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March 26, 2003

Who you calling Haole?

I know the word translates in Hawaiian as Foreigner but it's connotation is sometimes unclear. I don't mind being called a Haole, depending on the attitude that is present when the word is used. I've been referred to as a Haole in a good way, "Who's the cute Haole boy?" and in a bad way, "Stupid Haole!"

On the mainland if you referred to a Mexican, Asian, Arab or anyone of an ethnic origin as a Foreigner you would most likely be labeled as a racist. But the term seems to be mainstream here in Hawaii for locals to identify someone who is white. There are a lot of PC terms used in the mainland like adding the word "American" after mentioning ones nationality. Mexican-American, Asian-American and so on. The need for political correctness does not seem to be an essential part of speech here in Hawaii.

Even my girlfriend makes comments about me "sounding so Haole" when I tend to speak in the perfect English dialect. At least I don't speak like a Pigeon, Uh I mean Pidgen. It doesn't bother me being called Haole. I am white and a "foreigner" to the state of Hawaii. I just thought it would make an interesting conversation piece.

Posted by James at March 26, 2003 12:48 AM


Posted by Melmel on June 5, 2004 7:18 PM:

haoles... they're alright(a little). sometimes they're just too maha `oi.

Posted by Art on June 6, 2004 9:53 AM:

Aloha James,

Not quite sure what you're getting at here. It seems as if you've addressed your own concern about the use of the word "haole".

The degree of offense depends upon the context in which it's used, I suppose. For example, my wife is Portuguese and Swedish. She takes offense at the term "Portagee" (often used in conjunction with the word "stupid") whereas we're also aware that the very same term is bandied about locally as a type of friendly stereotypical endearment (ie; "she's Portagee and that's why she talks so much..."). Nonetheless, my wife finds the term offensive and I've adapted her semantic about it and therefore avoid using the term.

Likewise, with the term "haole". I'm sure I don't need to explain haole stereotypes to you, do I? :)

Although, I do have trouble with people denigrating the non-use of pidgen as "sounding so haole". Personally, I think that's a rather ignorant perspective. Such mentality is a prime example of institutionalized racism.

Does that make sense? :)

Posted by Albert on June 7, 2004 3:15 PM:

This is a long-time standard discussion on the Usenet groups. As I've said there, I've often heard "haole" used just as a descriptive term, to help identify who was being talked about. Of course, if it's that "f***ing haole", the word takes on a different meaning and, depending upon who is saying it, can be quite as racist as "nigger".

But then as old William said, "what's in a word ...."

Posted by artie s on September 24, 2004 3:35 PM:

EH, I one Haole but da Islands in my heart, my soul feel Hawaiian, I feel one wit da aina, have adopted Hawaiian culture as my own, because honestly being a haole of German / English descent living in America (6th generation+ here), I find both heritages boring, and choose Hawaiian culture as my own, I respect it and can contribute to it. I also say give da land back to da Hawaiians....wanna discuss any of dis, email me, also, pidgin is da most exciting and ALIVE language in the world, even more full of warmth and passion than the Spanish language, so I going try learn pidgin too !!! No laugh at me as I learn to write pidgin, eh !!! OK I also gotta ad that Hawaiians are the most under represented people in the media here on the mainland....Why are such good, proud people not big on tv and in movies...let's change that, opeople need to see Hawaiians more !!! and honestly, when I am in Hawaii and see "tourists" disrespecting and acting like mainland haole ASS*OL*S all stressed out and angry, I get as mad as any local does, I kanaka at heart and respect all Hawaiians !!!

Aloha bruddas and sistahs !!!


Posted by Wendy on March 18, 2005 9:23 PM:

Dear James,
I compleltly agree with you, as you can tell by my e-mail address I'm not ashamed of being haole or as i spell it howle,lol, but the fact is to many locals use it as a way to offend or somtimes say white person, especially in Hawaii. Saying it here is practically just the same as saying nigger on the mainland. I was born in South Carolina and I moved to Hawaii when I was about 1 1/2 so technically I am foreighn to this land but that doesn't neccesarily mean that I have to be white. I'm in 8th grd so I've been dealing with stuff like this for the past three years or so but it's just keept getting more and more worse over the years. It's somthing you can't change and you shouldn't be disrespected because of it. I love Hawaii but the locals are somtimes hard to handle, but I don't go around saying "ohh those damn locals" it's just rude.
So for any locals reading this ya no what, Haole pride! We gotta go through more than you, you just don't realize it.

Posted by Brian on November 29, 2005 8:13 PM:

I was born and raised in Hawaii. I was the only white kid on the school bus to school and I have red hair. You can imagine how it was. I have managed to make really good friends with alot of Hawaiians though because Im not a Haole. I treat the land with GREAT respect. I treat people with aloha, and I know how we live here in Hawaii. I dunno. I get respect from most Hawaiians, just some are so anti white it pisses me off because I didnt do anything to them, and they are all talking about their aina and I never litter mean while I see them litter all over, doing drugs like ice, robbing people. Its really sad. Real Hawaiians have aloha.

Posted by mark on January 2, 2006 9:06 PM:

The term "Haole" was originally used to refer to non-Hawaiians. This also mean Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. It formed into a word to describe white people later on. If you consider only those true 100% Hawaiians, then most "Locals" are at least part Haole. Some whites been on da islands longer than some so-called "Hawaiians", who are really Japanese, Chinese, etc. To my Hawaiian braddahs: Don't blame your problems on the Haoles. Check yourselves first.

Posted by Andrea on January 12, 2006 7:43 PM:

I was born and raised in hawaii. I use the word "haole" a lot. I have Hawaiian, Portuguese, Filipino, Puerto Rican, Irish, Walsh, and Dutch blood. To me it is not a racist term at all! it ACTUALLY means NO BREATH! when greeting each other, Hawaiians would breath into each other kind of like a kiss. When the haole's first came to hawaii, they did not do this therefor HA - Breath OLE- No.

Posted by Tanya on February 21, 2006 10:31 AM:

I was told Haole meant "without a spirit". When calling someone a haole, you are telling them they do not have a spirit or a soul (the breath of life). It has nothing to do with the colour of the skin, or where they were born or raised. We are all a mixture of many different ethnicities and cultures, different shades of skin colour, and we are all Children of God with plenty spirit (and all bleed red). We need to practice true Aloha by loving our neighbors as ourselves and end the negativity/racism.

Posted by JC808 on February 23, 2006 2:18 AM:

Well ive lived here all my life. Born n raised in Hawaii, with both local and haole friends. Yet because of my darker complection, some think i should id more w

Posted by Mark on February 23, 2006 3:08 PM:

I have no issue with being called a Haole as long as it is in a good natured way. I found an article that described the origin of the word. It said Haole actually translated to people "who do not breathe", a reference to the dead. In 1778 when Captain Cook's ship pulled up to a bay on the big Island the locals freaked out because they had never seen white people. They figured the Englishmen on the ship were so pale in color that they MUST be spirits. That is how the name came to be. It is more of a reference to color then it is to nationality. When you get down to it, all people on Hawaii are foreigners in a sense. Even the first Hawaiians from the Marquesan Islands and Tahiti had to migrate there. It is not their original homeland. In fact the haoles have been on the Hawaiian Islands longer then many asian cultures. The first American white settlers from New England arrived in Hawaii around 1820. The Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, and Koreans did not land on the Island until later on. Without getting too technical every culture with the exception the original polynesian cultures are "foreigners" to the Hawaiian islands. Much like every other race and culture on the mainland are foreigners to the American Indians.

Posted by ZH on March 11, 2006 1:26 PM:

After living in Hawaii, I've come to the conclusion that being a haole is a complement. The locals should try screwing some bruddas and sistadas out of their own gene pool. Ugly, stupid and lazy, enjoy your spam.

Posted by Al Secchi on March 14, 2006 5:43 PM:

Islander's Cafe & BBQ serves the absolutely best plate lunches available anywhere and they will cater any event big and small. You have to try their combo plate and see for yourself. Totally ONO!! Check they out at: http://www.islanderscafe.com

Posted by hawaiianty on May 8, 2006 7:52 AM:

Well ZH, you have just shown the ignorance of the haole. And for everyone who says they are HAWAIIAN at heart, no thanks, I just dont randomly pick some foreign place and steal their culture for myself and call myself ****** at heart. Research your own cultures, identify with your people, find your own roots! Love the islands, live on the islands, respect the aina, but dont try to steal the last one thing that we kanaka maoli have. We will fight for our culture and our people by what ever means we can and one day the rightful monarchy of the Kingdom of Hawaii will be restored!

