I might as well share it here. Alot of the thoughts in this I've already made known on this blog or in Minagahet so if you're familiar with my whining it won't be that new. But nonetheless these problems are very real and very very invisible to just about everyone on Guam. The fact that these scandals are either horrifying or meaningless to most people shows how deeply colonization affects our understanding of what they take place and what they mean. We get horrified because these scandals question our Americaness or we don't care because they are just another reminder that we aren't American enough yet.

Anyways, here's the letter:

In all our lives there are regular moments where reality itself, in all its harshness appears before us and we are given two basic choices. We can either transform ourselves based on this revelation, or we can live in denial and “stay the course.”

In Guam, we call these encounters scandals, such as our most recent involving ESPN. While not wanting to contest the article as filth, I would like to remind everyone that these scandals happen all the time. But such is life in the colonies. Since we’re familiar yet different, we become the stuff of colonial fantasies: Island covered in snakes, employment deflowering virgins, and of course, natives who will marry the first sailor they come across.

When these movies, magazines, politicians, etc. constantly tell us that we are backwards, exotic or foreign, they are hinting at a reality few of us wish to confront, namely that we are not one with the colonizer, that we are not actually Americans.

One main reason why things rarely change on Guam is because instead of using moments like these to re-evaluate Guam’s political existence, we sink into denial and we use them to attempt to assert our so-called Americaness. We use them to try and overcome the colonial gulf that seems to forever separate us from being actual Americans. Whether it be an ESPN article, 9/11, or being left out of another Federal program, the response by everyone on Guam is always the same. Confronted with this division, people cry out, “We are Americans too!”

But if you scan the pages of the PDN following 9/11 you’ll see how even these claims unravel themselves. When people on Guam said, “Guam stands with America,” America responded by saying, “America thanks you,” always constantly referring to a division which all the flag-waving in the world could not overcome.

For those interested in Guam’s actual future, as opposed to just denying reality, it will all come down to what we do with moments such as these. So that the next time we are confronted with a scandal like this, which shrieks, “You are not Americans!” Instead of instinctively yelping, “Yes, we are!” We must yell back, “FINE!” and then use that moment to re-evaluate our relationship towards the United States and try to chart a future outside of this pathetic status of “Americans-in-waiting.”

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