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Thread: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

  1. #1

    Default Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Today State Rep Faye Hanohano issued an apology in response to what was described in a complaint as "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms" while in her capacity as an elected state legislator. Of particular interest was her phrasing in the apology, "I humbly apologize to all of you who may have been offended by sentiments expressed that were taken into the news media.". NOT that she is sorry to said those things, but that she is sorry if someone found the racist remarks offensive.

    Here is the apology statement.

    Here is the complaint letter that brought to light what she'd said.

    Here are two background stories (the SA story will only be a link for about a day):
    StarAdvertiser
    State Rep. Faye Hanohano apologized today to those offended by racial and ethnic remarks she made earlier this week after being unhappy with artwork installed in her state Capitol office.
    Exhibit specialists with the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts had complained that Hanohano went on a tirade, which included words such as "haoles," "Japs," and "Pakes," after being disappointed that none of the art being installed in her office was from Native Hawaiian artists.
    KITV News

    Big Island Rep. Faye Hanohano apologized Thursday on the House floor about racial slurs she made this week about the artwork in her office.

    The incident happened while state workers were installing the art on Monday.

    A senior exhibit specialist with the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts wrote a letter to his boss complaining about Hanohano's behavior.

    The letter reads, "... the Representative came out of her personal office and began a tirade on how 'ugly' the artwork was and why weren't artworks being installed in her office done by Native Hawaiian artists."
    Is racism alive and strong in Hawaii? Sadly, yes, and it rears its ugly head at unexpected moments. I do not believe someone with such lack of control over her prejudices such as Hanohano can be an effective legislator that represents the best for ALL of Hawaii.
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    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    agree...how dare she throws her weight around ...cut the funding...she should be suspended or something of that nature...

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    Smile Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Hmmm.An Hawaiian legislator is upset that none of the works being installed in her office are from Hawaiian artists. Legitimate complaint; there are numerous works available, and she has a right to display the artistic works of her people (which are numerous and beautiful.)

    That she described the works of other cultures as "ugly" is a cultural determination, and equally valid.

    So give her the Hawaiian artworks she desires, remove the other culture's arts. No problem.

    I can even donate some, if she likes.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaonohi View Post
    Hmmm.An Hawaiian legislator is upset that none of the works being installed in her office are from Hawaiian artists. Legitimate complaint; there are numerous works available, and she has a right to display the artistic works of her people (which are numerous and beautiful.)

    That she described the works of other cultures as "ugly" is a cultural determination, and equally valid.

    So give her the Hawaiian artworks she desires, remove the other culture's arts. No problem.
    Kaonohi, you are kidding, right? You think it is appropriate for an elected official to use in a culturally insensitive sentiment "haoles," "Japs," and "Pakes" when showing dissatisfaction [in this case with art selection]? No matter what the complaint she might have, I do not think she is able to control what evidently is racism on her part. I'm surprised that you support her racist mouthiness.
    Now run along and play, but donít get into trouble.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Is she calling other cultures other than hers are garbage? Her majesty thinks she better than everyone in Hawaii.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Walkoff Balk View Post
    Is she calling other cultures other than hers are garbage? Her majesty thinks she better than everyone in Hawaii.
    Well, yes, because someone who thought of everyone else as an equal would not spout out the remarks she did.

    Or, maybe she thinks she is just better than Caucasians, Japanese, or Chinese.

    Yes, we all harbor our own prejudices, but hopefully we keep them in check and not have it affect our work or actions. But it is unacceptable for a State Legislator to burst out verbally in the State Capitol building their own prejudices, showing such a deep seated racial bias that it calls in to question if they can effectively represent the entirety of their constituent and other statewide residents.
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    Lightbulb wth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaonohi View Post
    Hmmm.An Hawaiian legislator is upset that none of the works being installed in her office are from Hawaiian artists. Legitimate complaint; there are numerous works available, and she has a right to display the artistic works of her people (which are numerous and beautiful.)

    That she described the works of other cultures as "ugly" is a cultural determination, and equally valid.

    So give her the Hawaiian artworks she desires, remove the other culture's arts. No problem.
    Are you serious?! First of all, the office isn’t her office, it belongs to the State of Hawai‘i and its taxpayers. Really, Kaonohi — if you want to make this a cultural issue consider this: in kanaka maoli society, there was no such concept as ownership of land.

