colorism

Papuan Lives (Also) Matter

Here is an article I wrote that was published on The Jakarta Post, on June 4th, 2020. It is about the recent tragedy regarding George Floyd, and the Black Lives Movement that grew stronger as a result.

Please look at these links if you are interested in learning more, signing petitions for the Black Lives Matter cause, or donating to organizations that work for this goal:

And here are some resources to learn, petition, or donate towards the Papuan Lives Matter movement:


There are often mean jokes made about Papuans. One day, someone told me, “You’re beautiful, like a Papuan!” and then laughed hysterically. What he implied was that Papuan people are not beautiful.

It is common for someone to equate beauty with having light skin and a pointed nose, like Europeans. What has shaped such a mindset? Was it the years of colonialism in our past? Has it been instilled in us that Caucasian features are superior because of the hundreds of years that they forced us to crane our heads up toward them, belittled and ashamed?

Sadly, this is a mindset ingrained into many people in Indonesia, perhaps even throughout Asia. Is it not true that saying to someone, “Oh, you’ve gotten whiter!” is a compliment in this country? And isn’t saying, “Oh, you’ve gotten darker!” offensive to us? The “well-intentioned” commenter of your darkening skin color would then recommend you some whitening products, or to stay out of the sun.

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