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Old 05-20-2009, 09:01 AM
Location: OrangeMiddleBurgPark, Florida
33 posts, read 91,438 times
Reputation: 85


First of all I want to apologize to anyone taking offense to any of my observations. It was not my intent to trash any place and I was responding specifically to a claim that certain negative elements did not exist in paradise. Had someone made the claim they had never experienced any acts of kindness or hospitality in Hawaii, I probably would have responded in much the same manner, with an opposing perspective.

As I mentioned, we lived there from 86 to 89, so things probably were a lot different (what areas weren't different back then?). I will make every effort to chose my words more carefully when referencing my experiences from this point on. 808n310, thank for your insight and a different perspective other than the ones already shared. Your words were even-keeled and informative. At the time I was stationed there we encountered a number of experiences like this, but admittedly, times have changed throughout the world. There was a "Kill Haole Day" and if you do a Google search, you'll get over 4,000 hits referencing the term. Those same results however, yielded some articles reporting the practice was more of an 80's fad and seldom heard of since. I believe my misinterpretation of the word "haole" was because I don't remember it ever being used as a term of endearment, thus my confusion.

With that said, I feel I need to also share some positive elements experienced in Hawaii. I misstated when I said we were "darn glad to leave". Actually, we were darn glad to leave, but it had more to do with the military than any negative elements we encountered in Hawaii. I spent a lot of time away from my wife, so shore duty was a welcome change.

The majority of the Hawaiian people were very likable and friendly. We had many friends there and enjoyed the culture and traditions. There is a laid-back easiness about Hawaiian residents, which can be contagious and rightly so. It took several months after departing Hawaii to UNextend my thumb and little finger or quit saying "suk-em-up-brah" in restaurants.

Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to visit any of the other islands because I was constantly deployed (it seemed) and we didn't have a whole lot of money. While on Oauhu though, we visited as many of the sections as we could. We climbed both Diamond Head and "the stairway to heaven" which I believe was located on some military radio facility. There was a Nature Trail we would hike and Chimney Falls? Hanama and Waimea Bay were stunning. We used to feed tropical fish frozen peas. I don't know why they like them, I don't even like them cooked. We toured all the sites available and I'll guarantee one thing, you'll very rarely have the opportunity to say, "There's nothing to do..." on Hawaii. There was ALWAYS something to do. Even go hang-gliding on the Northside. The Tiki Shopping Village downtown was so much fun.

Melanie, I'm sorry if my careless recollections caused you any grief. I suppose in a sense, it's a good thing this interaction took place. It illustrates how we as a society, have grown from quiet opinionated cultures to a more interactive one and can now have open-minded discussions where we can learn of our misconceptions, embrace diversity and respect each other not only in spite of our differences, but because of them. In the future, I will choose my words more carefully and think before I post. We may not be there yet, but as a society unified and tolerant, we're headed in the right direction.

I think I need to revisit Hawaii...both physically and psychologically.

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Old 05-20-2009, 09:27 AM
Location: Hawaii/Alabama
1,932 posts, read 3,471,040 times
Reputation: 5288
I do thank you for understanding what I was trying to impart and I AM truly glad that you did indeed find some things to like about Hawaii. Unfortunately, Military families are sent to many places that are simply not what they are used to and it does make it difficult if you find yourself in a place that just is not for you.

The eighties were a time of upheaval for Native Hawaiians with the Sovereignty push gaining momentum (just as my time in Germany was anti-American) and many people confused advocacy with violence (never a good thing to confuse).

Truly, the term haole is not negative (in and of itself) or I would never allow my family members to refer to my husband in such a way!

In any case I am happy that you have some pleasant memories of Hawaii; I only become upset when people insist that everyone and everything is one sided (in regards to any topic) since that is just not the way life unfolds.

I do hope that you are enjoying your Retirement, I made my husband find a job after only a couple of weeks of his terminal leave ( there was NO WAY our marriage wold have survived had he continued to shadow me around the house). Your Service to the Country is greatly appreciated and I know that your wife must be pleased to have you around more (but hopefully not shadowing her!). Melanie
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:37 AM
Location: Maui, HI
36 posts, read 124,904 times
Reputation: 97
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I think the economic strain that's a result of too many people moving in, and vacationers driving up land prices (while keeping wages low) contributes to the problem. (Although that's sort of obvious, I guess.) Of course, a lot of people feeling that strain just moved to Hawaii one generation ago, so they're probably part of the problem.

Just like I will be, if I move back
You have a point but the bigger issue, in my opinion, is the attitude of some new arrivals who come to Hawaii because of what Hawaii is but also miss certain aspects of "home" and want to bring them here. Instead of assimilating they're slowly turning Hawaii into the very places they left behind and changing the character of the place.

Look around the globe and you'll see problems anywhere that kind of thing is going on. It's unwecome everywhere.
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Old 05-26-2009, 03:33 AM
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,998,084 times
Reputation: 1771
Originally Posted by MCB0B View Post
You have a point but the bigger issue, in my opinion, is the attitude of some new arrivals who come to Hawaii because of what Hawaii is but also miss certain aspects of "home" and want to bring them here. Instead of assimilating they're slowly turning Hawaii into the very places they left behind and changing the character of the place.

Look around the globe and you'll see problems anywhere that kind of thing is going on. It's unwecome everywhere.

Yeah, that's true. I guess it's sort of like those people who say that immigrants to the U.S. should learn to speak English. If you move to Hawaii, you should learn to speak Hawaiian, (in a metaphoical sense).
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:58 PM
Location: East Fallowfield, PA
2,300 posts, read 4,376,509 times
Reputation: 1167
Well, I've been following this whole thread with interest. I have lived in Hawaii (Oahu) off and on for over 10 years. I will be relocating back to Oahu in a month. I am black with a family and my, now grown sons all attended school on Oahu without incident. They can't wait for us to move back so they can visit frequently. I've found that white folks are often surprised by the "lack of specialness" when they arrive to live (everyone is treated special by the hospitality staff when you visit). We would laugh when people came up to us and asked how did we stand all the prejudice. My response would always be "what did someone say something?" I'm currently living in Austin, a great city, but Texas is no Hawaii - some of the folks here are genuinely wonderful, while others - well, ya know. There are ignorant folks no matter where you go and live. You really need to expect what you give. You don't have to say a word, your non-verbal communications can be picked up loud and clear. I love the whole feel and environment of Hawaii, it is my paradise, but may not be yours. Since I've lived there before, I know what to expect and I've saved my pennies (well a lot of dollars); we're ready. Mahalo and A hui hou !
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:50 PM
12 posts, read 39,803 times
Reputation: 10
Originally Posted by 808n310 View Post
Local people, in a lot of ways, are insesitive to race and ethnicity, in most cases this is a good thing. Asking, "what are you?" is the equivalent of asking something like, "what school did you go to?" etc....Hawaii is one of the few places that have tons of people who are genuinely interested in you and your background....they're trying to start a conversation or get to know you, take it as a compliment, and feel free to ask the question back , you might learn something new!

Great answer!
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:01 PM
3 posts, read 7,416 times
Reputation: 10
do you think they ask because they judge? i.e. japanese vs. tongan? punahou vs. public schools? There is a subtle racism that exists in HI. On the mainlain, you may seperate by general classes: white, black, asian, latino, native american. In HI, there is a seperation by type of asian. They don't care if you are polish, irish, italian ... you are just white. Just like on the mainland people don't care what type of asian, they just discriminate all asians as a group.
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Old 12-26-2009, 06:28 AM
64 posts, read 162,569 times
Reputation: 60
Thought I might just add my experience to this board.

I lived on the Big Island for 2 years and graduated from UHH.

Hawaiian people are the friendliest, warmest, kindest people I have ever met.

At least twice a week, I would wake up and there would be a bag of fresh fruit waiting for my outside my door that one of my neighbors set out there for me. Fresh fruit from their gardens waiting for me for breakfast without me even asking. That's love man. That's what life in Hawaii was like for me.

Did I experience racism? Of course, but it was very few and far between.
For me it became very easy to blend in after being there for half a year.

I am not short-sighted, and I am fully aware that 95% of the time, I was surrounded by wonderful, friendly, and happy people that gave me nothing but love.

I met a local guy named Warren that worked on campus at UHH. I told him about my back pain and a week later he had a guava stick waiting for me when I came into school. He told me to whittle it down and use it to massage my back. He called it a "lomistick". It was one of the nicest presents I've ever got.

If you are a kind person at heart and have a good attitude, Hawaiian people show you love and respect.
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:30 PM
Location: galaxy far far away
3,110 posts, read 4,859,076 times
Reputation: 7241
Originally Posted by HHM View Post
We recently moved our family to Hawaii. Collectively, we have lived in another country, on the mainland in the midwest, in the northeast, in the southeast, in the greater southwest and in south Florida. This includes living in the south side of Chicago, in NY City, in Miami, in suburban Atlanta and in north Texas. We also speak 2 other languages other than English. Basically, we're part of the melting pot. So far, we have found the people of Hawaii to be a mix of arrogant ignorance. One of the strange things kids ask one another here is "What are you?" I have never heard that statement by kids before in my life! I think the reason for that is the political climate that is here with the Kau Inoa, etc. etc. How stupid is that thing? I say Hawaiians melt already and get educated!


Impressed by the beauty of the land but not by its people.
Please consider moving back to the mainland. It's exactly the arrogance YOU express that is getting you the reactions you describe. The people of Hawaii are generally a beautiful, kind, compassionate, and generous people. I ran into what you describe exactly 3 times in the islands. And I was there 30 years. Perhaps you should entertain the notion that you are mistaken.

I've preached this before on this forum and here we go again:

In Hawaii, "What are you?" is a way of CONNECTING NOT DISCRIMINATING. It's an opener to - "Oh, my uncle is Irish" or "Oh my sister married a Chinese-Haole." Political correctness is neither correct Nor is it polite. You are foisting YOUR ideas and belief systems on another culture and they are resisting your "instruction." THAT is what annoys you. You sound like Charles Emerson Winchester III on M.A.S.H. If you have indeed lived in many other cultures you missed the lesson.

Hawaii is a true multi-cultural society where we all celebrate the multitudes of offerings from different cultures. We GET TO celebrate our ancestors. WE don't buy into the idea promulgated by the socialist mindset that everyone must be exactly alike. People are proud of their ancestry and only too happy to recite it to you - "I'm Hawaiian-Chinese-Spanish-French. What are you?" Is a perfectly normal and fun way to connect the dots. Your uptight East coast and Pacific Northwest ideas about making everyone hyphenated Americans is offensive and causes more problems than it solves. (Someone actually just said on the news that the man who tried to bomb the Delta flight was "African-American" -- he most assuredly was NOT. He was Nigerian! Not even a citizen of the US! THAT is how ridiculous all this nonsense is.)

The fact is, the people of Hawaii are pretty good at reading attitudes and they react accordingly. I'm about as white as they get, with red hair and freckles, and I'm a cowgirl - boots and all - even in Hawaii. I'm also a highly educated Professional Woman who speaks 3 languages. Yet I never ran into what you describe. Of course, I wasn't leaking prejudice from every pore.

Really - if you are this unhappy, perhaps it's time to explore other options in another state. You are on this forum, so perhaps you are doing that. But please don't insult my friends and relatives with your better-than-you attitude. "Melt Already?" What hubris. Just because you made a personal decision to deny your ancestry doesn't mean it is the correct thing for everyone else. I'm glad being bland and blended works for you. Personally, I find the multitude of cultures in Hawaii to be refreshing, exciting, and fun.
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:50 PM
Location: galaxy far far away
3,110 posts, read 4,859,076 times
Reputation: 7241
Originally Posted by NavyRet View Post
Of course we met some nice people in Hawaii, but I was responding specifically to the prejudice issue this thread was exploring. A previous poster had stated he has lived there for 5 years and never encountered any occurrences of prejudice. I offered up another perspective as did other posters.

The park I referred to did not have any anti-foreigner sentiments for that day....THERE WAS NOBODY THERE. We had just returned from a 6 month deployment and were standing down. It was a week day so we headed to Waianae to enjoy the beach. And the sign declaring "Locals Only" was not some temporary poster board someone had taped to a tree. It was a permanent fixture on a pole, rooted in the ground. This was a National Park, hence our surprise.

Are you unaware of "Kill Hoale Day"? Was this a tradition to promote international camaraderie or what??

I never said other regions don't have their problems as well. I'm retired Navy too. Don't you think I don't remember the signs in Norfolk, "sailors and dogs, stay off the grass?"

But we weren't talking about Virginia, were we? We were talking about a specific train of thought in a specific region and that was what I had shared my views about.

I'm sorry you don't like what I had to say, but I spoke the truth. I lived it and experienced it. My wife and I were newlyweds. We weren't mean to anyone, or arrogant or trite. We were quite simply, told we were not welcome.

Just because you have declared it doesn't exist, or try to rationalize it's existence as a "cultural conditioning" from the Mainland, does not make it so. You have your words, your beliefs and your experiences....I have mine.
I'm sorry you ran into that. There IS a problem in certain sectors of Oahu between the locals and the military that is unfortunate. The Waianae coast is an area I warn Military friends to stay away from. It's beautiful, but there are some drug problems and poverty up there that create dicey situations. I have relatives up there, so I go, but I would not go to one of the beaches. That being said, the Park Ranger was off base and should have been reported. There are some factions of the sovereignty movement that have been anti-tourist for awhile (which is unfortunate -- since, as we see, without tourists the economy tanks!), and if you are unfortunate enough to run into one of the more militant factions, you would have some of the problems you describe. As for "kill haole day" -- that is something I ran into in the 70's on Kona. I'm sorry to hear that is still around - but not surprised. Poverty and fear cause a lot of unsavory behavior no matter where you live.

Please understand, I'm not saying the islands are rosy and everyone is wonderful. No such place exists on the planet, near as I can tell. We have crime and domestic violence, traffic issues, questionable political leadership, and many issues caused by crowding on small islands. The main point of these discussions is that the average person in the islands is really good hearted and willing to reach out. But you will always run into jerks, no matter where you live. And attitude does play a part!
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