I had an interesting experience recently while perusing a shop at Ala Moana. True story. This is mine. Ha. I always wanted to write something lidat. Kay, now read on.
A young man, I would guess heâ€™s in his mid-twenties, was explaining to some people why they were haoles and what the word “haole” means. Let’s just call him “Dude”. So “Dude” was from another country and I’ll leave out which one but it is worth mentioning for what you’ll read shortly. Basically he was telling these people, who were from the continent (doesnâ€™t that have a better ring than mainland) that they were haole, he was just a foreigner, and that there were two kinds of haoles: “those from the mainland” and “local haoles” and that both were different. At least he got that latter portion right… He then reiterated why he was not haole; he was just a foreigner, etc.
So there I am, JMAW, observing, wondering if I should drop prophetic pidgin on “Dude” considering his mis-education of the continent dwellers. But eh, I neva like cause I had gone in there in the first place to speak with the young woman working there because we had earlier conversation had been cut short. And she had sparkling eyes. So, I’m just chilling looking at trinkets and things when said beautiful woman then asks me if what “Dude” was saying was true.
Dun dun dun!
There you have it. The scene is set. Letâ€™s pretend weâ€™re watching UFC and take a look at “the tale of the tape.”
In the red corner, wearing the oblivious trunks, Random “Dude” and in the blue corner, with 100% Local, Protect Pidgin, and Shoots etched across his being, love for Hawaii emanating from his very essence, JMAW, hapa, with ancestry that dates back to the Kingdom, no Hawaiian blood but descendants of Hawaiian nationals.
There you have it. The tale of the tape. Continuing with UFC, “Who will win this war of attrition?”
Deep inside my inner moke was waiting to be engaged because I came out swinging with historical verbals about Captain Cook and his peeps arriving and because of how they looked, pasty and wiggy (what? they were powdered and wore wigs, laugh if anything), the Hawaiians thought that these were not men and haole was used to described them because it meant “no breath”. He tried to cut me down and say I was wrong but his logic didn’t add up and beautiful sparkling eyed wahine had my back. He ended up conceding in some way that he had heard that story but his story was true as well and he lived in Waianae and Makaha and his current roommate was a Hawaiian and that he loved Polynesians and yeah. Long story short.
After all was said and done and he told us a story about why he didn’t like the “N” word that crops up in rap music because of it had represented a slur and negative history, somewhat similar to the origin story of haole. He then said to me: “You know you’re a haole right!”
At times, it’s bad enough when local people call me haole because itâ€™s a constant reminder of the people who think of it with disdain. I grew up with that shit like I had some stench coming off of me. I had the experience once of being called a haole by one of my former staff, himself a continent dweller. My local staff explained everything to him. He recanted.
But being called a haole by someone not even from here. On some level, unacceptable, crazy, inane. I don’t know. I think dat equals one false crack or something along those kine lines. Help me out here and explain how that should feel because…
I just took it with a smile. He didn’t know. And if he did know that it could be a slur and used it anyway, what does that matter? None of us know what it’s like for another. He was just trying to fit in, wow the crowd maybe. Who knows? I don’t and quite frankly found it all comical on another level. I’ll just take this as a lesson to continue to just learn as much as I can.
Learn, baby, learn.