I arrived in Hawaii in 1961 as a young man to work on space projects, including John Glenn’s first orbital flight. I resided on the island of Kauai. I was struck by the beauty and friendliness of the local people. This was what I later learned was Aloha. If you passed someone in a food market and smiled you alway got a smile in return. They were accepting of strangers and tried to make you welcome. A genial and happy people.
To be clear on my perspective, I live in a family with native Hawaiian blood. My wife and, of course, our children and grandchildren have Hawaiian blood. I have enjoyed many hours with my Hawaiian relatives and friends and respect them greatly. Our family has participated in the sport of Hawaiian outrigger canoe racing and I have fond Aloha for all our paddling friends.
Fast forward to today. Unfortunately, there are a number of “local” people, some with Hawaiian blood and some not, who walk around with a perennial scowl, which intensifies in the presence a haole. This phenomenon is somewhat related to geographical location. Outer island and rural areas seem to have a higher occurrence of this social behavior.
These folks have swallowed the Kool Ade produced by so-called Hawaiian activists who have convinced them of their victim status. Anything repeated often enough eventually becomes true to the listener. For example, you have been told that you have been denied something by the actions of government, corporations or a group of individuals and you should be angry. Your land was stolen. The annexation was illegal. The Kingdom still exists. You deserve reparations.
Victimhood is powerful. If a group; racial, political, gender, etc.. buys into the victim message it has several ramifications. Primarily, it removes responsibility for their life situation. Once they can blame another entity for their problems , it removes their motivation to fix them.
Victimhood also instills a guilt complex in those assigned the blame. People who feel guilty because they, or their ancestors, may be the cause of the plight of the victim, often will treat the victim’s cause as a sacred cow, not to be challenged or discussed.
Victimhood is also a great tool for organizers and can result in creating intense enthusiasm for a particular cause. People like Al Sharpton make a living this way. It’s the “us against them” paradigm..
The selling of victimhood to Hawaiians began in the 1970s. The University of Hawaii hired a known radical to head the Department of Hawaiian Studies. Haunani Trask was able to propagandize a generation of Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians by teaching revisionist history and vocalizing her hatred of the United Sates and haoles (white people). Her hateful sermons showed no respect for leaders or anyone else. She was able to convince large numbers of impressionable students that they had things stolen from them by the United States and the haole. As the disciples moved out into the community they began to spread the message of stolen land and culture by the whites. They spoke of the “plight” of Hawaiians.
Their “plight” is no different from any of the residents of Hawaii. Hawaiians have all the advantages and rights of non-Hawaiians. All have the opportunity to succeed or fail. Importantly, Hawaiians have many more benefits and rights not available to non-Hawaiians.
Today, supporters of the movements appear at community meetings ready to do battle. Often in garb they believe is representative of the days before western contact.They do not permit debate and seek to intimidate those who might disagree. They have had success in sinking projects like the Super Ferry and are now working to kill the new Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. The media and the legislators treat the movement(s) like a sacred cow and are afraid to admit that it is ultimately destructive to the social and economic fabric of Hawaii.
Many Hawaiians do not support the movement(s). They deplore the anti American rhetoric and the abject racist behavior toward non-Hawaiians, particularly the haole. There are around ten different groups associated with the sovereignty (separatist) movement. Thus, there are large gaps in opinion concerning the methodology to achieve their goals and the desired outcomes.
You can be sure the propaganda will continue. Slick TV ads. Protests with maximum coverage by the media. But I still believe Aloha exists and will one day rise up again. And I think the Hawaiians are the ones that will make it happen.