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Bullying in Hawaii: A State of Denial

BY SYDNEY ROSS SINGER - Does the Aloha State actually have a bullying problem? If you are Caucasian and from the Mainland, you will certainly think so.

It doesn't matter how long you live here, or if you were even born here. If you are white, locals will still call you a “haole”, a derogatory term that is Hawaii's equivalent of using the "N-word".

And the prejudice goes beyond name calling. White people are often treated with scorn. “Go back to where you came from”, seems to be the message. “You don't belong here.” Sometimes it results in violence.

White children in our schools are harassed, intimidated, and physically abused. The last school day of the year in Hawaii, for example, is traditionally called “kill a haole day”.

Racism is as ugly in Hawaii as anywhere else, and is the cause of much of the bullying of school children and adults alike. Unless this underlying racist cause of bullying is addressed, efforts to stop bullying are doomed to fail.

To overcome racism we must be inclusive and tolerant of differences. The diversity of cultures and peoples must be embrace and celebrated to find synergy in our differences. We must realize that we are all “one”, with no group more important than any other.

Achieving this “melting pot” in Hawaii will be difficult. Language and cultural barriers are keeping people apart, making Hawaii more a patchwork of different cultures than an integrated whole.

If these different cultures were living together, say, in New York, then they would all be called New Yorkers. They would share an identity despite their differences. But you can't do that in Hawaii, since no matter how long you live here you will never be a “Hawaiian”. That term is reserved for native Hawaiian people. Everyone else is just a “resident”.

Being native or not is an issue in Hawaii, and is a racial issue by definition. And while many native Hawaiians live with aloha, there are some who are resentful of what they see as foreign occupation of their islands.

If Hawaiians have first claim to these islands, then locals with Hawaiian blood have second claim, and immigrants, or aliens, have little or no claim. The stage is thus set for prejudice, racism, and bullying.

Of course, when alien people and cultures move in, they bring along alien plants and animals, too. Hawaii's diversity of species from all around the world is a direct product of human immigration.

It is no surprise, then, that prejudice against immigrant cultures will result in prejudice against immigrant species.

The Hawaii government's environmental policy gives preference to “native” species and has the agenda of “restoring native ecosystems”. While this native species supremacism is a national agenda, it has a powerful impact in Hawaii where it parallels political nativism and encourages racial prejudice.

According to this policy, species introduced to Hawaii after western contact are “alien”, and “don't belong here”. Species introduced to Hawaii by native Hawaiians are “native”, and do belong here. The current focus of environmental management is to get rid of immigrant species to return the islands to their pre-contact “native” condition.

To those who desire and appreciate these immigrant species, this feels like environmental bullying.

Of course, this reinforces the racism problem. The more the government institutionalizes native supremacism in political and environmental agendas, the more it justifies and encourages a "we belong here and you don't" attitude.

This is the recipe for hate, intolerance, and bullying.

For Hawaii to live up to its Aloha Spirit rhetoric, racial bullying must stop being tolerated.  The school anti-bullying program must address racial prejudice.  And there needs to be sensitivity classes to teach compassion and respect for others.

We must realize that what counts most about people is not where they are from, but what they have to offer.  Remember, "Aloha" means compassion, love, peace, affection, and mercy.

Short URL: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/?p=40669

133 Comments for “Bullying in Hawaii: A State of Denial”

  1. threr is none but it could be cool but its the haoles fault for taking over hawaii so they should go back cause thy left us with nothing and just tookover

  2. Fu Hawaiians I'm white and have money I'm moving over there and taking your land

  3. I have read many of the posts here. Let me say this first, there is a ton of the posters on here that have legitimate stories of being bullied and I am sorry that they had to experience that. I found this forum because I was considering moving to the islands for retirement and yes, I am "white" American. I have decided that I will go elsewhere due to the stories on this forum and elsewhere. There is also many posters here that seem to have the mentality of a small houseplant and are extremely racist even though they are not even navite Hawaiians. same can be said of some of the so called "whites" that spew their own garbage to incite hate. Just remember "Karma is watching you" to those losers that spread their hate like a bad STD.

    As an American, I wouldn't mind it all if the "native" people's of Hawaii gaining independence from the USA if that is what the majority of Hawaiians want. This division would also mean no more public assistance, SSI, etc.... Maybe the new government of Hawaii could charge a big tourism tax to help fund those things like welfare and that is higher than the national US average (http://www.ibtimes.com/which-us-states-have-most-welfare-benefit-programs-interactive-map-1394989) and seems to be rampant in Hawaii. The USA really has no business having the islands as part of the states considering today's technology in war fair doesn't need ports for ships. If the Hawaiian people want to be independent, I say give it to them. If the Hawaiins have control over your own destiny, they have nothing to complain about right?

    • Whites and Asians are easily the majority in Hawaii and most of them want to remain part of the US. The limited number of Hawaii residents who want independence would never win if it were put up to a vote.

      • It is a matter of time really. So called "hawaiians" are at this point an illusion, they only exist in the mind of people that hate and must find themselves a niche where to be. There is a huge difference between the Oahu population and the last "stonghold" of the likes of the Big Island. People in Oahu enjoy multiculturalism because they themselves have come from every part of the glove. They are proud of living in a modern society in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. There is a lot of promise there.

        Yes, living in the outer islands mainly the Big Island is trying, But where has not it beein trying for inmigrants? Living there has a great advantage, for one the ability to grow thick skin and start focusing on priorities. I have lived in this place for 28 years, on and off, and I am not longer interested what some ignorant souls have to say about me or where I come from. I have my reasons to be here, and is as good of a place like any other. No one owns the land, no one. The fact once group came here first, and the then another came by does not grant anyone the right of ownership. The "hawaiians" that adopt the ownership stance need to review the concept of Aloha. The Kings and Queens of the Hawaiian kingdom not only married their children to haoles ( and mean white people, because 87% of Hawaii residentes are haoles by definition) but gave them land to boot and do as they pleased. In fact royalty gave away a lot that the poor local folk didn't get. Hawaiian royalty turned on its own to satisfied their needs for recognition and world status.

        There is plenty of fallow land in the Big Island, and for that reasonn it will not go unused no matter how ugly some fearful locals locals look. I don't know of any good real estate opportunity that went missing just because of an ugly nasty small lot. The west was not won with laurel and roses, it took work and time. Same thing here, it is inevitable. The sooner this angry people realize the concept of evolution the better for everyone. There is no justice in ruiniing the mind of perfectily capable children to perpetuate hatred. In a way the few that are doing that are in fact self destroying themselves. They prefer their kids to end up doing drugs and living or papaya trees than go to college and do something for themselves. I know why they fear their kids elevating themselves in the world; they fear being left alone and behind in their ocean of hate.

  4. [...] interesting article about the bullying of whites in Hawaii. Bullying in Hawaii: A State of Denial | Hawaii Reporter The comments listed after the article are shocking. Hawaii seems to do a great job concealing this [...]

  5. John, you are spot on. The welfare system in Hawaii is a huge drain of tax dollars and gives llittle return. But it is there for a reason, for the time being. The Department of Hawaiian Homelands and the Bishop Estate, know where the money is, and how it moves around; they are not about to let a few angry folk dictate how they make money. The so called "independence" is just a little bargaining chip, but nothing they will seriously advocate or consider. The world moves in a different way these days, and they know it.

  6. Most whites are self serving.. Thats why they are not welcomed. The ones that are not are surely treated with respect. Its not a skin color thing.. Its an attitude thing. Look at the whites that move to maui. they want to shutdown the sugar plantation which has been there for decades and provides good jobs to the residents. All because the ashes interfere with them when the field is burned.. Maybe you should have thought about that before moving there.. anyway, like you tell the blacks to get over the racism.. i would say get over the racism

  7. SYDNEY ROSS you dumb@ss. ENVIRONMENTAL BULLYING? for real? what a joke. Your "environmental bullying" theory is bogus...its called preserving the plants/animals/species that are dwindling down because there are so many invasive alien plants/animals choking them out. They do this ALL OVER THE WORLD!!!! Not JUST in HAWAII.. you are very odd.

  8. Who in the hell told you that it was our fault??? Did you know that a petition went around all of Hawai'i stating weather or not we wanted to be a state or not?? 99% of all Native Hawaiians voted NO. Technically Hawai'i is NOT a state we are an illegally occupied nation. You really want to know why we are so discriminating against "ha'oles"?!?!? Its because of how much hurt we've been through in our past history like The Overthrow of our last reining monarchy, Queen Lili'uokalani and having the missionaries come here and forbid us to practice our culture and speak our language. But you know what we pushed through that and are still trying to perpetuate our culture and try to restore our Native species. And how dare you tell us that its "enviromental bullying". Thats ridiculous, I'm mean sure we diverse between plants, but thats only because most times invasive plants are dominant and will overpower the Native plant. BTW : Us "Hawaiians" aren't all the same.

    Ko'u Mana'o.

  9. With a well executed plane like you explain, I'm surprised you ever had an issue here and are not running for King of Hawaii... or are you just all waha?

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