Want to Be Less Racist? Move to Hawaii

The “aloha spirit” may hold a deep lesson for all of us.

Comments: 217

  1. Sorry. First, we are all mixed, at least in the US. All of us. Second, being non-racist is an attitude grounded in empathy and nurtured through transcendence beyond self.

  2. We are always affected by environment, and the cultural attitudes within it. The article speaks of this. We are also affected by our parents, and friends, who also are affected by environment.

  3. @GM The article argues your second point in particular very convincingly. Immersion in a polycultural environment fosters this kind of awareness and empathy.

  4. @GM Sorry for what? Of course we are all mixed. In some cases it's virtually invisible; in others, obvious-which is a jumping-off point for the article.

  5. As a bi-racial American who felt very at home in HI, the welcome one experiences in HI is not just about race but it's far more nuanced. There is a spirit, a level of harmony and respect that one experiences in general (though I would argue that Haoles (generally white visitors) are not treated as well). Culture is the difference not racial make up.

  6. @Chris Please name your two so-called races and tell me if you believe that each is so pure that individuals can be assigned to the one or the other without any uncertainty. This short reply connects to a submission awaiting review. It is based on a presentation by the genome giant Svante Pääbo at a Nobel Prize seminar about 5 years ago. The video he appeared in was not kept on line. Only-NeverInSweden.blogspot.com Citizen US SE

  7. In addition to all the marvelous insights in the article, it is also relevant that Hawaii is the most Buddhist state. That is a religion that sees all sentient beings as having the same nature, regardless of form.

  8. @Casey fair point, but let's also not forget that the Buddhist majority in Myanmar has been persecuting Muslims for many years.

  9. @Casey Perspective ... the state is 63% Christian, 8% Buddhist. 1/4 "none". What's your point?

  10. The portraits are absolutely stunning.

  11. Categorizing people is simply what everyone does. Race is but one category. I’m no expert but it seems all people and cultures, not just this country, attach labels to everyone and everything. We are very uncomfortable when someone or something is not categorized. We solve that by either creating another label or widening the definition of an existing one. Once labeled we then debate the merit of the label. Stereotypes are formed, assumptions made, us vs. them, good vs. evil is all based on this. In many cases the label doesn’t fit but the label sticks. We seem uncomfortable as a species when we cannot categorize and find commonality, valid or not. Protecting one’s label has led to war, racism, discrimination, persecution, etc. Living in peace can be translated into finding common ground, forming another label and stereotype to which we feel comfortable. I doubt this will ever change because it seems inherent to the human condition and is probably true in all species to one degree or another.

  12. Great article! So well written and the photos are gorgeous. Well done!

  13. I live in a mixed race island country too, Jamaica. A large number of mixed race persons live here. There’s a long history of mixing among blacks, whites, Chinese, Portuguese, and increasingly East Indians. There is also a large legacy European Jewish population as well as Syrians. The term “One Love” is derived from this mix. The views of race and class here are different than held on the US mainland. This topic is much more frankly discussed by all people. It’s not to say biases aren’t expressed, but the discussions are lively, open and enlightening. A like article about Jamaica’s diversity would be instructive. Hawaii’s diversity has different cultural attributes than most other islands. As for Hawaii, the article is a feel good piece, not analysis. There are substantial quality of life metrics missing. - FBI crime statistics, both compared to other states and cities, as well as growth trends. Perhaps adjusted by the deletion of certain mainland high crime cities. Show values, ranking and comparative growth rates with other states, or more telling, counties. - Changes in social welfare statistics, mainland comparative and trend. - Taxes and changes in rates. - Education; graduation rates, SAT scores, free breakfast program participation rates. - Economic development issues of what industries and growth rates. Unemployment rate, GDP/person, family formation rates, net worth/person. - Health; longevity, birth rates, mortality rates, - GINI metri

  14. @Networthy And the Governmental attitude is that Gay men shouldn't exist. Some Jamaicans take this attitude literallly.

  15. Not to exaggerate or minimize the problems in Canada, but many of these attitudes and ideas are reflected in the Canadian idea of "multiculturalism." In its ideal form, that means that diverse people can be different but still united under the common idea and identity of being "Canadian." Canada's concept of multiculturalism is still, very much, an experiment and a work in progress. But there are many ways in which it has "worked." Canada is the most ethnically diverse country in the world - its major cities, Toronto and Vancouver - are majority non-white. Yet racial divisions in those places, while real, have not translated into institutionalized violence as they have in the US or "race riots" as sometimes happens in much less diverse places in Europe. The idea of tolerance is a Canadian value that has worked well. It is also telling that the place in Canada where ethnic/tribal politics has been widely accepted as part of mainstream politics - Quebec - is also the most overtly racist place in Canada, as Quebec's recent laws against religious minorities indicates. That law was pushed by the bigotry of rural Quebec, the place that is monochromatic white/French Canadian and has been rejected in the multicultural/diverse city of Montreal.

  16. I agree with you. Quebec has always been racist and has become more so in the last 4 years. Pretty rich that native Quebecois love to brag about their tolerance but don’t walk the talk. A lot of people in Montreal push back, and a lot of people, especially the younger ones, embrace it. It makes me very sad indeed. I’ve visited Hawaii twice and immediately had the feeling I was not in the USA due to the warmth of the people. I don’t know about their individual ancestry but I feel that to be called Hawaiian is a true compliment.

  17. @Shaun Narine "There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada." -- Justin Trudeau. To me that sounds like differences are tolerated, but values and politics are not really discussed or worked out. It's very hard to say what it means to be Canadian. My experience with non-Quebecois Canadians is generally they do not like talking politics as much as Americans. People need to really mix and interact in order to avoid dysfunctional democracy, and Hawaiians are doing that better than almost anyone.

  18. @Shaun Narine, you still minimized the racial problems in Canada. Ask black people in Toronto, who have been protesting police violence if we have institutionalized violence. Ask Indigenous people, all over the country, but focus on places like Winnipeg where the numbers are concentrated. Read the MMIWG report. We don’t riot. It doesn’t mean we are happy.

  19. Please don't move to Hawaii, it's a beautiful place & habitable land is finite, sandwiched between the ocean & the mountains. Don't turn it into an even more crowded urban area than it already is. I lived there in the late 60s & 70s. It's true that race was a less contentious issue, perhaps because whites were a minority & there were very few blacks. The Japanese were the largest ethnic group. Political correctness was not a big thing, people did hold stereotypical views of other ethnicities, & ethnic cliches formed the basis of the occasional joke, but I always felt that the emphasis the Japanese culture places on civility & group cohesiveness prevented things from getting out of hand, plus no one group had the critical mass to completely dominate things. Also, the widespread economic growth after statehood was helpful. Not all paradise, as Native Hawaiians will tell you, but pretty nice. Hope things haven't changed much since then.

  20. Wow. This article nailed it. We have spent parts of 15 out of the last 25 winters in Hawaii. And we are traveling from the US east coast. We have gently suggested to our kids who started coming here as babies that a more "efficient" winter break would be Florida or the Caribbean. And their consistent response has been a resounding NO!. And not because of the spectacular physical beauty. And not because of the active volcano. Because of the people who represent the best in America. My innate New York cynicism melts within hours of immersion in the "aloha spirit." It's just so easy and natural because everyone is something else. Yup, they make fun of everyone including the tourists in a good natured way, work with each other, marry each other and depend on each other. Not paradise but pretty close. A glimpse of a brighter American future that is sometimes difficult to imagine amidst the nationalistic, xenophobic torrent emanating from the White House and its echo chamber. Demographics are not on their side. Their time will pass!

  21. Fantastic piece. Wonderful photographs.

  22. Loved the photos, so much beauty. On a slightly different note, the mixing of 'race' is what is good for us, although not necessarily the most fecund. The history of humans, their migrations, their mixing, has created many great things. The meeting of culture often leads to an explosion of ideas, as does cross-pollination across intellectual domains. Isolation is typically impoverishment.

  23. I am a mentor in a scholarship program for teens that would not have the means to attend college without it. I meet with my "mentee" weekly, waiting for her in the courtyard of the high school. When the bell chimes, hundreds of students flood the area and look like the people whose pictures are in this article. During a program put on by this scholarship program, four former participants described their path to the success they had achieved. One woman said that on her first day of college was the first time she heard the N word aimed at her. In South Florida and the archipelago islands extending south there is an amalgam of African American, Latinx, and Caucasian people. It is when people from the north, escaping the inhospitable climate of the north, flood the area that one really is confronted with the prevalence and privilege of the white culture and society.

  24. And I would also note the meme, perhaps more relevant today than ever, that in a few decades, "we'll all be brown." That's something that always comes to mind when I look at--for example--class pictures taken over the decades at public schools in Hawaii. I recall even when I was in high school, too many years ago, that kids regarded their gradual accretion of ethnicities as something to be proud of, a gain rather than a loss of identity.

  25. Hawaii, racial mixing, a model for overcoming racism? The single biggest reason for the concept of race being developed was the European expansion by ship across the world, and this circumnavigation gave birth to a great deal of mappings, schematics, classifications, indeed to the birth of entire sciences. Race was just one of the classifications, and Europeans put themselves at the top, the focal point in all their classifications; they were the conquerors, the natural scientists above the animals, and the preeminent among the humans. The less likely a people, a race, ethnic group,--whatever--was able to expand into space, across the world in the past, the less able to develop classificatory, mapping schemes of all types. Sure, white people today are considered historically the biggest racists, but white people also linked up the entire world by which no conception of overcoming racism would be even possible. Thus Hawaii. Whites crossed the world by ship, invented all sorts of classifications, among them race, but also brought different people together, brought them into proximity by which racial mixing and overcoming of race could occur. Before a painter can learn to paint there has to be a framework of palette of colors. Now of course in the world racism is considered among the worst of sins and Hawaii, among other places, points the way forward... But a question remains: How should scientific classification, mapping, etc. proceed in the future to avoid evil?

