In regards to the commentary piece “White-on-white” (Tribune-Herald, Your Views, Feb. 9), I understand Ms. Edwards’s feelings. Though, I disagree with the suggestion of “haole” being a racial slur. One should be more offended by being called “dumb.”
“Haole” in the Hawaiian language means “foreigner.” Technically, all not born of Hawaiian ancestry would be considered haole. Though, the most common reference is to Caucasians. It’s a local and very common way we humans choose to further identify people. In the not-so-distant past, it was even more common to do so. I remember doing research in old Hilo newspapers, and the news articles often used racial names or slangs to identify people.
There were headlines to articles such as, “Filipino Man Drowns,” “Japanese Man Arrested,” “Hawaiian Man Wins Race,” or “Haole Man Is Missing.” This way of identifying is done all around the world. Though, I admit certain slangs or slurs are hurtful and offensive because of its origin and what it referenced. For example, a Japanese person may be offended being called a “Jap.” A Vietnamese person may take offense to “gook or chink.” Or, as many know, black people take offense to being called “nigger.” This is because it references a dark time in history for that particular race.
I think many in our state have become overly sensitive or dramatic when it comes to the word “haole.” Would it have been any less offensive if Ms. Edwards were called “dumb Caucasian” or “dumb non-local”? What if she was called “dumb woman or lady”? Would that be considered sexist? Maybe the woman in the car yelling should have just yelled “dumb,” “stupid” or “idiot.” Would that have made this situation less offensive and hurtful?
I feel this type of oversensitivity or dramatization of certain situations leads to the escalation of racial tensions. The word “haole” existed way before all of us living here existed. Some just need to be enlightened of the local culture and its past, so they can better understand and view things with a different perspective.
Anger over break-in
The recent break-in at Iolani Palace in Honolulu, the only royal palace in the United States, has gotten many people, both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians, in an uproar. The break-in damaged the original glass on the front door and glass window, which can never be replaced.
If convicted, both male and female suspects should be tarred and feathered and put on public display on King Street fronting the palace.