Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 58

Thread: Being Black in Hawaii...

  1. #1

    Question Being Black in Hawaii...

    Ok...so I have read the forums, and have read several threads about the negative experiences many white people have in regard to "racism" and "discrimination." What is the attitude towards Blacks (especially in Oahu)? I live in AZ so I am used to being in the minority, however, I am not used to racism and discriminition and would be extremely offended, hurt, and angry for being treated differently for being black. I have traveled around the world, so I am used to the curious stares I get from locals and natives. But, as a minority, I look at all my brown skin and black skin people as extended family... Just wondering if the people of Hawaii feel the same...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3,928

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    I'm half black...

    Everyone thinks I just look local...

    However, I do hear the occasiona N**** joke in my presence... and I love to turn around and say... thanks for insulting half of me!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    5,947

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    whites are in the minority here. But that don't mean they are all racially discriminated against.
    It's how you act and react island style.
    if you just chill with the locals, you will see most all here are colorblind.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    5,947

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Quote Originally Posted by manoasurfer123

    However, I do hear the occasiona N**** joke in my presence... and I love to turn around and say... thanks for insulting half of me!
    yea, but manoa, da odda nite when we wuz drinkin and talkin story, didn't you holler out and say to me:
    eh! You mah N*****ah!?"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Honolulu, HI, USA
    Posts
    7,327

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Welcome to HawaiiThreads, Alex.

    I'm not sure if I'm qualified to really answer, but that's never stopped me before. I can tell you that blacks are a minority here, too -- the only difference being, as you mentioned, that pretty much everyone else is, too.

    Of the friends and colleagues I have that are black, I think the most common expression of "differentness" they all joke about is the fact that the first question anyone asks them is, "Are you in the military?" (At UH, the question would be, "What sport do you play?") For the most part, I don't think it gets any more ignorant than that, and I'm confident most naieve comments or questions aren't meant maliciously.

    Frankly, if you were in the military, that would be the trait most likely to prompt stupid remarks and hostility, rather than the color of your skin.

    One thing that does take some newcomers by surprise is the overt nature of race issues. Hawaii's "PC" alarms have a completely different bunch of settings than those in Nevada, or Virginia. We talk, and joke, and gripe about ethnicities a lot. We still call Asians "Orientals." Honestly, we probably do and say more "racist" things... in the potentially false comfort that it's okay, because no one group is really is in any position to actually oppress anyone else.

    For better or worse, minorities are often given more leeway in crossing boundaries, and here, everyone's a minority... so we're all over the map. One way or another, we're all outnumbered, so there's a kind of quirky kinship that we all share.

    Suffice it to say, if you can keep your head on your shoulders and manage the best and worst of your fellow humans in Arizona, you'll do just fine in Hawaii. I will tell you that the adjustment is generally harder for someone coming from a place where they werecomfortably in the majority.

    Racism, discrimination, ethnic pride, race relations, and the myriad related issues are hot-button topics anywhere, and Hawaii is no different. Any discussion can get pretty colorful. I imagine that you know that message boards, blogs, and other online venues often become echo chambers and teapot tempests that don't represent the experiences and views of everyday people.

    That's not to say conflicts don't exist, but... take everything online with a grain of salt. Everyone has different experiences, and they're worth considering, but no anecdote or theory is universal.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    kahului
    Posts
    517

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    No worry, It`s all good bum-bye pau!!!
    Get plenty Hapa all ova da aina. Now day`s no metta, we all one ohana!!

    Racist all over da WORLD, but mo betta in HAWAII cause we get all kine and we all leave on one small Island in the middle of the sea...

    HAWAII ALOHA

    OGGBOY

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3,928

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Quote Originally Posted by kimo55
    yea, but manoa, da odda nite when we wuz drinkin and talkin story, didn't you holler out and say to me:
    eh! You mah N*****ah!?"
    Kimo...

    You my H**** N*****

    and when we was drinking? Online??? that will be the day... serve me a beer through the net...

    woo hoo....get to spell check PZ for once....

    what is naieve?

    "and I'm confident most naieve comments or questions aren't meant maliciously"

    just kidding pz... i know it's a typo

    I can see this is going to be a fighting thread for me as I stand up tall for all the Popolo's in Hawaii.... even though I'm Half!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Honolulu, Oahu
    Posts
    2,616

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Quote Originally Posted by manoasurfer123
    Kimo...

    You my H**** N*****

    and when we was drinking? Online??? that will be the day... serve me a beer through the net...

    Boys! Keep it on the sleep numbah bed!

