The very definition
Because I despise racism in all its forms, I feel compelled to respond to Lottie Tagupa’s letter entitled “Since when is haole a racist slur?” (WHT, March 3).
The word “haole” technically may not be a racial slur according to the ancient Hawaiian derivation, but it is a slur nonetheless.
To refer to someone as a “haole,” is to depict someone without breath, without compassion, without mercy. According to Leningrad Elarionoff, in a letter that was published in WHT several years ago, which I clipped and saved, “Haole is not a racial term … (it) is a term that describes an attitude. It is not a complimentary term.”
However, having lived in Hawaii for the past 15 years among people of all races, I can honestly claim I have never once heard the word “haole” used in any context whatsoever except in clear and obvious reference to people of one particular race or skin color, whether intended as a slur or simply a racial descriptor, and usually both.
Much like the horrific word “nigger” in the southern United States in the 19th century was used by many nonracist citizens simply to describe a person of black skin or African descent, the word “haole” has transcended its original usage and, regardless of whatever ancient meanings it once conveyed, has now taken on a more subtle yet equally sinister connotation.
When Ms. Tagupa suggests it is impossible for someone who “grew up on the mainland and was educated in England” to have any concept of or ability to “define what aloha is,” that smacks of racism of a very unenlightened and narrow-minded person.
Is it really impossible for non-Hawaiians to understand aloha? And if so, why? Are all Hawaiians somehow genetically the only race with the ability to understand the concept of aloha? Because when you start claiming that only one particular race has exclusive rights to any fundamental human characteristic (intelligence, athleticism, compassion, etc), well, guess what, Ms. Tagupa, that’s the very definition of racism.
I have had a good view of Alii Drive and all that goes on there —a lot to intimidate timid tourists, i.e., panhandling, pot smoking, drinking, foul language, etc.
The recently launched police foot patrol is money very well spent. Nothing can make tourists feel more comfortable than sight of a uniformed patrol officer.
I would like to encourage more of these patrols. It is a great way to grow tourism, Hawaii’s lifeblood.
On the same subject, the Kailua Village Business Improvement District has yellow-shirted bicycle patrols. These brave men and ladies confront troublemakers and reason with them. They have successfully quieted disturbances near my condo.
I wish to thank them and the county police for helping to make this such a wonderful place to live.