    I have defended kanaka maoli rights as much as any on HT. But I think you are confusing the rights of a people with what is prudent behavior under our affirmative action and discrimination laws and guidelines. Ultimately, Rep. Hanohano is a state lawmaker which means she has already sold out to U.S. laws, acts and regulations... which bear with them the responsibility to reflect the entirety of her constituents in her words and actions.

    We canít be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans.

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    Default Re: wth?

    When I read of this in the web version of the Star Advertiser it was a bit of a shock in that I am due to send in final payments for an upcoming trip back out there in late April. There are many ways these types of attitude manifest themselves and I hope I stay clear of them! My relative told me that she prefers Bermuda because the trip is so far by plane! I wonder if I am just creature of habit now. Would never have imagined saying that last sentence 10 years ago!

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    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Amati View Post
    Kaonohi, you are kidding, right? You think it is appropriate for an elected official to use in a culturally insensitive sentiment "haoles," "Japs," and "Pakes" when showing dissatisfaction [in this case with art selection]?
    No, I was not kidding, but perhaps I didn't express myself cogently.

    I believe Hanohano has the right to have whatever artwork she chooses in her office - in her space. I think it was inappropriate for her to use the terms she did (as an elected official).

    However, I don't believe haole, Jap or pake to be racist terms. She may be a racist, but the terms are not derogatory. Nor is her condemnation of their artworks as "ugly;" were she an art critic, nobody would blink an eye.

    Consider:

    'haole' is a valid Hawaiian word for outsider, although it technically applies to any non-Hawaiian (even Samoans and Tahitians!), mostly it it used to refer to those of European ancestry, since they were the first 'outsiders' to come here.

    'Jap' is just a shortened form of Japanese, like Brit is a shortened term for British.

    'pake' is an Hawaiian term for someone of Chinese ancestry, the origin is controversial, but is said to come from either a Chinese word or a Chinese name.

    These terms by themselves are no more racist than "European," "American," or "Hawaiian" (or Kanaka, for that matter), but are merely identifying terms.

    Ms. Hanohano was certainly insensitive in their use of them, and she may be, by herself, racist, but I don't consider her remarks to be racist.

    I recognize all of your various concerns and indigence and rationalizations as well, and agree with many of them. Yes our State is racist, more racist than before, and getting worse every year, but sometimes our sensitivity turns a minor incident into a Federal case.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    The words haole and Jap were often preceeded with the F word and followed up with a fist, and the offensive woman meant it that way. She talked stupid and should pay a proper price, but as for as art being paid for and placed most anywhere in Hawaiiu, local and primarily Hawaiian artists should be used as often as possible.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaonohi View Post
    However, I don't believe haole, Jap or pake to be racist terms.
    1) She was being racist in her choice of works when expressing a preference for Hawaiian artists' artwork. And context mean everything when calling out one race (or more) is done. She did not use those terms endearingly! [And while "haole" and "pake" are often used in a non-offensive way, there is no excuse to using the word "Jap" due to the negative connotations between that word and WWII. Hanohano certainly knows better than to use that word, especially in the course of her legislative role.]

    2) She is a Hawaii State Representative, not an exclusively "Hawaiians Only Representative". How she handled her personal preference for Hawaiian artwork was presented as an insult to some other races.

    3) It is reasonable to wonder if her lack of sensitivity and racism will encroach in to other areas of her legislative duties, where levelheadedness and non-partiality is important.
    Last edited by Amati; March 3rd, 2013 at 02:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Good points, Amati.

    Let's remember this next election.
    Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!
    ~ ~
    Kaʻonohiʻulaʻokahōkūmiomioʻehiku
    Spreading the virus of ALOHA.
    Oh Chu. If only you could have seen what I've seen, with your eyes.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    She also tossed in
    ďAny work by Haoles, Japs, Paranges and Pakes, you can just take away right now,Ē Hanohano allegedly said.
    What's a Paranges?
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    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaonohi View Post
    However, I don't believe haole, Jap or pake to be racist terms.
    I'm not clear about exactly what makes a term racist, but my intuition is that "Jap" is indeed racist. It has to do with the way it's been used historically (not its etymology). "Haole", I don't think is racist. (If Hanohano had complained about the haole art in her office, no one would have even noticed.) I have no idea about "pake".
    Greg

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    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    OK, I'm out of here.

    I understand the complaints by people who believe her comments were racist. I also understand her complaint that her office should have Hawaiian art.
    I also understand those folk who take offense at her comments.
    I'm just not bent that way.

    I don't understand why this is such a big deal! Is it not just as racist to decry racism as it is to use it? Do not both perpetuate the idea of racism?

