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October 18, 2005

Pissed off Hawaiian... What a surprise

Every so often there is a Letter to the Editor in the Honolulu Advertiser from a Hawaiian that is pissed off about: 1)How the white man stole their ancestral lands, 2)The Akaka Bill not getting passed (again), 3)How "stupid" mainlanders should accept Hawaiians and their way of life instead of complaining.

I have lived here for 12 years and really got into the Hawaiian culture, folk lore, and customs. I treat them, and everyone I meet for that matter, with respect until they do something to piss me off. It is letter like this LEAVE WESTERN ATTITUDE BEHIND WHEN IN ISLANDS that I usually just skim over and dismiss as "just another pissed off Hawaiian crying about something that is never going to change" and go on about my business, but since I haven't bitched about this topic in a while I decided to talk about it on this blog.

I will not get into the debate on Hawaiian sovereignty because there are plenty of opponent and proponents who live their lives for their cause and I will not waste my time with this dead horse. Instead, here is a fair and unbiased overview of the situation from Wikipedia- Sovereingnty.

I will not deconstruct this letter but, instead, point out a few key sentences that drew my attention. In the first paragraph the guns are blazing as preface to the discovery of Hawaii by whites is placed in quotations, a common tool of desperate people who try to use the quotation marks as method of demarginalizing or neutralizing a word. Nice try, but those of us with more than a 7th grade education, and know the futility of semantics, also know that it was Cook who "discovered" the Hawaiian islands as the first non-Hawaiian. It's like how Columbus discovered America even though there were Natives all over the place. These people, and all the other explorers throughout history, weren't the first to arrive in the lands but they were the first technologically advanced explorers to arrive and share the location with the rest of the world. Whatever, this is the least of the problem with this letter.

Without any foreshadowing, but with little surprise, the alleged illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy is always questioned in these types of letters. It doesn't matter how many times the claims are refuted Lengthy but good) the same stale argument always floats to the surface of the printed page like a turd in a swimming pool.

I especially like her smokescreen logic about racism and the use of the Hawaiian word "ha'oule". The word means 'foreigner' but it is used by some locals in a derogatory sense much like the words honkey, cracker, nigger, spick, chink, or whop. Her statement:

Like any term that denotes race, it is not the use of the word that makes it racist; it is how you use it. Don't tell us what words to use.

I just have to shake my head at the stupidity of this argument and would like to encourage any young readers who happen upon this blog to disregard this prattle as ignorant and the type of reasoning that ensures race is the first and only issue by people who believe it. It is this attitude that should be hung up and flushed from our society.

Here is another gem from the letter:

For those who perpetuate such colonialist rantings, take your intergenerational ignorance and get over it.

Who? Who perpetuates this attitude? Most Peale that live here just want to do their thing. People that visit here don't give a shit about colonialism. It sounds like she has read the agenda of OHA and has the handy-dandy pamphlet with her with all the catch phrases and buzzwords like so many organizations in the minority who beg for attention to their soporific causes. Come on, "get over it"? What is this, high school?

The letter closes with some outdated nautical references to boats, I assume as a pun to Cook's landing? Regardless, I think we should give them some kind of compensation- I guess Clinton's apology in 1994 wasn't enough. After the United States kicked the Indian's asses, after a long and blood soaked struggle, we at least made them tax exempt and able to open casinos on their reservations. The native Hawaiians (less than 1000 purebloods perhaps?) deserve that much.

I think the thing that really irritates me is that after all the tragedy that happened on September 11 the illegal occupation of Hawaiian lands over 150 years ago is what is bothering the author of the letter. Nobody is alive that had anything to do with that but because there are white people who live in Hawaii now they are lumped into a perpetuating group of racists and land grabbers.

Screw you lady, seriously.

1 comment:

  1. Greg,

    I read the entire letter the woman wrote, and I did not get the same impression as you.

    I don't think she was attacking people like you or me...but rather the perpetuators of the abolishment of Hawaiian culture. Are we colonists? I can’t see how you or I would meet the description, and perhaps the disheartened writer of the article would agree. She has a point though, as an indigenous person who has seen her culture be watered down with the arrival of missionaries and people looking to cash out on hula and Don Ho entertainment.

    "Who are these people, Saucy?" You may find yourself asking as you read along. Well, I would have to say it is the businessmen...the kinds that stroll along with perpetual dollar signs in their eyes; the kinds that disallow workers to work full time at their businesses so they don't have to dish out health care; the kind that force individuals in the lower socioeconomic strata to work three service jobs with little or no benefits; the kind that foster this ultra-capitalist society that may even choke you and me out in the coming years.

    I can see why these types of letters aggravate you…someone who has hung up his impositions on the cultural coat rack. You have an opened mind, you are excited to learn what other people have to offer, and you respect others. Unfortunately, you are not representing a majority of our nation-especially the ones who really have true power.

    I am quite surprised by your description of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy as “alleged.” Perhaps you can help me understand this logic, because my understanding of Hawaiian history leaves me to side with the writer of the article and not you my friend.

    As far as throwing native people a bone in order to shut them up…well, I think you are being kind of insensitive. Your description of the “blood-soaked battle” was right on, as long as you realize that is was extremely one-sided. What was done to the Native Americans of the United States was atrocious and barbaric, and a simple apology, along with the exemption of tax-paying status is kind of weak to excuse what was basically genocide.

    I have to say that I do agree with you that not every white person should be lumped together with racists and land-grabbers. I also agree that these atrocities occurred a century or so ago, and that there is nothing we can do to go back and make things right. As liberal as you probably think this point is, we just have to be sensitive to how Hawaiians feel about certain issues.

    Oh by the way, give me a call…808-262-6862…let’s hang out some time!