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  • Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

    People in Hawaii have a lot to say about everything the rest of the U.S. gets wrong about our islands. Tiki kitch, Don Ho, pineapple pizza, coconut bras, the list is seemingly endless.

    However, it's fair to say that locals therefore do a good bit of stereotyping themselves, lumping all of the country -- from Kansas to New York City to Austin -- into a single mass of thoughts and motives.

    Neither seems fair. Nor particularly surprising, either. But since this parallel, this apparent hypocrisy, has come up often as a tangent to other threads, I figure we might try to tackle the idea head on.

    It might be enlightening. Or it might end badly. Either way, I figure it'll at least be entertaining.

    Here are some conversation starters from the aforementioned tangents:
    Originally posted by MadAzza
    That's one of my biggest gripes about people in Hawaii and their prejudices about other Americans. Maybe I should post this in the "what pisses you off" thread. But ... OK, anyway, people who generalize about the mainland, when they've experienced maybe .001 percent of it. "I went to Las Vegas, so now I know what everyone in the mainland is like." Not even close, honey. Not even close.
    And:
    Originally posted by makana_hilton
    As I puruse the board here I see a whole lot of stereotyping going on. "mainlanders" this and that. "mainlanders" do this and that. "mainlanders think" this and that. I'm not about to stereotype Hawaiians...at least not in a negative light. Personally from what I've learned from family that lives there and from others I know who have been there serving in the military recently is that Hawiians are very nice, easy going, people. Apparently it's all an act.

  • #2
    Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

    The best way to get rid of those prejudices is to travel. Travel as much as you can and as often as you can to places that are unfamiliar to you. Force yourself to get out of your comfort zone...eat different foods, go out and meet and mingle with people who are different from you. Live in a different part of the country for awhile. Most prejudice is based on ignorance and fear of the unknown. If you can travel to new places with an open mind, you will come to realize that everyone is too scared/too busy to meet people different from themselves. If you can put yourself in their shoes, you'll probably discover that in many ways, they are very much like you.

    Miulang
    "Americans believe in three freedoms. Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; and the freedom to deny the other two to folks they don`t like.” --Mark Twain

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

      When I first came here back in 1981, I was very insecure about being a malahini. I think I over compensated. I didn't want to do touristy things because they were touristy. I was in the USAF and they held a seminar for newbies to learn about the local culture: shaka, eyebrow raises, inflection. It was all quite informative, so I give the military credit for making that effort.

      I think part of it was I had a haole boyfriend who was so concerned that I would embarrass him! I didn't. While he sat out in the lineup at Canoes in Waikiki on his yellow Lightning Bolt surfboard and picked up chicks behind my back, I actually learned to surf! Despite myself, I ate sushi, poke, sashimi and lived. I still can't handle a musubi, simply because my teeth can't cut through the seaweed!

      Now my little girls have kumu hula at their schools and are quite skilled for 4-year-old and 6-year-old girls in Hawaiian language and culture. My six year old today gave me a lesson on the use of the K for the T in the Hawaiian language. It's all about embracing your host culture, coming to the islands with an open mind and letting the Hawaiian hospitality envelop you. I think Fondoo experienced that during his recent trip to the Big Island.
      Aloha from Lavagal

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      • #4
        Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

        Originally posted by lavagal
        While he sat out in the lineup at Canoes in Waikiki on his yellow Lightning Bolt surfboard and picked up chicks behind my back,
        ho man
        ALL mainlanders do that.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

          Originally posted by kimo55
          ho man
          ALL mainlanders do that.

          In retrospect, it was OK. I learned to surf. I am a goddess on the water!
          Aloha from Lavagal

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          • #6
            Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

            Just carrying over what I said in one of the tangents that spawned this thread, a lot of the criticism I see levied here against "Mainlanders" and "people on the Mainland" are more familiar, and perhaps a little less disconcerting, as critiques of the darker sides of the broader American culture. Capitalism, selfishness, greed, Americentrism, yada yada yada.