    Perhaps I am missing something?

    Please,enlighten me.
    Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!
    ~ ~
    Kaʻonohiʻulaʻokahōkūmiomioʻehiku
    Spreading the virus of ALOHA.
    Oh Chu. If only you could have seen what I've seen, with your eyes.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Faye Hanohano showed her true character. It is what it is, and voters in her district will have to decide for themselves if they want this kind of representation in the State House.

    I'm actually more disappointed in the limp-wristed response by Speaker Joe Souki. He should have led the call for Hanohano to be formally censured by the House and to strip her of her position as chair of the Ocean Management committee. That Souki failed to do so and to act as though Hanohano's non-apology was sufficient reveals how fragile his hold on the Speakership is. He doesn't want to lose the support of a single member of his faction, even if one of them is a flat-out racist.

    While I support Souki's goal of introducing legalized gambling into this state, I sorta have to wonder how long he will be able to maintain control over his Democratic/Republican coalition. Not for very long, me thinks.
    This post may contain an opinion that may conflict with your opinion. Do not take it personal. Polite discussion of difference of opinion is welcome.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaonohi View Post
    I don't understand why this is such a big deal! Is it not just as racist to decry racism as it is to use it? Do not both perpetuate the idea of racism?
    Huh? Kaonohi, you are surprising me again. My comments below are generalities that can be applied to more than just the issue of Hanohano.

    Q. Does pointing out a fault cast the same fault upon yourself?

    A. NO, pointing out that someone has made racist remarks is NOT "just as racist". Same as, for example, if I point out a cheater, it does not make me a cheater. Or, if I point out a thief, it does not make me a thief. Or, if I point out someone of low moral character, it does not make me of low moral character. So, you see, if I point out a racist, it does not make me a racist.

    Q. Does it matter who is in a leadership role?

    A. It is a "big deal" because our State Legislators are elected to make laws and rules by which we all must abide. They are in a position to say how our tax dollars will be spent. They are our guidance for how we want our state to progress because they are our government leadership. Would you not agree that having a legislator who made racist comments being in that important position would be a "big deal"??
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    Cool Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Amati View Post
    Huh? Kaonohi, you are surprising me again. My comments below are generalities that can be applied to more than just the issue of Hanohano.
    Pardon me. I've been going through a difficult time of late - no excuses, but likely my thinking is not spot on (as if it ever is).

    I don't like pointing fingers and calling people racist, because I think we can label their remarks only from our point of view, and we don't know the person. We create racism as we point our fingers. When we label their remarks as racist we do so from our perception of racism. When we label their actions as racist, we label THEM racist, and I think it's a racist action to do so.

    I view Hanohano more as a sloppy, angry, disoriented art critic than a racist. I also still think she has a right to decorate her work area as she chooses. It is, after all, her comfort zone - where she works - no matter who 'owns' the room (we do!)

    When I worked for the State, I decorated my work space very... uh... strange. And I asserted my right to do so. I won - everything except political allies. Regimented people made remarks in the negative, others smiled that I fought the machine and won, and encouraged me. I did it for them as much as me. I thing being 'average' or 'normal' is a psychic illness. If everyone is the same, what can we learn? How can we grow? How can we determine what is a fault or a benefit?

    'Racism' is a popular accusation theme these days. If one does not fall in step with the norm, you get branded. Perhaps we should make them wear a red letter "R" on their chest? Why can't people, even legislators, have their preferences?

    In fact, it is perhaps good she acted how she did. We get to see a part of who she is, and make our decisions during elections accordingly.

    Politicians must be careful what they say. She was not, so perhaps she is a poor politician. This is to be decided in the voting booth, unless someone wants to raise impeachment proceedings?

    Yes, I do surprise people at times, even my good friends, because I do not go with the flow. Sometimes I'll even take an opposite view just because it needs to be said. Please don't take it personally, or 'brand' me because of it. I may surprise many of my friends from time to time, but it's OK that we see things differently. That's how we learn.

    I consider you my friend partly because you are not afraid to confront me on such issues as this, and politely, I might add, as opposed to some who have disagreed with me.

    There's no need to take my side, but I'd like you (you all) to consider my orientation - think about it. I fully admit I can be wrong. I am not perfect.