  26. @Daniel12 - This is a very rare kind of thinking in the 1000s of comments I have read in articles that say they are about "race" but almost always are about racism. Most columnists and most of the 1000s of comments I have read in this area seem to firmly believe that the US Census System for classifying Americans will be with us forever and that each individual must be seen as belonging to one race or even less meaningful to two "races" so called bi racial. Kamala Harris is a perfect example. The Times refers to as black or African American but her lines of descent are given in my Swedish newspaper as Indian and Jamaican, in other words two geographic areas with a variety of ethnicities. If she were in Europe or in Africa I can guarantee - partly thanks to Thomas Chatterton Williams work - that she would not be seen as black or sub-Saharan African. You close with a question that has been framed fully by former USCB Director Kenneth Prewitt. Search and you will find his book. We are all mixed, but our mixing is not always as evident on the surface as it is in Hawaii. In short, the USCB system teaches Americans that "race" is a permanent condition and even Harvard Admissions seems to believe in essentialism, that if you belong to "race" A, your behavior can be predicted. The Race/Related Newsletter won't touch the basic thinking presented in this excellent OpEd as I know from begging them to do so. Only-NeverInSweden.blogspot.com Citizen US SE

  27. @Daniel12 wrote: "But a question remains: How should scientific classification, mapping, etc. proceed in the future to avoid evil?" We have plenty of guidance for that one: "Judge not lest ye be judged." or, more recently: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." HTH

  28. @NorthernVirginia Yes, Martin Luther King said that and that is my position. When you meet a new person what you will need to know if he or she is possibly to become your friend is what is in her mind, what is on her mind, and how she treats other people. Science, first and foremost genome research, but not only genome research can tell us more and more about how migration, climate and environmental conditions, and endless mixing accounts for the multi-dimensional diversity shown in the photographs that accompany this text. Only-NeverInSweden.blogspot.com Citizen US SE

  29. Hawaiians exhibit an almost palpable connection to Nature and in the face of that, racial hierarchies melt away. But economic opportunities are not so evenly spread. Race-based economic disparities and racial resentments do exist in Hawaii, not to the extent as the mainland, but nevertheless, still.

  30. Beautiful photos. Beautiful people.

  31. My family consists of a very large number of mixed ethnicities (and religions or non-religions). It seems to matter little. Family comes first. I know that perception of race is not inborn. We just need to avoid the temptation to categorize people by ethnicity. My ethnicity is not at the forefront of my mind, nor has the ethnicity of my friends, family, or the person I have just met, even though I am clearly aware of differences. Differences are not, however, relevant to the quality of the person. Frankly, I find them, if anything, interesting. I have always hoped that we see a lot more mixing. I have seen it over the past 50 or so years, and I applaud it. It is tough to be racist when your cousins represent a wide range.

  32. During the first year of busing in Boston Public Schools, the racial categories of Black, White and Other were ordered by federal and local authorities so integration could take place. People who identified as neither Black or White were then identified as Other, and later that category was divided by new categories based on federal guidelines. No category for some time in Boston Public Schools included mixed race combinations as a possible choice. The categories then and in many places in America have been limited and not kept current with the population’s mixtures whether self-identified or not.

  33. I am a native New Yorker. I began visiting HI something 30 years ago. My grandparents where born in Spain, Sicily and Portugal. I have an olive completion and was often asked if I was Hawaiian. I always wished to this day that I could have said yes, I am Hawaiian, that is what the Aloha spirit means to me. You want to be a part of that most beautiful place and people I have ever encountered. Aloha!

  34. Excellent article. It helped me gain a better understanding of an island I've never visited and knew little about. Providing an historical perspective on the island and its inhabitants was an eye opener for me as I had no idea Hawaii was so diverse. Living in the Northeast I have allowed my surroundings to frame and train my thinking regarding race and often, as a black woman, have both felt stereotyped and have stereotyped others. How nice would it be for someone to draw out my nuances instead of making assumptions based on appearance!

  35. Interesting article which raises at least three interesting questions to which I don't have answers. First, we're told by scientists that all humans originated in Africa and so were we all one race and color at that point? Second, if so, how did racial variation take place and if so, does Darwin's natural selection theory explain it? Third. is racism a culture specific mechanism to protect a specific culture (e.g., we like people most like ourselves)?

  36. @Mike 1. Yes. But it is wrong to see any "species" as essential. Every "species" is a gene pool of individuals with huge variations in between. 2. Geographic isolation. If a "species" migrates to two different geographical locations that are isolated from each other, they also start evolving in different ways. If they are separated long enough the species may have evolved so much that two different species have been created that cannot mate with each other. 3. Yes. When we where hunter-gatherer societies there where a lot of distrust between different tribes fighting over the same resources.

  37. @Mike I’ve been reading a few books on anthropology as a side hobby, so I’ll share the perspectives I’ve learned from them. Correct me I’m wrong! 1. Genetic evidence shows that the oldest components of our genome originated in Africa, suggesting that’s where Homo Sapiens first evolved before migrating outwards. By extension, the argument is made, as you alluded to, that Homo sapiens was a single ‘color’ and ‘race’ at that point in time. 2. Racial variation after the initial evolution of Sapiens occurred as a result of environmental and other factors. For example, lighter skin with less pigmentation was an evolutionary response to the decreased sunlight, so as to be able to collect and produce more Vitamin D. The lateral epicanthal fold that causes the ‘almond eyes’ seen in faces that are far eastern is thought to have emerged from a common mongolian origin as a protective mechanism against dust/sand, with the hypothesis that those geographical areas commonly had sandstorms. (I have to find the citation for this.) 3. I think how you see race is a question of perspective, which definitely emanates from your surrounding environment and culture. My initial views toward race were shaped by cultural influences that my parents and community exerted, but they now differ after having done more reading into the anthropological history of our species, so I imagine the case would be similar for others as well. Racism perpetuates itself when it’s stuck in an echo chamber.

  38. Puerto Rico should not be overlooked. Puerto Ricans are highly diverse, both in color and sexual identity. Thousands of the islanders have moved to the mainland. They add to the already the upwardly mobile community bringing more positive energy to smash negative stereotyping. The Puerto Rican community is a breath of fresh air for harmony in diversity.

  39. You don’t have to go from Hawaii to Dartmouth to feel very much in the minority. I’m white and work in Flushing Queens NY aka Queens Chinatown. I’m usually the only Caucasian in a sea of Asians at any given time. For me, this is deep submersion to be surrounded by the majority having a different language, food and culture everywhere. It was a real eye opener to be in the minority for the first time in my life.

  40. This brought back a lot of memories of when I was an elementary school student from New England, transplanted to Hawaii for several years in the late 60's. As the author mentions, being in the majority until then I never thought of myself as white, and all of the sudden I was labeled 'Haole'. It was mostly done in good spirit, but never the less, it was new and uncomfortable to be described by skin color alone, and its a feeling that has stuck with me and made me (I hope) less quick to stereotype others. Another benefit is that I early on realized there is no 'normal' - my friends had Japanese, Chinese, and mixed ethnicities, and everyone's parents had slightly different expectations of behavior - so you just adjusted. My best friend's parents spoke mostly Japanese and were very strict. First I thought they were 'different' - but as time passed I started to get the idea that my family's way was just one way, not any more right or usual than my friends' families ways.

  41. Damon Winter's photographs are gorgeous. Thank you for capturing the beauty of humanity.

  42. @mecmec It's also a testament to the way still photographs have a place, when done so beautifully. Here, it allows the viewer to pause and absorb the the variety of human beings (without rudely staring).

  43. Yes, if your world is only populated by people under 30

  44. I look at these beautiful photographs and see America.

  45. @avrds Look closer. It's Hawai'i. "America" looks nothing like this.

  46. Wow, there’s a lot going on here; this article could have easily been ten. There are some things mentioned that are inaccurate, but overall this was a nice reminder of my gratitude to Hawaii. It’s true that the aloha spirit is a part of life; we treat everyone as family. Strangers are called aunty and uncle, sister and brother. Whenever I come home, my heart is so full with the care people show each other. This can be seen right when you get off the plane to land. On the Mainland people try to beat each other to exit first. In Hawaii, everyone waits their turn, helping each other retrieve bags if necessary. When I first moved to NYC, I went on my first date with a white man (there are very few in HI). We said goodnight to each other on the street, after which a Black man approached me and asked me why Asian women are always with white men. I was very startled and told him that I didn’t have an answer for him because it was my first time going out with a white guy. He didn’t believe me but asked me to grab a slice of pizza with him anyway. It’s a funny story, but I do remember going to bed that evening feeling rather uncomfortable with the realization of how different things were.

  47. @JHP "On the Mainland people try to beat each other to exit first. In Hawaii, everyone waits their turn, helping each other retrieve bags if necessary." I usually fly 1-2 times a year on the "mainland" and have always seen people waiting their turn and helping each other.

  48. @Nick I fly about 40 domestic flights a year and there is a noted difference when I land in JFK or LAX vs HNL. Flying once or twice a year can’t be compared.

  49. Thanks for a great article. I was born in Hawaii in the '50's grew up there until the '80's, moving to the mainland for work. This article explains a lot. There are a lot of aspects here that I never thought about, but I can see looking back, both living in Hawaii and living on the mainland.

  50. My god, those faces! The faces looking out at me from these brown toned photographs. What is it? It their faces. I can’t take my eyes away from them. What stories are tucked inside these faces? It is their eyes. In the photographs of their faces, it their eyes, some looking straight at me, face to face, eyes looking into my eyes, and even when they look away from me, I feel they still see me, sense my presence, that I, too, am part of their Hawaiian earth-soil. The American philosopher-poet Thoreau, in his journal, wrote: “Give me but the eyes to see the things which you possess.”

  51. Wonderful article, thank you to both authors. On the mainland in the 1990s, I think we were headed for more nuanced understandings of race. At least in academia, where we were all talking about "hybridity" and "cosmopolitan" identities, more than one way of being "black" or "white," etc. And then several things happened all at once--9/11, backlash against a black president, and increased police brutality against people of color, to name a few. This has sparked the resurgence of essentialism on all sides. What we need is coalition and solidarity around a progressive, inclusive agenda. Hawaii may not be perfect but Hawaiiians may help show us the way.