            Insofar as people in Hawaii think of themselves as American (some do, some don't), a good part of this is self loathing. And, of course, baseless projecting. It ain't right, but... I wouldn't take it personally.

            Heck, I tell you, since Miulang mentioned "traveling" as an antidote... I traveled a lot at my last job, almost all international, and after a while, even I found myself thinking, "Those darn Americans..." Hell, we were occasionally advised by our hosts to tell people we were Canadian. Eh?

            The other major category of "Those Mainlanders" are when we're calling them on getting Hawaii wrong. And sure, we know not all people on the Mainland think we live in grass huts on the beach and sip mai tais and listen to Don Ho, but... overall, that general stereotype is what we're reacting to. I don't think we're saying all residents of the other states think that, but it sure seems that the broader, popular American culture (were it a sentient entity) thinks, and perpetuates, that.

            Then, yes, there's the baseless stereotyping. Californians rag on New Yorkers (city slickers), Floridians rag on Vermont and New Hamphire residents (snowbirds), New Yorkers rag on Missisipi, Alabama and Georgia residents (rednecks), and on and on and on. An unfortunate byproduct of state and regional pride is ridicule of others.

            I guess we give as good as we get? Not, again, that it's right! Having married a southern girl, though, I like to think I'm more sensitive than most to overdoing the caricatures and stereotypes of Mainland communities (we had an ugly patch of islanders ragging on "trailer trash" not too long ago, and I pointed out the irony of the same people protesting stereotypes of Hawaii).

            So as to what makana_hilton said:
            Originally posted by makana_hilton
            Personally from what I've learned from family that lives there and from others I know who have been there serving in the military recently is that Hawiians are very nice, easy going, people. Apparently it's all an act.
            Apart from disclaiming that I presume he/she meant "Hawaii residents" when he/she said "Hawaiians," I'd simply say... well, we're human, and to some degree fellow Americans, but while we might therefore exhibit many the very same biases and prejudices, as communities on this bright blue marble go, we generally fall more on the "nice, easy going" end of the spectrum than most.

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            • #7
              Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

              Traveling is a good answer,the thing I loved most about my recent visit to Puna was the people.They were laid back,real and easy going and reminded me of folks in a small town in indiana(brooklyne) and also north carolina both places I lived for a time so I didn't get trapped in tourist spots where the locals may find it hard to be at ease.
              I still stereotype small town and city slickers and I'm not ready to give that up.Give me the townies anyday!

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              • #8
                Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

                Originally posted by pzarquon
                The other major category of "Those Mainlanders" are when we're calling them on getting Hawaii wrong. And sure, we know not all people on the Mainland think we live in grass huts on the beach and sip mai tais and listen to Don Ho, but... overall, that general stereotype is what we're reacting to. I don't think we're saying all residents of the other states think that, but it sure seems that the broader, popular American culture (were it a sentient entity) thinks, and perpetuates, that.
                True enough - you could name just about any state, and stereotypes will probably spring quickly to mind. I grew up with many of the "paradise" images of Hawai`i, and have since had my eyelids pulled way back (ow!), and still do, to discover some of the realities of life in the Islands.

                Hawai`i has a unique challenge in attempting to correct stereotypes, because it's not a "melting pot" so much as a "mixed plate." It's why Frank DeLima's humor isn't appreciated outside the Islands. It's hard for some Mainlanders to wrap their heads around the concepts that make Hawai`i what it is --- the only American state that was once an independent kingdom; a place where, due to the isolation of its location and size, it's wiser to learn to get along with your neighbors, because you're going to keep bumping into them everywhere; where embracing (rather than attempting to dominate) an unfamiliar culture just might enhance your own life - and there's a lot more world cultures in a smaller space than in any other state.

                People still ask my GF "how could you leave paradise?" It's true that many of them have never been familiar with the inflated costs of living in a place where so many products have additional shipping charges attached to them.