    @

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Honolulu, Oahu
    Posts
    2,616

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Lex:
    What is your area of teaching? What grade level? I think you'd find the youngsters actually fascinated with a popolo teacher. My daughter's class had a popolo woman who was an aid for a challenging young boy.

    I think Hawaii is one of those places where African Americans can excel. I know several who do well here. I have friends who are in mixed marriages (we all do). I mean Caucasian women with Af-Am men. You see the heart. You imagine the strength and struggles. You know it can't be that easy. Their children are beautiful and fit well into the social landscape.

    I truly think that no matter what your race, if you are respectable, open minded about Hawaii and all it has to offer, if you contribute in a positive way to your job, your home, your neighborhood...if you deny the bad vibes and press on for good, you do well in the Islands.

    And if you teach, you have a direct line into the hearts of children. We fully expect that to be handled with care.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    I teach highschool English. Currently I teach in a predominatly white school. At first I thought it would be difficult, but to be honest, I think I get more respect because I am Black. And I think they are interested in me more because I have such a unique perspective.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Honolulu, Oahu
    Posts
    2,616

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    I would have to agree with that. I have to say that I wish more men taught. I think children should be in schools where men and women are represented equally, and see men and women work together in a professional environment. I think it would make the world a better place.

    Edit here:
    Let me add that I understand you are a black woman. It's so hard to write the right thing: woman of color? Af-Am? Black? Popolo? You wanna get it right, be friendly, open and inoffensive, so if I'm rough around the edges here, apologies!
    Last edited by lavagal; July 13th, 2006 at 11:20 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Wah-key'-key
    Posts
    10,390

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Quote Originally Posted by pzarquon
    Welcome to HawaiiThreads, Alex.

    I'm not sure if I'm qualified to really answer, but that's never stopped me before. I can tell you that blacks are a minority here, too -- the only difference being, as you mentioned, that pretty much everyone else is, too.
    [...]
    Yep! What PZ said! Welcome, Alex.

    The last I heard, the African-American population in Hawaii is hovering around 1%. And I echo the sentiments of the others; in summary, you'll get back what you put out.

    And, we sure need good teachers. Good luck with your dreams.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Quote Originally Posted by alexjp
    Ok...so I have read the forums, and have read several threads about the negative experiences many white people have in regard to "racism" and "discrimination." What is the attitude towards Blacks (especially in Oahu)? I live in AZ so I am used to being in the minority, however, I am not used to racism and discriminition and would be extremely offended, hurt, and angry for being treated differently for being black. I have traveled around the world, so I am used to the curious stares I get from locals and natives. But, as a minority, I look at all my brown skin and black skin people as extended family... Just wondering if the people of Hawaii feel the same...

    Aloha Alex,

    Like Pzarquon shared, our social yardsticks are calibrated differently.

    In the mainland, it is about skin color. Here, it is about cultural groups.

    A cultural group can be ethnic ties, which isle one is from, which side of that isle one is from, what sport one has spent his/her life in (e.g. hula, taiko drumming, rodeo and surfing)

    The vast majority of us whose families have been in Hawaii for more than four generations have five+ ethnic backgrounds. Most of us are Polynesian + Caucasian + Asian and our looks vary the whole rainbow.

    Also, those who have been here for those same four+ generations and who have Caucasian blood, do not have American Caucasian in our genealogy. We have as ancestors people who were missionaries, whalers, sailors and ranchers and they came from Europe. If they were American, their families were not on that side of the Atlantic for more than a generation or two.

    This lends perspective, because America's history isn't Hawai'is history, pre-20th century. Our timelines, critical events, government structure, social turmoils and civil unrests don't even run parallel. Granted, those of us schooled here have learned U.S. history, but the same cannot be said for those who come from the mainland.

    No one is a majority here. The host culture makes up 20% of the population (she says with a curtsey).

    Finally, it is in the attitude of the individual. Newcomers that eat sh*t do so because continent-living and island-living clash. The former is about the Self™. What *I* think, what *I* need, what *I* deserve, *my* rights. All Survivor, and a defense resting upon the plea of 'don't hate the player, hate the game'. People who can blink, brazenly say "f-you", and get into a car to drive on the interstate away from the problem go there. Further, those who want to pixelate in and pinpoint the precise moment when one is doing this/that in communicating (passive-aggressive! The fact that you make that comment is evidence of your sweeping generalizations marking your latent prejudices don't you see?! etc)--these are all forms of communication taught and passed along in America.

