GonzoF1 wrote:One thing that may not be that widely known is the amount of rampant racism and discrimination that still exists there. If you are not a native Hawaiian, good luck getting a job or being treated like anything but a second-class citizen.
First sentence is right, second sentence is dead wrong.* It's actually the other way round.* The "native" Hawaiians are very near the bottom of the economic scale and other than a more recent move toward trying to get "reparations" like the native tribes and blacks on the mainland, they are still at or near the bottom of the economic scale.* This was true in 1955 when we moved over there, it was true in 1979 when I left, and according to people I used to work with who have just recently moved to the PNW, it is still true today.
The "scale" in Hawaii goes like this, from the top down.
1. Chinese-Americans who actually own everything-- land, companies, banks, etc.
2.* Caucasians (haoles) who manage and run everything.
3.* Japanese-Americans who do everything in terms of office jobs, store clerks, broadcast engineers, etc.
4.* When I lived there the Filipinos were moving up the social scale as their position as the agricultural labor force was filled by Portuguese.* Agriculture is almost completely gone now, so I'm not sure today where the Filipinos and Portuguese sit on the economic and social scale.* Probably about even with the Japanese-Americans I'm guessing.
5.* Samoans.* Hawaii has a large Samoan population.* They were the "tough" ones who you don''t mess with or go into their neighborhoods at night.* The ones who work tend to have menial jobs.* When I lived there they had an absolute lock on the palm tree trimming business.* This is a major industry in Hawaii because palm trees on public property cannot achieve maturity with their coconuts because of the extreme danger to people below if the the coconuts start to fall.* So the coconuts have to be removed manually and given the vast number of them and the year-round growing season, trimming them a full-time profession.* The business is pretty lucrative and when I was there anyone who was not Samoan and who tried to get in on this business simpy "disappeared."* But outside of the tree-trimming work, Samoans didn't do much.
6.* Hawaiians.* The people who can trace their roots back to the Hawaiians who inhabited the islands first enjoy a very high social status because the islands' history is much revered by everyone.* But they were at the absolute bottom of the economic scale and from what I hear still are as a generality.* There are a number of reasons for this.
Obviously people from these six "groups" marry each other and their kids reflect all sorts of things.* So the common term for describing anyone who wasn't obvioulsy a caucasian (called haole over there, which is the Hawaiian word for white) is "local."** It's not a derogatory term, it's a way of physically describing somebody.* "He's a local guy," means that he's not a haole.
In the broader context "local" means an established resident.* So if your friend's statement is modified to read, "If you are not a local, good luck getting a job...." that is correct.* "Local" includes everyone listed above.* And your friend is correct in that, for the most part, locals automatically don't like newcomers.* Obviously a newcomer can live there long enough to earn "local" status at which point they are one and will dislike the newcomers as much as all the other locals.
And of course the absolute bottom of the barrel are tourists.* It's ironic that the same people who today provide the bulk of the state's income (they didn't when I first moved there, the military did) are the most despised people on the planet in Hawaii.* The locals aren't stupid--- they treat the tourists nice to their faces (usually) because they know what pays the bills.* But outside of that, tourists are despised with a ferocity you have to experience to believe.* I and the people I worked with in television were no different.
So... melting pot of the Pacific, as the Hawaii Visitor's Bureau used to say, it ain't.