Wow, this just stopped me cold

In July 2010 I posted a writeup of my family’s experience in Kauai, which I found physically and spiritually cleansing (linked below). Tonight, I received the following comment, and am just not sure how to respond. It’s a bit racist, and full of obviously gross generalizations. But there’s a part of me that understands where this is coming from – a heart that just wants the old ways back, wants Hawaii back.

“Your race is a pestilence to my people, our culture and OUR way of life. Your stench has been filling our nostrils since the arrival of your kind. Your exploitation, your perversion and your robbery of our history and our land makes me sick. IÊ»m glad you had a nice time galavanting around the land of my fathers and mothers, IÊ»m glad you had fun seeing our wonderful island in all its beauty and thinking you have a right to even look upon it. I shall remember your trip, and your pictures, and when you return, for scourge always does, you will get no respect, no hospitality from me or my ohana, who outnumber all the citizens of KauaÊ»i.”

Kauai 2010 | scot hacker’s foobar blog
It’s sometimes said that Kauai is the last remaining vestige of “the old Hawaii” or “the real Hawaii” – the last bastion of island life as it was before much of it was taken over by hotel chains a…

8 Replies to “Wow, this just stopped me cold”

  1. It's racist as fuck. And you're letting White Man's Guilt feed it. Ancestral lands and a sense of place are important, no doubt. But sharing and an open heart are more important.

    If this person would like a demonstration, come visit the Puebloan and Dine people here in New Mexico.

  2. The paradox is that when you visit a place like Kauaii, part of what you want to experience is "The old Hawaii" – we long for a taste of things before concrete and hotels and plastic killed them. That's a part of what my OP was about. But by visiting, we are helping to erase exactly what we've gone there to see. I am at least partially sympathetic to the guy's complaint.

  3. He sounds like a racist hypocrite to me. There have been several migrations to the Hawaiian islands over the centuries, and it is not unlikely that this guy's ancestors in fact waged war against the original inhabitants of "his" island.
    There will always be extremists who want to go back to the "old way of life", though I wonder if he just wants to go back to before the time of email, or wants to go all the way back to the time when women weren't allowed to eat bananas, and to look directly at the chief was punishable by death. Ah, those were the days…

  4. Racism is just loaded, it doesn't make you wrong or right, and it's usually wrapped in anger at its core. It's another card that politicians use and we can just leave it out. A racist comment might take away from what this person is trying to communicate, which is basically anger that may very well be justified, we don't know. Discrimination combined with self-interest is really what creates injustice and what we need to focus on. It's also hard to make any kind of meaningful statement without generalizing, especially in this format. Obviously this person is angry, and it's not our place to judge. One culture, national identity or group has exploited another unfairly. Imperialism you might say. This is very clear to me at least, responsibility is the motivator, not white man's guilt. Yes this man has commented something ugly, that's obvious, but to ammo up on "racism" and "white man's guilt" is bullshit.

    Sure there is not much Scot can do to fix the grievances of native peoples and atrocities that our nations and ancestors have committed. But we can choose to listen to a person, we can try to understand, look past hateful words, as opposed to rationalizing a quick judgement to maintain your position, that is actually a huge problem on both sides. People don't want to face an ugly past or a harsh judgement. I'm not trying to justify racism here from any party, of course it's one of the lowest measures of a human being, but yet it remains in our arsenal. "You people", "us", "them" happens every day. Pop culture is not going to ever change that, Oprah nor the Internet, actually all we have done is wrapped it in some layers, encapsulated the responsibility and ugliness away… and continue to maintain self-interest and discrimination at our core. "Check, I'm not being racist because xyz." Wrong. This is part of our collective human history and culture, it's the current world we live in. Don't fool yourself, you're not racism-free folks just because you're a "bigger" "modern" person, anything else is just fantasy.

  5. Don’t mind him. He must have his own personal issues that remain unresolved, and just want to pull other people down – a sort of “crab mentality”. I think he does not speak for all of the locals, at all.

    ICI Non voice block C

  6. I spent time in Kauai and yes, the locals can be prejudiced against whites from the mainland. The strange thing is most of the people who are assumed to be “Hawaiian” are actually Filipino or from other Asian countries.

    Kauai has a poor education system and many of the “locals” have never left the island and have very limited experience with people from out of town. Coupled with a religious nature (you will notice a church on every corner in certain towns on the island) and you have a recipe for ignorance.

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