  52. Take that, Trump&Co. These are Americans. Awesome article and stunningly done portraits.

  53. It's only a matter of time when the majority of our nation will be and look like these interesting, beautiful and handsome people. It can't come too soon enough.

  54. @Confucius There is not much interesting in grayness.

  55. @Confucius Sure, this will likely happen and it will be good and bad. Racism will largely vanish (obviously good), but you'll also lose a lot of valuable cultural heritage. If someone of Japanese descent marries someone of Irish descent and one of their children marries someone who was the child of a black parent and an Indian parent, how much culture will this person's child (the grandchild) inherit, preserve, etcetera? There is a lot culturally valuable that is carried along with race. If race disappears it is hard to imagine that these cultures survive. For race to disappear you will have to see a lot of people marrying outside their culture. While there is nothing inherently wrong about marrying outside one's culture, one should look with dismay upon the prospect that so many of these cultures will go extinct. There is more to preserve here than simply cuisine, language, appearance, or a shared sense of suffering. For people who have a strong particular cultural identity, there is much to value at a much deeper level within that culture. Some of our deepest values are intimately connected to our culture. If you belong to a particular culture, and you value it, it is only natural to want to preserve those things you find valuable and have your children preserve those things as well. I think many of us are detached from our cultures and don't see the value in them. As such, the existence of race seems irrational to us. But there is much worth preserving.

  56. @Confucius Given the divisiveness in this country, I find it unlikely that it's only a matter of time when the majority of our nation will look like the individuals in the photos.

  57. I'm interested how multidisciplinary students with diverse backgrounds function as teams working to provide solutions to challenging healthcare problems. Could the author please share their sources where I can find more information supporting your claim that "Diverse groups are better at problem-solving"

  58. Being half Japanese and half American, I never felt that I fit in completely in either countries. When I visited HI is the first time I felt a relaxing of sorts. It's difficult to describe, because it's not like I was not welcome in Japan or mainland US. People in HI assumed that I was a local. With that being said, I find it valuable growing up and having the ability to see things from both sides, or from the inside and outside.

  59. @bloumejune I, like yourself, am half Japanese and half American. I identify myself as being "American" and not Japanese. My self image is also defined by how other people identify me and how I think other people see me. Naturally my persona changes when I visit Hawaii where Hawaiians see me more like them.

  60. @GolferBob I find it interesting that among us half Japanese/half American people, our stories can be so different. I was raised mostly in Japan and so my core feels truly Japanese and yet I look like a foreigner. When I spent my last two years of high school in a performing arts school (near Boston) is when I finally let the labels come down and saw myself and others as individuals gifted in myriad ways. If only all of us can see each other in the same way!

  61. Great and fascinating article. I went into this initially suspicious, but it definitely prompted some thoughts about how African-Americans tend to think about race (I am Black.) Generally it's pretty concrete and many Black people consider mixed-race black people Black. With the rise of interracial marriage, etc., it will be interesting to see how think thinking will change over time.

  62. @CB- Add the changing perceptions the increasing number of Americans taking DNA and discovering how much of our ancestry was unknown! Family stories like Ms. Warren's barely hinted at the mixtures many Americans find in their pasts!

  63. @Donna Gray Absolutely. I've taken a DNA test and while I have found a variety of admixtures...I never once considered anything other than "Black."

  64. @CB. We (black folks) see and appreciate ethnic and cultural diversity. Our families very often have people of many colors and origins. It's society that created the one drop rule. Barack Obama identified as black because he would have been laughed at by the establishment if he insisted on identifying with his white half. I think US society is willing to accept and embrace a certain degree of mixture but black must remain at the bottom of the caste system.

  65. Finally an article about how it should be! And how it will become no matter what us haoles think say and do. I’m so excited to read this and makes me homesick for Hawai’i and also Fiji where I lived and worked as a Peace Corps volunteer. Of course this raises the ever present specter of colonial domination and theft of Land and culture. It is my personal belief that the United States should return Hawaii to the Hawaiians and let them be the sovereign nation they once were before we stole it from them. Malama pono.

  66. @David McCullough, I resent that the Hawaiian people Samoans and Tongans must battle to preserve their culture. They would love for the white people (especially the rich purchasing all their land) to leave their culture and islands alone and go live elsewhere.

  67. I've visited Hawaii several times, not just as a tourist though I was that too. We have family who lives there, and their lives are like those described here and run across backgrounds that are Euro-American, African American and Asian American all stirred together. I would venture to say that they generally see themselves as primarily Americans (which I am not). Of all the places I have been in the USA, Hawaii is by far my favorite. And it's not the weather or the sights (both of which are quite wonderful). It is the people themselves; they are really quite an amazingly beautiful amalgam of what can go right in this world when people love one another.

  68. Well written, Peter. Third generation from Hawaii here. One way to look at it at - when you live on the islands, you’re basically in a small community where there is no where else to go...so culturally, as a local, you kinda realize that getting along is the best option.

  69. @Big Red Thanks, I really get what you mean... I Iive on one of the "gulf islands" off Canada's SW Coast (British Columbia) and we all do try to get along too. And, incidentally, one of the early settler populations were Hawiaan Islanders, some of whom left American whaling ships and settled here.

  70. @PeterS I agree with all of those insights. I would add that there is something in the air there that you feel immediately after you get off the airplane. I felt it the first time I was there in 1984 and the the next time I was there in 2008 when a canceled flight transpacific flight resulted in me flying into Honolulu. I’ve been to the Caribbean which is at roughly the same latitude but it just doesn’t feel the same. The islands are a paradise but they have some kind of intangible quality to them - maybe its just the utterly clean oceanic air that is there.

  71. This is an insightful article that makes me yearn to go back to my beloved Hawai'i Nei where I served a small Episcopal church for 10 years. Indeed, Hawai'i's history and diversity have produced a wonderful culture. Two subjects are missing- religion and sexuality. In these two areas Hawai'i is for the most part also diverse and tolerant. The indigenous culture accepted various forms of expressing both. Recently the arrival of evangelical and other fundamentalist churches from the mainland has upset this harmony. About ten or so years ago the Republican Lt. Governor who was running for Governor promised that, if elected, he would declare Hawai'i to be the "First Christian State". This was followed by intense opposition by some churches to equal civil rights for Hawaii"s LGBT community. That is not the Hawaiian way.

  72. “of the more pernicious myths to take root in the modern mind is that racism is human nature” What about implicit bias? I love this article because biology has proven that race is not really scientific. The evolutionary sociology was that the fit survive and have offspring, leaving the question about society’s role as bringing people together for the common good. Now the genome proves we are all descended from Lucy and society is kind when individuals are cruel. Survival of the fittest has proven that survival of the most socially valued.

  73. This is a mildly interesting anthropological take on Hawaii, a tiny and unique slice of America. Sadly, it is of little relevance to such states as the Dakotas, Montana or the South. They are the flip side of Hawaii and encompass a much larger part of America. Whatever lessons in racial tolerance Hawaii can teach us are not applicable to most of America, which clings firmly to ethnic enclaves. American cities to this day are racially segregated. How does Hawaii make them less so. What I took from the piece is that under special historical and geographic conditions we could live in racial harmony.

  74. In the 70’s, we lived on the south side of Chicago in an integrated neighborhood. My son had been in nursery school for five months when he came home one day and announced that “some of the kids in school are black.” I knew this was something he had overheard and asked him who was black. “I don’t know,” he said. He then spent time trying to figure it out, asking me if Mr. Rogers was black or Captain Kangaroo - or some of his friends. It was interesting to me how little sense it all made that all was based on skin color. My son was clearly trying to understand what it meant- was it eye color or hair color. It taught me a lesson.

  75. Wonderful story.

  76. (I am very proud of my cousin, Joshua Parker, whose portrait is included in this article.) What wasn't mentioned in this otherwise superb article are the cultural/ethnic and social differences between the various islands in the Hawaiian chain. I recognize what is described in this article as applying to the much larger and incredibly diverse population of Oahu, but not necessarily to the less populated outer islands.

  77. @Gregory Hilo side of the Big Island is definitely much different from Honolulu. My friend who was working on my catchment tank and I were talking while we worked, and he mentioned an incident that happened the previous week. His wife was being treated badly while she helped out with a used-clothes drive at the high school. He said it was because she was very fair-skinned white, and had obviously been born on the mainland. But the abuse stopped when they realized that she was married to him. He is 3/4 Hawaiian, and said he hadn't realized how bad the prejudice was until that incident.

  78. A promising social dynamic, indeed. However, I have to wonder if the invitation to "move to Hawaii" isn't mostly rhetorical. While those born on the islands seem tolerant of each other, the blatant prejudice against "haoles" is nothing short of xenophobic. It's easy to be sympathetic with the reasons for this, but it's nonetheless an active component of the social dynamic.

  79. Not xenophobia...whites simply are not accustomed to being treated equally. They generally anticipate being treated differently (read: better) than people of color. Just go and observe white Americans in any foreign country and it becomes very apparent. Having said that, this is a sweeping accusation, but it rings more truth than not.

  80. @Big Red Equality means getting beaten up?

  81. @JB It’s called colonialism. And yes, those who’ve been oppressed by it eventually get reactive to those who’ve held the power. I wish this article had maybe been clearer about how so many different people’s arrived on the islands years ago as indentured workers. And guess who controlled the plantations were those workers toiled? Not native Hawaiians, but mainland American whites who held themselves superior to all other people’s.

  82. Great article, but I had to laugh at the title. I'm white and lived in Hawaii from age 14-17 (and was also born there but moved away at age 2). I went to a local high school and experienced lots of racism, as did all the other white kids, some of whom were beaten up for being white. I was an Army kid and had been around people of all races my whole life and race was never a big deal, but in Hawaii it was. It wasn't just whites vs everyone else - there was also constant talk/stereotyping about the different ethnicities. I've never lived in a place that was so obsessed with race (and I've lived all over the US and the world). I love Hawaii and go back often, but people shouldn't kid themselves that racism doesn't exist there just because most of the population is of mixed race. It just ain't so.

