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OPINION | Identity politics on Guam will hit a wall

HAGÅTÑA — Recently, I saw a screenshot of an internet post a young woman made about Guam.

Not to go into too much detail, but this young woman expressed that she wanted to leave and couldn’t stand it here. She also said the people here are ugly. Not much of this type of talk is new to me; I hear it in all the languages I speak and comprehend. It is not Guam-specific. Racial tension is everywhere.

Ron McNinch

The online response to this ranting was expected internet trolling. It largely mirrored the same ill views of the original writer. Dr. Martin Luther King once commented on this kind of exchange. He famously said, “That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

There is an interesting and noteworthy dynamic going on right now on Guam. On the one hand, there are those who are promoting identity politics on a number of issues. This is an extremely small group by proportion to the rest of the voting population and at some point elected leaders will be stranded by the alignments they make. On the other hand, there is an effort to promote the rights of the underserved from a civil rights standpoint. Those promoting identity politics on Guam are going to hit a very hard wall of reality in the near voting future.

A few years ago, some of my students at the University of Guam were told that they were not welcome to go on nature hikes because they are Filipino. These kinds of views are very unhealthy. We know from basic demographic data that Guam’s reported interracial marriage rate is in the 40 percent rate or higher. The U.S. rate overall is under 10 percent with a recent yearly increase somewhere in the mid-15 percent. When I study this point, I am mindful that race and ethnicity are self-reported. A person is whatever race they claim to be under the guidelines. To overcome this methodological obstacle, I survey interracial relationship levels by asking a person to report the race or ethnicity of their four grandparents. Under this standard, the interracial/interethnic rate for Guam is more than 70 percent. On Guam, 70 percent of us have at least one grandparent of another race or ethnicity. We have an extremely diverse community here on Guam and this is why identity politics does not work. Everyone seems to have CHamoru, Filipino, U.S. mainland, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Micronesian or other aunt or uncle. Love is overcoming racial hatred on Guam.

Even more, there is a large amount of interracial dating on Guam and this is all else equal is considered normal. It also leads to better tolerance and understanding. I was at the carnival casino last week and two of the wonderful female dealers there were talking in Chinese about dating. One told the other that U.S. guys are nice, but they get fat after they get married. The other one said that all men get fat after they get married. I didn’t say anything.