    Getting back to the title: were her remarks culturally insensitive? I believe yes. Were they racist? I don't think so. If she said the PEOPLE were 'X, Y, Z,' then yes, that would be racist. But she just decried their artwork as ugly - I don't think that racist.
    Last edited by Kaonohi; March 6th, 2013 at 02:45 PM. Reason: Clarity
    Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!
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    Spreading the virus of ALOHA.
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    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaonohi View Post
    But she just decried their artwork as ugly - I don't think that racist.
    Of course that's not racist. No one thinks it is. It's the words she used in expressing her artistic preferences that were an issue. She's free to hate Japanese art and to say so, but just not free to use "Jap", because that word is offensive. Like "kike" and "spick". But why are we still talking about it, since she apologized? It's over.
    Greg

  20. #20

    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by GregLee View Post
    But why are we still talking about it, since she apologized? It's over.
    Ah yes, the standard-escape "I'm sorry you are mad" apology (not, "I'm sorry what I did").
    Now run along and play, but donít get into trouble.

  21. #21

    Thumbs up Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaonohi View Post
    I consider you my friend partly because you are not afraid to confront me on such issues as this, and politely, I might add, as opposed to some who have disagreed with me.
    Thank you, ditto. Keeping things civil does help to keep the conversation going in a positive direction (even if disagreeing), and allows for each side to learn new ideas to explore.
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    Lightbulb Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Amati View Post
    Ah yes, the standard-escape "I'm sorry you are mad" apology (not, "I'm sorry what I did").
    I guess it all depends on who (of the target population) feels they were offended. I am not Japanese. I used to be offended by "haole," and frankly I still find it derogatory, but I'm over that. It's not - it's descriptive.

    Being singled out with a term you are unfamiliar with is disconcerting. If you are a bystander, you don't know what is offensive.

    Take her "apology" at face value. She said what she meant, and must live with it. Not my problem. She broadcasts what she is, and how she thinks. Judge accordingly.
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    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by GregLee View Post
    Of course that's not racist. No one thinks it is. It's the words she used in expressing her artistic preferences that were an issue. She's free to hate Japanese art and to say so, but just not free to use "Jap", because that word is offensive. Like "kike" and "spick". But why are we still talking about it, since she apologized? It's over.
    She apologized if anyone was offended, not because she thought she was wrong. A major difference.
    Obviously, she thinks she was right.... Not all of us feel that way.
    Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!
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    Kaʻonohiʻulaʻokahōkūmiomioʻehiku
    Spreading the virus of ALOHA.
    Oh Chu. If only you could have seen what I've seen, with your eyes.

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    Lightbulb Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie's Market View Post
    I'm actually more disappointed in the limp-wristed response by Speaker Joe Souki. He should have led the call for Hanohano to be formally censured by the House and to strip her of her position as chair of the Ocean Management committee. That Souki failed to do so and to act as though Hanohano's non-apology was sufficient reveals how fragile his hold on the Speakership is. He doesn't want to lose the support of a single member of his faction, even if one of them is a flat-out racist ... I sorta have to wonder how long he will be able to maintain control over his Democratic/Republican coalition. Not for very long, me thinks.
    Agreed. The real lesson here, is that when given an opportunity to demonstrate his power when it really mattered, Rep. Souki decided it wasnít worth the political risk to himself. Nothwithstanding, the net effect of this decision is that creates the appearance of tacit approval on his part. At least in the publicís mind. That in itself, is reason enough to believe that Soukiís leadership tenure will be short-lived. The guy is a career politician and one of the last deep-insider old boys on the block, anyway. The old guard canít last forever.

    We canít be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans.

    ó U.S. President Bill Clinton
    USA TODAY, page 2A
    11 March 1993

  25. #25

    Default Re: Hanohano's "culturally insensitive and racist criticisms"

    Quote Originally Posted by TuNnL View Post
    That in itself, is reason enough to believe that Souki’s leadership tenure will be short-lived. The guy is a career politician and one of the last deep-insider old boys on the block, anyway. The old guard can’t last forever.
    Interesting that you hold this observation. Calvin Say (Souki's predecessor) was first elected to the House in 1976, which makes the Palolo/St. Louis Hts. rep. the longest current serving lawmaker in the entire State Capitol. (Souki wasn't elected until '82.) In addition, Say was entrenched as the Speaker for 14 years, which is longer than anyone else who held that position since statehood. (Souki's previous tenure as Speaker lasted 6 years).

    Beyond length of service, the characterization of Souki's re-emergence to House leadership as being the "old guard" reasserting itself is also curious, given that Souki forged a bipartisan coalition, something that previous Speakers have never had to do over the last 30 years.

    If you ask me, Souki and Say are both "old boys."

    Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.
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