  83. i had a very similar experience. I lived in hawaii for 4 years and encountered incredible racism. it was different from the mainland but it was still racism. punch a haole day was a given in the public schools, derisive comments about race and religion were frequent, LGBTQ would get jumped in Waikiki, and there was social stratification based on race. supposedly if you didn't have a Japanese or Hawaiian last name that supposedly limited you in public office, legal, or financial circles. I was once puzzled by extremely cold behavior to white men by a chinese american woman in an otherwise very social group. a friend who knew her commented, "oh, she's ok, she just doesn't talk to white guys".

  84. I laughed out loud. The racism in Hawaii is much different than the mainland, but the per-capita quantity is easily as high as any other state in the union.

  85. @Georgia......well said Georgia. An element of truth to help balance out the article.

  86. I grew up in the 70s in Queens with a French Canadian mother and an Italian father. Because our customs were more European I was always viewed as different. When I moved to Montreal as an adult it felt as though suddenly a pressure to confirm was lifted from me. My personal theory is because Montreal has two main cultures, not one, all cultures are accepted. There is no dominant cultural template and immigrants easily keep their languages into the 3rd generation. This article confirms my theory.

  87. I have spent most of my life trying to figure out how to lived in the messed-up racial landscape of the US as a "mixed-race" person (Chinese and German). I have a long way to go, but I've received some patient advice from scholars of the subject. This latest article on Hawaii's supposed racial utopia strikes me as pretty problematic in light of some smart critiques of multiracialism by Mahtani, Sexton, and others (https://youtu.be/jSMQpRzcGpA). To paraphrase some of their ideas: The euphoria around the model mixed-race subject implies superiority over "mono-racial" subjects, and upholds a romantic idea about how settler colonialism can "work," erasing histories of coercive conditions under which multiracial identity became common. Individual stories about multiracial subjects obscure collective struggles against racism. And it is too easy to for mixed people to count themselves among the victims rather than the victimizers (though these categories are not mutually exclusive) and to thereby disown their white privilege and complicity in anti-black and anti-indigenous systems (I have been guilty of that).

  88. Beautiful article and stunning photographs. I learned a lot from reading this, and now I’m better equipped to share my experience of what it’s like to be a PoC in a majority-white city with others. It’s hard to talk about race when you can’t articulate what a racialized experience is. Today’s society does not readily provide that vocabulary. Thank you to the author.

  89. My short experience in Hawaii was somewhat less encouraging than this article. I flew to Hawaii for a linguistics conference. I was a bit surprised when all the flight attendants made a point of telling us exactly what ethnic mix they were. There was almost a competition as to who was the most mixed. I rather felt that I wasn't up to snuff, as my 'mix' was only Irish/English. After landing, I was given a lei, which I found charming and welcoming. However, the first panel we all attended at the conference was disconcerting. The panelists were students at the university, who proceeded to describe the languages used in dormitory life. They agreed that the dominant one was a kind of creole which was shared among all ethnicities except for 'haoles' or whites. They laughed as they described how the creole was used on signs and such to deliberately exclude the haoles, and how haole attempts to use the creole were met with derision. Many of us attending the conference (not all white, by any means) became more and more uncomfortable listening to this. However, no one called the panelists on it. Perhaps we all feared sounding racist. At the end of the panel's presentation there were few questions. I walked out of the hall and threw my lei in a trash can. This was not the only such experience I had there. I suppose there has to be some ethnicity to dump on, everywhere. In Hawaii it seemed to be whites. So much for the ethnic harmony and equality there. What a disappointment.

  90. @RC.....good for you for telling the truth instead of being politically correct!

  91. I think you missed the point about whites and racial transparency.

  92. I am sorry that this was your experience. Can you imagine being black in mainland America?

  93. As a tourist in Hawaii I did feel surprise in that my whiteness was not as big a liability as I feel here in the Bay Area. Maybe liability isn’t the word but that barrier of otherness was less. Which is strange, I expected more wariness.

  94. This article and research confirmed my own experiences. As the mixed child of an African American/Native American father and white mother, I retook the implicit bias test from Harvard 4x because my results kept coming up “not bias toward one group.” I attribute that directly to be a mixed race person, who grew up daily seeing two worlds exist in one sphere. Thank you to the author for writing about what I had long understood having lived this experience.

  95. What a wonderful article. The photographs of those beautiful people were stunning. In a week, I will be heading to Hawaii to celebrate my 65th birthday in a small cottage in the hills on the island of Maui. It will be my fourth, and probably final visit to Hawaii. I now live in Texas, and have been fortunate to travel the world. When my wife asked me how I wanted to celebrate my 65th birthday, I immediately said I wanted to spend it in a quiet location in Hawaii. I want to absorb as much of that aloha spirit as I can. It is a “feel” like no other I have experienced, bordering on a spiritual experience. Anyone who has the good fortune to visit Hawaii and is open to the feel of the islands will surely have an experience that will stay with them for a lifetime. I’m not shilling for the tourist industry. Hawaii is just a beautiful place, with beautiful people, and it has a wonderful vibe and attitude. I can hardly wait to get back there.

  96. When you go to Hawai'i to soak up that "Aloha Spirit" we all enjoy so much, might I suggest that you think about what you can give in exchange? Aloha can only exist when we understand that it's an ecosystem that depends on contributing as well as taking. I realize that tourists contribute to the economy financially, but money does not replenish goodwill. If we don't want to see Hawai'i turn into another generic American shopping mall in the sun, let's support what makes it so distinct.

  97. While this is an interesting article that sheds light on the racial diversity one can find in Hawai’i, it is dangerously misguided. As someone from the Islands who attended college on the East Coast, I have seen the ways that racism manifests itself differently in Hawai’i. It is not that the state is not racist itself, but rather, that racial stereotypes are treated differently simply because of the atypical racial mix here. The stereotypes around and treatment of Pacific Islanders in Hawai’i are shameful. Micronesians, Samoans, Tongans, and more, as a mainly working-class immigrant group, are popularly depicted negatively because of their race. Cultural practices by groups such as Filipinos and the Portuguese are often chastised as strange and made fun of in casual conversation. White individuals, who deposed of the rightful monarchy in Hawai’i, remain the beneficiaries of systems of power in the state and occupy many of the state’s positions of prestige and wealth. It is inaccurate to state that Hawai’i is unique and not racist. Hawai’i has a special understanding of race; it does not treat black or white individuals in the ways that they are treated or stereotyped on the Mainland. But to even insist that racism does not exist here ignores a deep-rooted racist history and a plethora of current social problems that Hawai’i still needs to actively confront.

  98. @Jacob, Thank you for so clearly formulating what I was hoping to express in my own comment based on firsthand experience.

  99. @Jacob This is insightful. Thank you. It suggests, however, that in Hawai'i the stereotypical construct is rooted in culture rather than in 'race' - which is very often mainly a form of shorthand for culture. Over time the stereotypes of race/culture fuse, and it can be confusing when personal experience brings them into conflict. This is fairly common across global regions but it works out better when societies determine inclusivity based on cultural compatibility rather than genetics. That may well be Hawai'i's advantage.

  100. How wonderful to have my personal experience validated by research. I grew up in Honolulu, am white, and married a white man who also grew up in Hawaii. Sadly, we moved away. I think it is important to remember though; in Hawaii I was an ethnic and cultural minority, an excellent learning and shaping experience. However, I was also economically advantaged, a part of the power elite. All the economic power in Hawaii is still in the hands of the haoles. I can say I grew up as a minority, but I can never say I experienced repression or suffered because I was white. The haole boys who were beaten up were usually insufferable, so I don't count that. I agree, that Hawaii should go back to the Hawaiians, since it was stolen to begin with. I have no idea how to accomplish that practically.

  101. No, sorry. This article seems quite misinformed, or written from a very narrow perspective. I lived in Hawaii for several years. There is a constant stream of subtle and overt antipathy towards caucasians. Many also seemed quite comfortable criticizing others based on their particular predominant ethnic background. Use of epithets was either met with a shrug or a chuckle. And yes, while there is extensive mixed race lineage, the diversity which is mentioned is predominantly of Asian and Pacific Island in origin, with occasional Latin influence; and essentially no significant African influence. Many wonderful things about Hawaii, but hardly a non-racist utopia.

  102. @AC......well said!

  103. @AC Uh, given Hawai'i's long and violent history with white colonialism, it seems a little disgenuous to call out "antipathy towards caucasians" as the major problem of race on the islands.

  104. @AC Isn't it terrible to be discriminated against? - Signed, every black/brown/Asian person living in the mainland US.

  105. Great article! I also enjoy experiencing diverse cultures, foods and traditions and have been to Hawaii many times. I suspect my upbringing in Detroit where we knew everyone's background and learned to respect people at an early age.

  106. While this article emphasizes the strengths of mixed relationships in Hawaiʻi, it under represents the problems of Native Hawaiians and the economic, educational, and political structural barriers they face, including the ongoing occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The power and wealth of tourist operations and other corporations has drastically changed the islands and the opportunities for Native Hawaiians to choose their ways of life. People who immigrate from across Oceania can experience discrimination and discrimination/racism from temporary military postings still exists. Having lived there for a year on sabbatical and primarily involved with Native Hawaiians for the research, I was constantly reminded of the existing, low-level but constant discrimination against numerous peoples, especially Native Hawaiians, in the mostly-white settler population of the neighborhood I lived in. There is much to admire and learn from in terms of the mixed-"races" of Hawaiʻi, but it is as important to see the undercurrents of discrimination, racism, and dismissal of the value of groups that still exists in Hawaiʻi.

  107. @Karen Fox the gentrification of Hawaii is a real thing and the tension is getting stronger. Just look to see how many state of Hawaii flags are flown upside down in the last 10 years.

  108. @Chigirl The answer about the flags is zero. The Hawaiian state flag is the Kingdom's flag (note the British monarchical influence), so Native Hawaiian fly it proudly.

  109. @akama Some fly if I upside down as a sign of rebel against our colonizers

  110. My husband is from Hawaii and very mixed Asia/Pacific/white. When we moved back to the east coast where I'm from, he mentioned how he noticed race tension felt like it just lingered in the air. I told him it is way worse in the south but that this is all still spillover from slavery and civil war. Even after living in the west coast 2 years and moving back, I felt it, too. There are race issues in Hawaii, very much so just like everywhere. Asian biases against other Asians, native Hawaiians against whites, etc. Also, there is a lot of unspoken anger towards mainlanders (mainly rich whites) who are rapidly gentrifying the islands and buying million dollar homes everywhere forcing the local population to move to the mainland to find affordable housing. Many islanders much prefer the hoards of Japanese tourists over mainland visiters. And dont get me started about how they felt about Jeff Sessions being mad that a judicial decision on a "rock in the middle of the ocean" could effect decisions in DC (colonialism mindset much?) But he was just surprised how racism was more pronounced and vocal in the east. He still loves it but it definitely opened his eyes and helped him understand why race issues are so intense in the political world. But every time we go back, he is just shocked at how gentrified and unaffordable it becomes (and locals fleeing while being replaced by more and more rich, mostly white mainlanders).

  111. My husband is from Hawaii and very mixed Asia/Pacific/white. When we moved back to the east coast where I'm from, he mentioned how he noticed race tension felt like it just lingered in the air. I told him it is way worse in the south but that this is all still spillover from slavery and civil war. Even after living in the west coast 2 years and moving back, I felt it, too. There are race issues in Hawaii, very much so just like everywhere. Asian biases against other Asians, native Hawaiians against whites, etc. Also, there is a lot of unspoken anger towards mainlanders (mainly rich whites) who are rapidly gentrifying the islands and buying million dollar homes everywhere forcing the local population to move to the mainland to find affordable housing. Many islanders much prefer the hoards of Japanese tourists over mainland visiters. And dont get me started about how they felt about Jeff Sessions being mad that a judicial decision on a "rock in the middle of the ocean" could effect decisions in DC (colonialism mindset much?) But he was just surprised how racism was more pronounced and vocal in the east. He still loves it but it definitely opened his eyes and helped him understand why race issues are so intense in the political world. But every time we go back, he is just shocked at how gentrified and unaffordable it becomes (and locals fleeing while being replaced by more and more rich, mostly white mainlanders).

  112. When exactly did German, Portuguese, Finnish, etc. become RACES? Also: just a hunch that the definitions here offered by individuals may be like Senator Warren's "family myth" of Native American ancestry -- i.e., it would not stand up to DNA scrutiny. Lastly: Hawaii has only 1.4 million people, or roughly the same population as West Virginia. Why therefore, is it more important or more of a role model than West Virginia?

  113. I don't mean to minimize the experiences and challenges of black Americans at all, but it always bothered me that the descriptions of Obama were predominantly about his being black. He was half black and half white. There is no judgement there, just what IS. I am a form of "mixed": Greek, Italian, Jewish. I don't know if that has affected my thinking, but I do seem to need to look at all sides of a thing, a person, a question. As the article suggests, it's hard to have rigid thinking/emotions when there's always another side of you....

  114. @LS I always thought that it was more amazing about Obama was that the press seemed to omit the Hawaiian culture that he grew up in. Living in Hawaii for ten years I could see the influence of the culture on his personality and I mean this in a positive way.

  115. @LS He didn't have a choice. The decision was made for him by the (white) establishment.

  116. As a person who is of Greek, Croatian, Italian, Polish, Turkish and Ukranian heritage, I really dig these photos. I also wish like Martin Luther King Jr said that people would judge others by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

  117. Now, if we could only bring the Aloha attitudes about respect, cooperation, community to the rest of the United States.

  118. More balanced than other articles I've read on the subject of Hawaii's racial diversity. As noted both in the article and by readers below, if you look like someone of mixed race, you will probably love the sense of fitting in here immediately. I like the locals here well enough, most of them as friendly as people everywhere, even though my white skin, freckles and lack of an island accent (lovely and melodic) has made an occasional local treat me with disdain. I just don't get why so many people say the incredibly wonderful weather is not what they like most about Hawaii, but the Hawaiian culture. If you live on the Big Island and not overcrowded Oahu, it's not only the weather but the down-paced rural island lifestyle that makes life here so wonderful. Maybe because the subtropical island lifestyle is so congenial, the people who live here seem more so too. Here no one asks me my ethnicity. Instead they ask, "How long you live here?" A different way of being exclusionary the way racism is, but still kinda the same...

  119. @Bett also "Where you went High School?" Since I went to a California public high school, this excludes me. But since both of my kids were raised here, they are part of the mix, even though they are "freckle people," Scottish/Welsh/Polish/Dutch/Hungarian. On the down side, they both live elsewhere because they couldn't afford to get a start here, and I as a single parent couldn't afford to give them one, at least economically.

  120. @Your attempt to be positive doesn’t conceal the truth that you have experience in the form of prejudice toward haloes. It’s natural to try to make the best of a bad situation but if you decide to leave Hawaii I believe you will be more candid in your reservations about the ignorant prejudice in Hawaii.

  121. I retired to Hawaii in 2000 and built my dream home in the Puna area of the Big Island. From the first day my wife and I encountered hostility from locals who saw us as unwanted Haole people from the mainland who were occupying their land that had been stolen by the American government. The Native Hawaiian community teaches hate and racism against all Haole people to young people growing up in the islands. Additionally, the level of substance abuse in Hawaii continues to be out of control, particularly the abuse of crack cocaine and methamphetamine. After three years we decamped to the south of France and the rural area of Provence and never looked back. Now we truly do live in a real paradise, not the hyped version invented by the Hawaii Visitors Bureau.

  122. @Michael Kittle Vaison la Romaine is on our list to retire to! Good to read this from you!

  123. @Michael Kittle I mean- they kind of have a point about occupation of stolen land. Hawaii got annexed against their will and no longer have the control over residency that they would have if they'd been allowed to remain a sovereign nation.

  124. @Michael Kittle If you think you are actually welcome where you are currently residing I put it down to your probable lack of French coupled with the huge influx of foreign home buyers to Provence for you to associate with. When you built a dream house in Puna you built in one of the poorest countys in the US. Prior to the 2008 crash someone who has born there having a chance to own their own home did not even make the double digits. And yes, there is a well known correlation between extreme poverty and the despair it brings and drug addiction.

  125. No society is perfect but Hawaii seems pretty damn good.

  126. It's not that people aren't conscious of different ethnicities here in Hawaii. It's that for the most part it just doesn't matter. My impression after living here for only 10 years though is that many such stereotypes break down more readily here. There are no majorities here and ethnic mixing is the norm. It's hard to cling to stereotypes when everyone is in some minority or other. One really has to see everyone else as just human individuals who come with good and bad like all other humans on the planet. The Hawaiian melange makes tolerance of differences a lot more prevalent here. I'm often struck by ethnicity assumptions exposed in U.S. media. Most striking is the repetitious categorizing of U.S. public figures as "black" or "brown" when here in Hawaii they would be considered in no way of some exotic racial or ethnic background. For example, casting Cory Booker or Kamala Harris as "black" as though they were from some deep African tribal heritage just demonstrates the deep racism far too often present in American attitudes and where too many people worry about the pigmentation in one's skin. Here in Hawaii that's one of the least important ways to superficially judge another human being.

  127. Not too many years ago an old friend in Madrid and a prominent historian of Spanish nationalism wrote a commentary on essentialist concepts of race and their aleatory nature. He pointed out that in the roughly forty years that he had been travelling to the United States he had changed race, according to the INS, no fewer than three times. In the Spring of 2016 I was a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii Manoa, where I taught a class on changing identities in Spanish history--nationalities, ethnias, religions, and races, languages and cultures, in a European and World context. My students had roots in virtually every country of the Pacific rim and many were mixed-race Hawaiians. We had a freewheeling dialogue among all the members of the class, including myself, and I gave them a history lesson on how I, a third-generation Ashkenazi Jew from New York, had become a white man, and this led to a lengthy discussion of the complex historical basis of mixed race and the changeability of the imagined fixity of race itself. The discussion included my friend´s article, which I translated for them, and his phantasmagoric three races, which they found both alarming and hilarious. At the end, a number of students commented on how much they had learned not just about Spain´s complicated past and present but about their own. I, in turn, gladly acknowledged that I had done likewise. No, it isn´t utopia, but it´s a big improvement on what we have on the mainland.

  128. In 1942, Ashley Montague, a noted anthropologist and sociologist, published a book called the Fallacy of Race. Some of the points made in this current article or formulated by Ashley Montague back then Along with many, many more. The book is still available and is a wonderful and enlightening read.

  129. From 1960-1963, I lived on Oahu because my Air Force father was stationed there. I was seven when I arrived, and ten when I left. I had come from the glow-in-the-dark-white DC suburb of Bethesda, Maryland. I had at that point never met a non-white person. Oahu was without a doubt the most racially diverse, but least racist, place I've ever seen. Race (or "ethnicity", as it is now called) was acknowledged, and even openly talked about, pretty frequently, but I don't ever remember it being used in a negative way. After three years, when I returned to Bethesda, I was different from the kids I'd left behind and to whom I returned. My time on Oahu had blessed me with attitudes about other people and peoples that my Bethesda friends didn't have because they lacked the exposure that I had had. It's infuriating that now, almost sixty years later, our country is wracked by the worst racism I've ever seen, deliberately fomented by the worst president I've ever seen. 2020 can't come soon enough. We must do better. We must be better.

  130. Grew up Haole in Boston with Sicilian, Irish, Scottish & English. Lived right in the city & assumed racial stereotypes from the environment. Married a woman from South Korea & have 2 beautiful hapa children and 2 mixed grandaughters. Worked as a US Army employee & worked overseas in Korea, & Japan. The US Army (& DOD) are the most progressive part of US society. Since WW 2 interracial marriages are common and mixed race marriages are commonly accepted. After racial turmoil in the 60's the Army cleaned up its EEO act and minorities can progress to the General officer level through education & self development. I've settled in Hawaii where mixed race seems to be the most common "race" reinforcing that there is no scientific definition f race.