    I am NOT saying that the island mentality is better/more advanced/worse. It has all the similar markings of basal visceral reaction, albeit differently. The internet aside, island dwellers do not buck the system directly. We have a hard time being confrontational. If we create a problem, where are we going to go to run away from it? So shut up, don't make waves, help each other, eventually it will iron itself out, but it will happen quietly and with consensus. And we wince at the loud mouths who are always vocalizing for issues both real and percieved. These are the newcomers usually, and it isn't skin color that creates the division, but the different manner in which each is taught how to be a good neighbor, coworker, and citizen.

    I often think about these divisions because I believe our national and international immigrants who move to Hawai'i do so because they want better. That speaks to me of an inherent goodness upon which any friendship/business partnership can form. It is only in the details that we will wrestle with those tense social moments-- which really boils down to the fact that tact is taught differently outside of Hawai'i.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3,928

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    One observation that I have noticed...

    Is that are a lot more "African-Americans" seem to enjoy spending there time shopping at PearlRidge then say any other mall that I have noticed.

    Just a casual observation... I'm not sure why... perhaps because it is close to Military Housing?

    The first time there back in about 1999... I was in Awe

    I felt like I was back in the mainland... their was an unusually high amount of "blacks" in the mall compared to other malls I have visited on the Island.

    I went back there about 2 years ago... I had the same feeling...

    I thought... geez... I'm half black... maybe I've been shopping at the wrong shopping center all these years
    Last edited by damontucker; July 14th, 2006 at 10:32 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Manoa, are you talking about Pearlridge? I live a mile above it, shop there all the time, and I've never seen anything like you describe in my 28 years here.

    Alex, welcome.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3,928

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    You can tell how often I shop there Yes Pearl Ridge

    And everytime I go there... I truly say to myself... dang...

    so this where all the brothers been...

    That's the great thing about observation.... each of us observe different things.

    For me... Being half black and missing seeing alot of my black side of my family... I always notice when I see a large amount of my fellow N***** (that's gonna stir up a whole nother discussion... however... to keep it on topic...) I was quite shocked to see such a large proportion there... it was like a new found discovery of memory senses!

    I'm sorry if my observations are not the same as yours... however, from my 22 years in the mainland...being born in Compton, California...and moving to A white Society up in Norhthwest Washington... to Now Hawaii... I do notice these type of things....

    Truth be told... no matter one way or the other... I told everyone when this first thread went out that I would be very into it...

    Part of the beauty of HT is being able to post your observations and read what others observe.... obviously... we observe different things when we go there.
    I've never seen anything like you describe in my 28 years here.
    That's the beauty of living here so long...

    If I went to PearlRidge for 28 years... I wouldn't notice this either... however, this was my observation.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Well, maybe I'm color-blind to other people (Good!) or I'm so single-mindedly focused on what I'm after at the mall that I pay no attention to them (Um, bad!).

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Honolulu, HI, USA
    Posts
    7,327

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    I used to live about a mile up the street from Link, I think... and maybe I wasn't color-blind enough as a kid, 'cause I definitely noticed. Not in a, "How weird, how uncomfortable" way, but in a simple, "Huh, isn't that interesting" way. I definitely think proximity to mililtary bases and housing communities as being one reason.

    Up on that ridge, I'd rarely see black families -- almost everyone was Japanese at the time. Now living in Mililani, there are black families everywhere (as well as, of course, families of other colors). Military families of any color are certainly prevalent.

    Y'know... As I got older, I started to see Pearlridge as also a place for people -- of any color -- who thoughtthey were black... or otherwise idolized various stereotypical aspects of black culture. Right down to local punks cursing and spitting and using "the N word" in the misguided delusion that they were "one of them." I always wondered if it was some kind of regional cross-polination going on, or if it was just an expected result of the pop-culture popularity of "gangsta" traits and styles. There was a fair amount of it among all adolescents, but it seemed very amplified there.

    For some reason, I'm reminded of this discussion of the Popeye's Chicken location on Dillingham. Where it seemed everyone knew what scrivener was talking about, but no one wanted to say it.

    This is certainly an interesting discussion... the delicacy with which we're trying to approach it is both heartening and slightly amusing. I will say that while it's true blacks are a minority "like everyone else," I would say that blacks are much more of a minority (1 percent) here than... well, other minorities. Moreso than Caucasians, to be sure -- and it wouldn't be unfair to say that even despite a relatively large Caucasian population, they sometimes feel specifically targeted negatively for their skin color.