                But on the other hand, how would the Hawaiian economy fare if the state ceased to promote the classic images to potential travelers? I can see it now --- "Come visit beautiful Hawai`i, where you will have to give up your first-born male child just to fill your gas tank." What Jake Shimabukuro tune would you use behind such a campaign?

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                • #9
                  Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

                  Las Vegas, ok, that is hilarious to me.

                  I have vacationed in Hawaii many, many times, and when I ask a local where they like to vacation, the look on their face is rapturous as they answer "Las Vegas". And it seems that all the grand prizes of any sweepstakes or drawing in Hawaii is a trip to Las Vegas.

                  WTF?!!! Is that what is considered the ultimate vacation? Not that there's anything wrong with Vegas, but.....WTF?!!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

                    Originally posted by Lalalinder

                    WTF?!!! Is that what is considered the ultimate vacation? Not that there's anything wrong with Vegas, but.....WTF?!!
                    Well, when you already live in "paradise", what else is there to look forward to but to go forth and sin in "Sin City"?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

                      Our tour guide told us that LV is the fastest growing city in the US, with an average of 5,000 people moving there every month. Although the largest percentage are from California, it appears that there is quite a large contingent moving from Hawai'i, too. It's no wonder they call LV the "9th Hawaiian Island". The weather is similar and there are lots of jobs (even though most are in the service industry and pay minimum wage, I'm sure many service workers get paid handsomely with tips from the tourists) and the cost of living is still cheaper than living in Hawai'i. There are enough "local"
                      type restaurants and stores (although the "Hawaii Marketplace" on the Strip is kind of a bust because most of the stuff they're selling there really has nothing to do with Hawai'i) that expats wouldn't get too homesick for the local food.

                      Ask anybody from Hawai'i who's gone to LV and won money and they'll all say LV is their favorite vacation spot!
                      Miulang
                      Last edited by Miulang; September 22, 2005, 04:17 PM.
                      "Americans believe in three freedoms. Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; and the freedom to deny the other two to folks they don`t like.” --Mark Twain

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

                        Glad to see someone picked up on this topic.

                        I've got family that lives in Hawaii. Sibliings that have been born and raised there. They are very special people to me and I consider them to be much more kind that many of the "mainlanders" I associate with on a daily basis.

                        However I see a lot of mean spirited and bitter people on this board. I think you folks need to get off the island and visit the mainland for a while. Of course you'll only meet the rudest of the rude and support your beliefs but at least try it.

                        I've been able to travel the world and so far the nicest people I've met have been in Texas and various places throughout the South. Hawiaans don't seem to accomidating to outsiders but maybe that was a misconception on my part. I'll be glad to come back over there and reevaluate my opinion in person.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

                          I don't think is a misconception, the clear message is "spend your money in Hawaii, then get the hell out".

                          ironically....the same message you get from Las Vegas. LMAO!!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

                            I think if the shoe's too tight and starts to pinch the toes (i.e., overcrowding, high cost of living, etc. etc. etc.), anyone would be grumpy. It's the same phenomenon you see in most large cities or tourist areas.

                            Miulang
                            "Americans believe in three freedoms. Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; and the freedom to deny the other two to folks they don`t like.” --Mark Twain

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Those Hawaiians, Those Mainlanders!

                              I want to add to the idea of travel being an antidote to provincial ignorance.

                              Get out and around the Pac Rim. Don't just think that a trip to North America will broaden the pov to the degree necessary to create an open mind. One needs to drive on the other side of the road, do currency conversions in one's head, and make an utter fool of him/herself in that peculiar manner than only a malihini can do.

                              Learn another language. And learn how to order a beer, get directions to cross town, and seek out a bathroom.

                              I swear, once that gets done, nobody sweats the tiki bar. It gets easier to mahalo the difference between benign 20th century kitsch and sacred ancestral origins.

                              pax

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