  131. @Vesuviano I also grew up in Bethesda and came to find it implicitly racist. Houston is considerably better. There is a spectrum, with Alabama/Mississippi on one end of the spectrum and Hawaii on the other. Most of the Northeast and Chicago are closer to Alabama than to Hawaii. Most of the Southwest and West is closer to Hawaii.

  132. What a terrible headline. The last thing Hawai'i needs is for more people to move there. Hawai'i is a tiny island state and its fragile ecosystems and wildlife are already under siege from the onslaught of tourists and mainlanders who have moved there. Honolulu has become monstrous, overpopulated, overly expensive and now shows all the problems of any mainland urban area.

  133. @Earthling Don't worry about that. There are very few professional jobs; salaries are low, housing prices are sky-high, and schools (statewide system) are sub-par.

  134. The photos are striking. They are a testament to the view that human beings, of all colors, proportions, and sex, are beautiful.

  135. @Mark "They are a testament to the view that human beings, of all colors, proportions, and sex, are beautiful." Human beings come in all varieties, beautiful and ugly, intelligent and stupid, strong and weak, as do other animals. Although in wild animals, deviations and mutations are being cleaned up by natural selection, which has stopped in humans to their peril.

  136. Remember the people Benneton ads in the 1980s? Those ads struck me as what we would look like in the future.

  137. What? Having lived in HI for 7 years, I can assure you that racism is prevalent and systemic there. My experience showed me a strong bias against white and black people, in particular. Perhaps people who are more obviously of "mixed race" are more welcomed but fair-skinned blondes are held in disdain and black people are barely tolerated, which is likely why so few black people live there. Tourists are allowed to float around with their heads in the rainbow-dotted clouds but longer term, the artifice starts to dissolve. While living there opened my eyes to many wonderful things about people and places, the spirituality of the islands and the love of the Aloha spirit, the reality is much different on a day-to-day basis.

  138. @Laura I lived there for ten years and yes there is racism there especially toward Haloes (White)and Popolos (black). But it came be overcome with your attitude. I had many Hawaiian, Samoan, Asian friends. Went camping on the beach in Wainanae and Makaha.

  139. Your background on the history of the development of racism missed two key ideas: 1. The forced conversion of Jewish people who remained in 16th/17th century Spain gave rise to the Inquisition: to convert to Catholicism wasn’t enough. To be Jewish (a religion) was now a virtually inheritable trait. 2. How to justify Enlightenment (17th/18th century) beliefs of the rights of man and the equality of all men with colonialism, slavery, imperialism, enforced Christianity, and capitalism? You hit on point two when you mention that hatred doesn’t necessarily precede racism, but grows out of a need to justify an unjust system. I’d also argue that American racism developed into an especially cruel form with the marriage of capital industrialization: the use of great amounts of financial capital to develop mass amount of slave labor for the booming world industrial textile markets.

  140. I was born and raised in Hawaii in an immigrant family from South Korea. I grew up with friends from nearly every ethnic background imaginable. When I left for college on the mainland, I didn’t realize how much harder it would be to make friends. I became the token asian kid with a string of stereotypes attached to my identity. I quickly found out that each racial group seemingly self-segregated themselves. The white kids hung out with each other, and the same could be said for other racial groups as well. Where was the aloha, the camaraderie, the diversity? I’d suddenly been thrust into a world of intense scrutiny based upon presumptions marked by my racial indicators. I recall watching the Ferguson Protests on TV back home in Hawaii and not fully understanding the racial tensions I witnessed on the flickering screen. After spending several years on the mainland, I do now.

  141. I was a doctor assigned to the USAF Hickman AFB (Honolulu) clinic in 1973/4 and I am glad to hear things have changed since I lived there. Fellow senior officers there felt obligated to send their school aged children to private schools or back to the mainland to relatives to avoid the persistent “kill a ‘Houlie’ day” where servicemen’s children were beaten at school for being white. Sadly, a white sergeant lab technician was executed while stopped at a traffic light on his way to the clinic. Apparently his new wife’s family was furious that their Hawaiian daughter had recently married this white serviceman. Fortunately I lived on base. Those living in local off base housing neighborhoods were perpetually harassed and having their residences burgled. Glad to hear things have changed..or have they?

  142. The answer on how to be less racist is to actively consider your own biases, not simply move to some imagined utopia. If Hawaii is such a cure all for racism, why are native Hawaiians disproportionately living in poverty? Why do wealthy white land owners continue to pressure Native Hawaiians to turn over their land claims? Hawaii still has some deep issues with systemic racism that require challenge.

  143. My haole cousin was hospitalized for dehydration in Hawaii. She wouldn't drink water during the day because haoles got beat up in the bathrooms at school. If you are a white mainlander, don't even think about camping in Hawaii. Hawaii is not a paradise and there are class and ethnic tensions; even hapas are not exempt. Just a different manifestation than the mainland.

  144. As a white mainlander I camped for a week as part of a group on Kauai on the north shore. I had nothing but positive experiences and every Hawaiian I met was very friendly. However, in order to get the camping permit our group did volunteer labor by working on a taro plantation for 1/2 a day. Hawaiian culture expects everyone to give back in some way, and that is part of the ethos of all interactions in Hawaii.

  145. @Just paying attention lucky you were part of a group - and the hassles tourists get camping have nothing to do with taro.

  146. try Toronto, Canada. So many different people, it seems as there are only minorities. Wonderful.

  147. Great article,lovely photos . Is Hawaii the blueprint for a post racial America ? Me thinks so.

  148. Interestingly, I just finished a book about a Japanese doctor, educated in the US, who was drafted into the Japanese army during WWII, and was killed in the battle for Attu in the Aleutian Islands. His widow, also US educated, moved to Hawaii with her two children after the war, and then eventually to California. The family found no anti-Asian racism in Hawaii, but significant racism in California.

  149. Can I suggest an improvement to the title: "Want to Be Less Perniciously Prejudice?" This excerpt rings consistent with the observations of my Haole parents living on Maui ____ Partly because of racial joking, race is always on the mind here. When people think about race consciously, she posits, it helps prevent essentialist thinking from taking root unconsciously. Joking about ethnic stereotypes, especially about one’s own group, at least keeps conversations about race in Hawaii on the surface, rather than pushing them underground. ___ This does seem healthier than the traditional, sweep it under the rug, New England approach. That said, I can see New England becoming more like Hawaii, becoming true to the moniker, the New World.

  150. Love the images that emphasize your points!

  151. This why identity politics are an almost comic dead end. It begins with an insult (people do not recognize diversity) and ends with an absurdity (we are described by identitarian categories).

  152. After seeing these beautiful people, these beautiful images, well, I'm afraid I'm not attractive enough to live in Hawaii.

  153. Maybe a better headline? I can’t imagine anyone who would admit to being racist actually wanting to be less so. With Trump in power and racism increasing around the world it seems, it’s worn like a badge of honour.

  154. You just discovered this about Hawaii? I guess you only noticed the beaches, the volcanoes, and the hula performers during your past visits.

  155. Raising daughters in North Florida, born in NYC and Albany, GA, we sent them to Hawaii to summer with my parents because we felt it important that they (Japanese/French-English), hapa children, understood that people did not come as either white or black.

  156. This article was "nice" and well written but needs some balancing. I moved from Canada to Hawaii when I graduated college at 26. I witnessed a lot of racism from locals towards white people including myself. My work colleagues who had kids told me that their children were bullied at school for being white. They would have beat up a Haole (slang for a white person) day at the schools. I narrowly avoided violent situations , my roomate from Wisconsin was not so lucky. He was beat up by a group of locals playing basketball, very badly. Hawaii was and is a beautiful place. But it's no different then anywhere else in that people by nature are prone to being racist. (and in no way am I implying ALL people were racists there. ) And it was actually refreshing to experience racism. I actually can relate somewhat to minorities now a little better.

  157. @Ari I had a similar experience as a child in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Being bullied as a child because of your skin color isn't something I recommend, exactly, but there is one thing it does for you if you are white: it cures you definitively of any tendency to patronize people of other racial backgrounds. As a white child of liberals, I think I had picked up the idea that all I had to do was be tolerant (even the word is condescending), and presto! no racism. Until the Marshall Islands, it never occurred to me that other people might be the ones who got to make that decision. To be in a racially charged situation where I had no privilege, no power, and no control, and where the people who had power showed no pity - well, it was eye-opening, to say the least. I think on the whole it made me more understanding, but if I had had a different upbringing or thought things through a little less, it could have gone the other way.

  158. @Ari I was one of those white kids who experienced kill-haole day (the last day of public school every year). It was way more myth than reality and it did not scar me or any of the other white kids I knew. But it is something that makes some white folk feel unwelcome, definitely. In my experience, those whites who experience their minority status negatively do so because they explore and discuss their experiences in groups of white outsiders who amplify each other's feelings. Breaking out of those white bubbles can make a huge difference.

  159. @Ari Ari, what you experienced had more to do with prejudice than racism. Racism connotes systemic discrimination, violence, etc, not anger and violence toward a representation (you/your friends) of a dominant power structure. That said, it's great that you now can relate a little more to people who are experiencing prejudice.

  160. Fantastic!

  161. Nice article, but completely opposite of my experience as a 15-year old on the island of Oahu. My family had moved several times by the time I was 15, this was going to be just another relo and in no time I’d have a new group of friends and the benefit of being surrounded by beautiful beaches. We moved into a home in a relatively new area called Hawaii Kai. I remember my first day at a High School called Kaiser, I had no idea what was waiting for me. Within minutes of arriving I saw the other kids (who 98.% were of some Asian/Hawaiian decent) staring at me. Some started to make comments at me completely related to my race. “Haole boy whacha doing here bra?” “Haole boy, you want to fight?” Where was I? I had no idea what was going on and was totally unprepared for it. Then came the first of hundreds of sucker punches and fist fights simply defending myself. Over the coming months I developed depression and anxiety. Haole became the “N” word to me. Prior to arriving in Hawaii, I too had heard the zero prejudice story. It turned out that story was alive and well in the tourist areas, however, beyond that you took your chances. When most people hear that I once lived in Hawaii they think of me as lucky. It’s only when I meet someone who also lived there that an all-knowing look is shared. They know and so do I. Perhaps the writer was surrounded by people who would keep him from the truth? Funny thing is I love visiting Hawaii, I just wouldn’t want to live there.

  162. @Matt My cousins lived in Hawaii Kai and went to Kaiser for a few years (my uncle was a physician in the Army)! Had a similar experience to yours. My two male cousins gained acceptance by becoming expert surfers, but my female cousin was constantly bullied.

  163. I moved to Oahu from Long Island in 1981 (job transfer) and lived there for two years. I did not experience much of the so-called Aloha Spirit. I did experience pervasive reverse racism: Asians discriminating against caucasians in hiring and housing, not to mention relationships. The offered justification is that whites don't stay long enough to develop roots in the community . Caucasians made up about 30% of the island population. There was also considerable animosity between asian subgroups: Japanese, Chinese, Tongan, Filipino, Korean. This animosity did not offend me, but rather was an eye-opener that gave me a tiny glimpse of the hardships facing true minorities. I still vacation in Hawaii twice a year. If you want to be less racist, Hawaii is a false paradise.

  164. The first morning I woke up in Maui, two golfers at Lahaina were discussing how they never wanted to be around “people from New York with names like Stein . . . You know, those people.” It soured my whole experience of the island. Hawaiian culture, yes, but beware the vacationers.

  165. A recent worrisome trend is that race essentialism seems to be taking over progressives as well as conservatives. For instance, a lot of the arguments against “cultural appropriation” veer uncomfortably towards the idea that you need to stick to “your race” when it comes to clothing, food, etc and to go beyond those boundaries is somehow racist. I don’t know how individuals of mixed heritage will exist in a world where both the far left and right are converging on race essentialism.

  166. Who benefits from racial stereotypes? The "white" majority wins and the non-white minority loses. This is why Hawaii is different than the rest of the US. The stereotypes fostered in the mainland do not benefit the majority of Hawaiians. So, Hawaiians foster their own stereotypes. Most Hawaiians see the non-sense in racial "boundaries" and believe we are all in it together.

  167. I'm 100 percent white (Finnish descent) and moved from Canada to Honolulu at age 26. It's the first time in my life I actually witnessed racism. It really took me back. If you were not some Island mix you can really feel it from the locals. They called you a haole. It wasn't meant to be pleasant. I had incidents of near violence just from being naïve and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. My roommate from Wisconsin was beaten badly in a basketball game by a group of Samoan men. Hawaii was overall a beautiful place. Most people (like anywhere ) were great. But it's still the most racist place I've ever lived in.

  168. My recent trip to Kauai was an eye opening experience because I got to experience racism in a new way. As a white person, I was clearly not welcome in some of the areas I went to. I visited one beach and after walking around for about five minutes, I started noticing some of the locals staring at me, then starting to follow me. The message was clear - get off this beach. I was chased out of there and even had a car follow me to make sure I didn’t turn around. If I went to a local store and tried to ask questions, the locals wouldn’t talk to me. I’d say - is there a good place to by local produce here? They would just ignore me, or say “I don’t know” and pretend I wasn’t there. I met up with a friend who recently moved there and told him about this. He is also white and he told me they don’t like white people on this island. He said the only reason why he can get a job on the island is because he is married to a Filipino and his kids looks Asian so it helps him get accepted into the community. I felt like a black person in Alabama in the 1950s but this was 2019 on Kauai as a white man.

  169. @Kev I live in Hawaii (akamai means "savvy") and, unfortunately, must agree that there is racial strife. The ha'oles, or Whites, especially from the Mainland, are often at the top economically, but at the bottom in discrimination. I know several White people who had to leave the Islands because they literally could not find a job. A very high status group is the Japanese who run the Government as legislators, and many of the businesses. They are admired, but often disliked as any ruling group is. Next are the "locals" (their term). They were born and raised in the Islands, often for generations. Yes, their intermarriage is wonderful. They are denigrated by other groups are lazy, greedy for government jobs and incompetent, but do carry on the local traditions. Moving down, we have the Filipinos, often immigrants, who do the stoop labor. Micronesians and Samoans are often treated similarly. There are almost no Blacks, Finally, like the ha'oles, the Native Hawiians are at the bottom and the top. They are either scorned as lazy, meth-using obstructionists or praised as saviors of the land. They are often honored as the people who try to preserve the original reverence for the land, water and air. They are gaining clout in these days of climate emergencies. Being even part Hawaiian gives you cultural status. I wouldn't live anywhere else.

  170. you obviously didn't learn. you're comparing your two seconds of discomfort to hundreds of years of brutality.

  171. In my investment services professional life in 1980s L.A., Hawai'i was part of my territory. I was familiar with the different racial groups in Los Angeles, but they tended to live in either legal or self-chosen "Ghettos". In Honolulu, the ethnic groups interacted in the banks, insurance companies and financial firms I visited. There was not a hierarchy according to race. Sometimes the VP I met was of Chinese, Japanese, or Samoan decent with no hint of accent, sometimes it was a blond-haired Anglo who spoke with a hint of Hawai'ian pidgin, or a Portuguese/Spanish professional with an Hispanic lilt. I realized then, I was seeing the future of the United States in the mid-21st century.

  172. @East Coaster in the Heartland Growing up as an Army brat, my brother and I grew up in diverse areas, none more so than Hawaii. Our sophomore year, we were in Barack Obama's class - I didn't know him well, but probably assumed he was Samoan, Tongan, or some variation thereof, along with much of the rest of our schoolmates. So indeed, you were foreseeing the future!

  173. Our daughter was born in Waikiki, and I felt aloha by living there several years....the Michael Haas book elaborates on that unique spirit

  174. i'm a white guy from the Boston area who lived in Hawaii for 30 years. I first moved there at age 30 and returned at 65 to rural New England. I truly understand the author. Aloha Spirit, whatever that is, says it all. I have been fundamentally changed, a before me, a transition and now a chance to see my former self reflected in my Yankee neighbors. I like what I transitioned into better than what I see around me, no matter how wonderful my neighbors are. The images, the best part, pulled at my island heartstrings, heartstrings learned from living with everyone from everywhere. Learn Aloha, Live Aloha.

  175. @JCG. I wholeheartedly concur. My 20 years in Hawaii were life changing, and even though it’s been nearly 20 years since I lived there, it was the equivalent of a doctorate in life lessons. I tell my university students if they ever have the chance to live and work in a place like Hawaii, where no one is a majority member, grab it and learn from it. It is totally different than just visiting for a 2 week vacation!

  176. @JCG Which is precisely what President Obama does.

  177. @JCG "I like what I transitioned into better than what I see around me, no matter how wonderful my neighbors are." So, you feel superior ("better" as you say) to your neighbors, because they are happy in their community and don't feel the obligation to subject themselves to an environment of people with a wider spectrum of genetic markers. Aloha spirit, indeed... or should I call it 'ethno-diversity supremacy?'

  178. Thought provoking article with stunning photography brings a fresh perspective to the discussion of race. The parents of children of mixed ancestry often experience overt or implicit racism due to differences in their appearance. As a "white" man (of Ashkenazi Jew/Scottish ancestry) married to a "brown" woman (of Filipino/Chinese/Mexican ancestry), we have lived in the Northeast US for the last 36 years as an "odd couple", forced to explain "we're together" at parent-teacher conferences, supermarket lines, airport security, and social gatherings. When we are in Hawaii, the aloha spirit welcomes us, and other mixed ancestry couples with no questions asked, and no explanations necessary.

  179. @Stuart I’m a white Jewish guy married 34 yrs to a dark Peruvian woman. We lived all over USA and Mexico from NYC to rural N.Carolina.Never once had to “explain we’re together “at a school,airport or social gathering.Growing up in NYC I’ve seen countless couples from different cultures,we never considered ourselves “odd”

  180. @danshore That may be true for you, particularly in NYC, but why do you try to undermine Stuart's experience? My partner and I are also a biracial couple and we have constantly had to explain we were together, both in the Pacific Northwest, and (even moreso) in the Midwest. But again, my main point is this: why in the world would you try to undermine Stuart's experience of racism? You do not walk in his shoes.

  181. @Stuart This article is supremely scientifically ignorant, illiterate and white European American Judeo-Christian stupid. There is only one biological DNA genetic evolutionary fit human race species that began in Africa 300,000 years ago. What we call race aka color is an evolutionary fit human race pigmented response to varying levels of solar radiation at different altitudes and latitudes primarily related to producing Vitamin D and protecting genes from damaging mutations in ecologically isolated human populations. Color is not ' race'. Ethnicity is not ' race'. National origin is not ' race'. Faith is not ' race'. There are no Aryan nor Jewish 'races'. My race is human. My national origin is Earth.

  182. Speaking as a white mainlander: A while back I left the racially segregated mid-western town where I had grown up and moved to Hawaii. It was the smartest things I ever did! Finally, I was a minority. I found it exciting to be surrounded by people who looked different than me. The different foods, cultures, languages, and way of life flowed through those islands, and made me thrilled to be part of the vibrancy of humankind. I was more at home with all those new and different people and customs that I had ever felt in my mid-western home town. And, yet, there were those like me: white mainlanders who had grown up in conservative white communities who didn't make it. Being an outsider and minority caused them stress, which led to anger, and even to double-down on their racism. I never understood why our reactions to the experience could be so different.

  183. @Downeaster I have observed the same thing and also wondered. It seems like there is a dichotomy of open-mindedness vs close-mindedness that will determine your world view. And I think that is the schism that we are seeing in this country, more acutely right now.

  184. @Downeaster your comment sums up perfectly why I think the title of this otherwise excellent, thought-provoking and informative piece is ridiculous.

  185. Solid reporting and insights, Downeaster

  186. Having grown up in Hawaii, part of a fifth-generation local, mostly Caucasian extended family, and more specifically having grown up in a neighborhood where I and my siblings were definitely in the racial minority, I found this article to be a well-balanced description of attitudes--past and present--in the islands. No, it's not a perfect melting pot. Yes, there are conflicts centered on race and ethnicity, especially as they relate to stereotypes and perceptions of unequal treatment. But by and large, the "aloha spirit" plays a key role (along with the equally crucial concept of "ohana," or family--but extended to mean not just relatives, but those in your circle--family, friends, neighbors, co-workers--who are incorporated in your concept of family). I am proud to be from Hawaii and do what I can to spread the aloha spirit, and the message of diversity as a positive social power, even here in the little backwater town where I live now in Japan.

  187. @Shirokuma "and the message of diversity as a positive social power, even here in the little backwater town where I live now in Japan." I've asked many time many people if there's any evidence that ethnically diverse groups of humans are in any way superior to homogeneous ones. No one has ever been able to provide any evidence. Since you've brought up Japan, one of the most homogenous society in the world. Is Japan any less competitive than, say, Brazil, arguably, the most diverse society in the world??? Or, are Hawaii any more advanced than Japan, culturally, technologically, scientifically? How many Nobel Prize winners have come from Hawaiian Universities?

  188. @al, neither the essay nor Shirokuma's comment is interested in establishing the superiority of heterogeneity compared to homogeneity. Why are you so interested? The theme of this particular series of written exchanges, starting with the essay, is how the experience of heterogeneity often dismantles racism. That's it. Individual identity and sociability, not 'superiority'. What does the Nobel Prize have to do with this?

  189. @al, ... man, you're kicking it. Japan, Brazil, Hawaii, moving to the question, 'Is Hawaii on par with Japan's expertise in technology, etc.' Maybe with a little traveling and talking with other people, you might find we are just like people like yourselves just trying to make a living to make life good. Aloha.

  190. What a great piece! As a multi-racial (African American, Native American, Creole, Irish, English, Scottish, Hungarian) woman living in Hawaii, married to a “haole” (White) man who was born and raised in Hawaii, and raising a multi-racial son, I feel this article really captures a lot about what makes life in Hawaii so special. There’s no denying that we continue to face challenges around issues of race, identity, and self determination - particularly as more affluent people from the mainland arrive along with their more rigid construct - but, for now, the spirit of aloha and community prevails. Here’s to re doubling our efforts to ensure these traditions continue. Thank you for shining a light on this important subject.

  191. I’ve never read an article that sums up my own personal experience with race as a mixed person so well. I am of Japanese, Chinese, and Jewish descent and luckily my mom is from Hawaii. I grew up in a majority White suburb of Seattle and never understood why I could not fit in especially in my teenage years. Looking back I now recognize that many of my interactions involved assumptions about my race and stereotypes on who I was. I was consistently boxed in by classmates, teachers, members of my syngagogue, and even random people I met. Only when my family would visit Hawaii would I feel like all of those labels would wash off me. Amongst my interracial family in Hawaii’s extraordinarily diverse community I always felt a sense of home. Race was not something to be ashamed of but to take pride in, not something to hide from but to live and consider. I was told the stories of how people in Hawaii banded together to overcome common challenges. And it is a kind of thinking I truly wish more people on the mainland could understand. This article is missing some key points. Class and race in America are inextricably linked and without considering the role of centuries of oppression on certain groups especially African and Native Americans and Native Hawaiians there cannot be meaningful progress. It is time for active action like affirmative action and reparations to atone for the past. Empathy can only happen when we truly understand each other beyond racial boxes. Aloha.

  192. @Max Sugarman I can relate as I am of Chinese/Italian descent who grew up outside of Philadelphia. I'll never forget the day it clicked for me that I was an "Other" when a youth coach asked me what I "considered myself as?" When I said "Asian/White", he replied "that's weird, I thought you would consider yourself as just White." I was stunned at the time and still am.

  193. @Max Sugarman Affirmative Action is problematic because it's a form of racism, and racism tends to beget more racism. Diversity is of course a good thing, and by "diversity" I mean people with many differences, not just the superficial skin color.

  194. I liked your description of how all the labels would wash off you in Hawaii. It makes me wish that could happen all over America. But I strongly disagree with reparations. Forcing one set of people who had nothing to do with wrongs of the past to pay another set of people, some of whom need the money less than the first group, doesn’t right wrongs. It would create all new resentments and divisions based on race and perceived race and the unfairness of it all. We help people by providing opportunity, which includes a governing administration without systemic corruption, infrastructure, public transportation, quality education, access to higher education & job training, affordable healthcare, and a strong economy to ensure high employment. All of these must be provided to all without regard to ANY personal characteristics. I believe strongly in need-based and sometimes, merit-based help.

  195. ironic--especially here, in east hawai'i--that hawai'i actually delivers so much of the good traditional america often only promises. must be something about the jones act...

  196. It's possible that anyone can experience racism and/or hostility anywhere, even in Hawaii. The larger point, however, is that in general, it's harder to 'hate' someone of a different race or ethnicity when you interact with them on a regular basis - through work, school, or events in a local community.

  197. Or you could just ride the NYC subway. I recommend, on an off hour where everyone is seated and in full view, checking every face and making a guess on their ethnicity. The range is amazing.

  198. @GC Ditto, on DC's metro.

  199. As someone who has lived in the islands for 36 years my reaction to this article is that it is a very superficial view. I have never spent time anyplace so racist. The difference is that in New York (my home town) people are very up front and honest. In Hawaii you have to watch your back. My first year here I worked on a phone line for "latch key" children. We were there to help them navigate things like cooking dinner on their own. Every single call I got was about race. My second year I worked as a psychologist in a public school. The language I heard on the playground left me stunned. Teachers just walked by, never saying a word while children tossed around the kind of epithets which would have a child, at minimum, sent to the principal anywhere on the continent. I could tell a number of stories about things my own children went through growing up here, but they are minor compared to what people of African ancestry go through. In Hawaii people of mixed race are treated well as long as those races have significant representation here. If you can draw any conclusion from Hawaii it is that growing up around people of different ancestry prevents you from seeing them as "other," something which Psychology has long known.

  200. Loved the article but especially loved the pictures. Each picture spoke a thousand words! Thanks!

  201. O'ahu is -almost- as aloha as Nuevo Mexico - :-) Anywhere where people see one another as persons, rather than stereotyped, shorthand clichés of badly understood 'characteristics' is the place to be.

  202. Back in the 60s in high school in Palo Alto I had an Asian friend who moved to Hawaii because he wanted to experience not being a minority and a more egalitarian society. When I saw him a few years later he said he moved back because Hawaii was not what he expected. It was broken up into ethnic groups which mostly kept to themselves and disliked each other. I was sad to hear that. I hope it is far better now.

  203. It's hard to be small-minded when you're standing on the north shore of Maui with the unceasing wind lashing pettiness out of your soul as you stare into the great void of oceanic plenitude.

  204. I think it’s funny that there’s a study that implies some sort of racial hangup from white kids believing that black people tend to be good at basketball and that Asians tend to be good at math. A study of black kids or Asian kids would show they believe the same things. And a study of basketball or math proficiency would show that they are all correct

  205. Hawaii is a wonderful place. To be fair, and as even a short trip to the Islands will demonstrate, the demographic profile there is not analogous to that found in the mainland. The per cent of blacks is much less and there is no legacy of slavery to poison the waters. Even more striking, the per cent of latinos is very low. Thus, the two racial populations that are the focus of most of the angst in the mainland are but a minor part of the culture of Hawaii; there is little concern about reparations or illegal immigration.

  206. I live in London with well over 1-in-4 being none white British. I assure you racism is live and well right across the board by every ethnicity— Black vs Asian,Black vs White, white vs Slav

  207. The state of Hawaii routinely discriminates against non natives with preferences for housing, education and more casually and insidiously in law enforcement and public access. Just a few years ago the state government tried to sneak through a housing bill that would openly give preference to native Hawaiians in public housing. According to the SPLC, ’haoles’ still face harassment and discrimination blatantly and informally believing that Hawaii was taken by the mainland and they should have tribal status like Native Americans. The Supreme Court has already disagreed Rice vs Cayetano. Yet discrimination, prejudice and state attempts to codify these practices continue. Aloha has a dark side.

  208. @CNNNNC do you even know the history of Hawaii? You can’t really expect fair treatment after what’s been done

  209. This article has elements of truth but is totally naive. Essentialist identities practically define life in HI, with complicated notions of “local” and “Haole” which are used to marginalize out-groups and are just as arbitrary as their mainland counterparts.

  210. I don't know about this... last time I was there I was told by the locals to go home haole (a derogatory term for non-islanders). Most are tolerant in Hawaii, but the islanders certainly are biased against certain melanin lacking individuals.

  211. My ancestry is a mix of English, Scottish, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Brazilian, North African, and American. I am truly a white mutt with curly brown hair and blue eye. Adding to the diversity, my wife is Japanese. We have two children. They have 3 passports. The only thing the made up idea of racial purity does for society is divide and dehumanizing some people as "other". Go back far enough genetically and no one is really pure, whatever that is suppose to mean, anyway.

  212. I’ll probably get hammered for saying this but I’ll be real candid...in Hawaii, all races hang out but the whites still keep themselves separated. I know, I’m from three generations going back to the early-1900s. When they (whites) do “join in” it’s because they don’t have white options. When they are forced to deal with the fact that they are not the privileged (actually, privileged but less so than on the mainland), they feel that the locals are prejudice against them. The trend is towards more whites on the islands and the fear is coming to pass....Hawaii will become just as much a white-privileged haven as any other place on mainland America.

  213. To a much lesser degree, a similar mixing occurred in Spanish colonies, where attributes such as mestizo and mulatto were common. As a result, Latin America has been spared the worst parts of endemic racism seen in the US. To this day, some Latin Americans in the US struggle deciding which checkbox is appropriate when filling out forms asking about race: Latino or White.

  214. @Jeff. Modern Latin America still struggles with colorism or shadism, and racism, a legacy of Spanish and Portuguese rule. By the way, Latino is no more a “race,” than “American” is. Latinos are people whose recent ancestors came from Latin America, and come in every shade and ethnicity of humanity.

  215. I lived in the Northern Mariana Islands and was called Haole and not in a friendly way. I was ignored in restaurants and by shopkeepers. Sad to say bigotry goes both ways

  216. You get this in New York City too.