    So I really don't know how much many of us -- those that aren't black ourselves -- can speak to the experience! But we're trying, and trying to be helpful, so that's gotta count for something.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Wah-key'-key
    Posts
    10,390

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Quote Originally Posted by pzarquon
    [...]I will say that while it's true black are a minority "like everyone else," I would say that blacks are much more of a minority here than... well, other minorities.[...]
    True.

    Local advertising, be it Hawaii, the south, the midwest, Alaska...wherever...is skewed toward the demographics of the area and the product. Take time to really watch our local commercials and if you find yourself in another state, seriously watch their local commercials, too. National commercials skew towards the demographics for the product.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Obviously I'm going to have to be more observant at Pearlridge.

    The guy across the street from me is a neurosurgeon at Kaiser who happens to be black, but I only notice him when he goes jogging by and waves at me. His kids are all grown so I never see them either.

    I think I may be a tad self-centered.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawai'i
    Posts
    9,519

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Aloha Alex! I'm Auntie Lynn. First of all...Welcome to our Online Ohana at HT! I come from a very large Ohana. On my Potorican side - I have relatives who have very beautiful dark skin and those who pull on the Cherokee Indian side have stunning Blue/Grayish eyes, Fire Red Hair and skin as white as snow. Still others have shimmering bronze with ebony black hair.

    Ahhhh...the joy to go to Family Parties and to see the richness and diversity in which our ancestors gave to each of us ~ amazing!

    I have numerous neices and nephews who have married into other cultural backgrounds as well. What a mix-up group we are. No one mentions skin color or how any of us looks. We just love each other.

    Being Black in Hawaii? No problemo. Not from my Ohana and me!

    I make a great Ham Hock with Black Eyed Peas and Fresh Corn Bread to boot. Collard Greens on the side. I invite you and yours for a meal. PM me when you're ready.

    Auntie Lynn
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Pāhoa, Hawai'i
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Quote Originally Posted by alexjp
    Ok...so I have read the forums, and have read several threads about the negative experiences many white people have in regard to "racism" and "discrimination." What is the attitude towards Blacks (especially in Oahu)? I live in AZ so I am used to being in the minority, however, I am not used to racism and discriminition and would be extremely offended, hurt, and angry for being treated differently for being black. I have traveled around the world, so I am used to the curious stares I get from locals and natives. But, as a minority, I look at all my brown skin and black skin people as extended family... Just wondering if the people of Hawaii feel the same...
    We have plenty of black folks in the Puna district of the Big Island. As a matter of fact, retiring Rep. Helene Hale, D-Puna, just happens to be black and she's held one office or another here since 1954.
    Ā Ē Ī Ō Ū ā ē ī ō ū -- Just a little something to "cut and paste."

  23. #23

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Ok...so I have read the forums, and have read several threads about the negative experiences many white people have in regard to "racism" and "discrimination." What is the attitude towards Blacks (especially in Oahu)? I live in AZ so I am used to being in the minority, however, I am not used to racism and discriminition and would be extremely offended, hurt, and angry for being treated differently for being black. I have traveled around the world, so I am used to the curious stares I get from locals and natives. But, as a minority, I look at all my brown skin and black skin people as extended family... Just wondering if the people of Hawaii feel the same...
    I don't think you'll have any problems. As others here have already stated, most people are going to ask if you're in the military. If anything, locals will be more interested in you because you're black.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Honolulu, HI, USA
    Posts
    7,327

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah K
    We have plenty of black folks in the Puna district of the Big Island. As a matter of fact, retiring Rep. Helene Hale, D-Puna, just happens to be black and she's held one office or another here since 1954.
    Just goes to show, this stuff is only skin deep. I've always respected Helene Hale and enjoyed her occasional cantankerous riffs. Someone I've watched work, off and on, since my days at UH. And all this time, I had no idea she was African American. Wonderful! Here's a nice write-up on her legacy, "a good pain in the 'okole."

  25. #25

    Default Re: Being Black in Hawaii...

    Quote Originally Posted by 1stwahine
    Ahhhh...the joy to go to Family Parties and to see the richness and diversity in which our ancestors gave to each of us ~ amazing!

    I have numerous neices and nephews who have married into other cultural backgrounds as well. What a mix-up group we are. No one mentions skin color or how any of us looks. We just love each other. Auntie Lynn
    Auntie, your post brought tears to my eyes (in a good, proud-to-live Hawaii, happy-to-be-part-of-your-online-ohana sort of way).

    Thank you! I'm sure Alex -- and others who have and haven't yet posted -- feel welcomed by your aloha.
    **************************************
    I know a lot less than what there is to be known.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •