Mormon depiction of Samoan culture called racist


Gina Colvin a New Zealand academic and a Mormon, has accused her church of racism.

A Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints “Discovery Centre” at in Utah, in the United States, allows visitors to learn about different cultures around the world.

However, Colvin says an exhibition which encourages people to superimpose their face on a Samoan warrior exploits a culture for amusement.

She says the depiction of a shirtless Samoan perpetuates “barbarian” and “savage” stereotypes for white people’s entertainment.

By comparison, other cultures were fully dressed, with European cultures displayed as “dapper” and “civilised”, she said.

“I was appalled,” said Colvin.

“The Pacific Islands, for Mormon people has always been a place of spectacle, all they want to know is the music and the dance and they empty us of any other kind of identity.”

She said Pacific Islanders were being exploited for the amusement of white Americans.

The exhibit also comes with commentary which states “traditionally, obesity is considered a status symbol in Samoa”.

Church spokeswoman Irene Caso said the church’s intention was one of education and its message was one of unity and love.

She said the response from both members and nonmembers had been “extremely positive”.

Colvin is a New Zealander of Māori, English, Irish, Welsh, German and French descent. She says she is a multi-generation life long Mormon.”

“I’m an outspoken and sometimes noisy critic of the LDS Church. But I also love the church; it still has my heart.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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