The noted Rory Parker on racism in paradise!
Get ready to ponder you fun loving Hawaiian. Is Slates a haole? Think about it, sure he owns land on the North Shore, multiple Pipe champ and winner of the Eddie. However, he is from Florida, certainly would not categorize himself as a local, and owns homes all over the world. Hmm sounds like….
mahalo you fucking surfer,
One Confused Honkey
The dreaded h-word! My eyes! My ears! How could you do this to me?
I’m fascinated with the term, “haole.” I spend most days playing with words, pay a lot of attention to how people react to them. And the h-bomb is gold because of the multiple ways it can applied and understood.
If you spend some time clicking around the internet you’ll find plenty of people arguing about the word. Should it have an ‘okina? Does it mean “without breath?” Is it a racial slur?
At its simplest, colloquial, level it means “white.” Or caucasian, if the use of color confuses you. And that in itself is not an insult.
But context is gorgeous and a subtle tone shift can turn it from descriptor into pure venom.
“Do you know Steve? Haole guy, works at Bubba’s Burgers?”
“Did I tell you about my new neighbor? That fucking haole cut down my plumeria tree while I was at work. Says he’s scared his dog will eat the flowers.”
“Some fucking haole up near Princeville built a gate across the public beach access.”
You can’t help being a haole. But you sure as hell can avoid being a fucking haole.
Now, I know the rebuttal. “It’s still racist. You shouldn’t use someone’s skin color as an insult.”
Blah, blah, blah. I hear it a lot. Too often. Usually once everyone has had a few drinks and every shade of brown has gone home so all the honkeys can spout off without checking the room.
Motherfucker, you’re a professional earning well into six figures. Some teenager shouting an insult from a passing car does not make you Rosa fucking Parks. A rude waitress is not endemic racism.
“Yeah, but locals hate white people.”
Since when? How much effort have you put into making local friends? Oh, you’ve got a few? But they’re the good ones, right?
Do some locals resent haole transplants? Of course. We’ve earned it. The white hand has not been gentle in Hawaii.
Even beyond the outright imperialism, it’s frustrating to grow up somewhere and watch a bunch of affluent invaders buy up everything. Price you out of your hometown. Get their greedy mitts on every shred of available land and refuse to let go.
If you grew up in a LA beach suburb you’ve experienced the Silicon Valley invasion. Wasn’t fun, was it?
If you move, or travel to, somewhere and find yourself in constant conflict with its residents you should take a long hard look at your own behavior. Blaming everyone around you without trying to assimilate is something a fucking haole does.
Yes, Slater is a haole. I am a haole. You most likely are too. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to be proud of. It just is.
Just don’t be a fucking haole. Don’t drive down Kam Hwy ten miles below the speed limit taking pictures out the sunroof of your rental. Don’t try to cut in line at the market. Don’t snake someone’s parking space because you’re in a hurry. Don’t complain because your food is taking to long. Don’t paddle out at Rockies and act like you’re in an NSSA explorers heat. Don’t look for persecution in your every interaction.
Caught in a jam? Stuck in a pickle? Send your life questions to [email protected]. Due to volume Rory cannot respond to every letter.