Posted by kaaloa on July 20, 2006 11:21 PM:

First of all, haole does not mean breathless or without spirit. The are chants that existed prior to the whites coming to Hawaii that talk about haole (foreign) gods, etc. When Cook arrived during the Lono-i-ka-makahiki festival he and his crew were thought of as gods, not breathess. That supid urban legend about breathless or spiritless was invented by somebody who did not speak Hawaiian. In fact, most of the people who tell me that story are Asians (who by the way are haoles themselves). As a white who was born here, grew up here and went to Hawaiian imersion school I have to laugh at all the Asians that go to great lenghts to tell me they are "locals" and I'm the foreinger. In a sense they are calling me an equivalent of a "nigger". I have never had a real Hawaiian call me a haole. It has always been an Asian. So why are all you Asians in Hawaii so ashamed of your heritage. Why don't you call yourselves what you are, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, etc. Why do you go to such great lengths to lie and say you are Hawaiian. My Samoan wife has one German ancestor. She does not call herself a German. My neighbor with one Hawaiian ancestor (1/16 Hawaiian) and the rest Chinese adamantly calls herself a Hawaiian and talks of "my land, my culture, my people". She is not Hawaiian, she is Chinese. Be proud of who you are and stop being racist by blaming all your problems on the whites. Almost everyone in Hawaii is Haole including my Samonan wife who even though she is a Polynesian is not native Hawaiian. By the way, for all you Asians, if it wasn't for the whites bringing your ancestors here, you wouldn't be here trying prove you were "local".

Posted by Babo on July 24, 2006 9:11 AM:

As a long time resident of Hawaii (37 years, come o the islands at age 7) I've always found it humorous when someone of asian descent goes into some long harange about "haole influences" on local culture when it was the evvillll haoles that brought their great-great-grandparents and their Japanese/Korean/Chinese culture to the islands.

Is there a group of people that has ever worked harder to be something they aren't than asians in Hawaii pretending to be "locals"?

Posted by jonny on July 28, 2006 8:45 PM:

Viddy well, Hawaii is the only place on Earth where we have the chance to take white people as minority, so on take it to go.

75% portugee, 25% italian.

Posted by Axl on July 31, 2006 9:50 PM:

I feel you James. I've been to Hawaii twice, beautiful place. But you angry locals can fuck off! Meet me in the streets of New Orleans BITCHES!
The last time I was in Maui, I was jumped by some big brown bastards. Since then I've been ready to return the favor.
Hey brownies, how do you think "your land" would be without "haole's" tax and visitation dollars? Hawaii is the largest wellfare state in the nation. You would be more broke dick than you are now!
I'm tired of having to defend myself for being white. I don't want your butt ugly women. There was not one hot chick the whole time I was there! All I want to do is go to a cool place, have some cocktails, and watch the fucking sun set. Don't blame me for history. Trust me, I'm blamed for it every day by black assholes in Louisiana.
Don't come to New Orleans you brown fuckers. I'll beat ya'll worse than ya'll beat me!

Posted by Lavarock on August 6, 2006 10:19 PM:

Andrea said: To me it is not a racist term at all! it ACTUALLY means NO BREATH!
Mark said: "They figured the Englishmen on the ship were so pale in color that they MUST be spirits. That is how the name came to be."

It doesn't matter how the word "Haole" came to be, it's still racist and derogatory. "Nigger" is derived from the Spanish word for the color black, and that's obviously racist. "Haole" is used in the same way "Negroe" was used a hundred years ago, in that they can be used simply as identifiers (they didn't say Black or African-American) but they can also be racist and negative.

Nothing can excuse racial discrimination. It really doesn't matter why you want to do it, you simply can't. This goes for Hawaiian sovereignty and affirmative action. If you've got a group of people with low socio-economic status, why don't you help them? Why don't you help all people of all races who are poor and living in bad conditions, and not just those people of a certain race, along with all the other members of their race who don't have any problem? Why should a rich member of one race be benefited while a poor member of another race be ignored?

You're insane if you suggest this kind of thing is meant to alleviate socio-economic injustices. It doesn't need to be race related. Just help the poor, and whichever racial groups have more poor people will benefit proportionally more. That's what equality is.

No Hawaiian sovereignty existed before the monarchy was overthrown. More accurately, the only sovereign was the queen. The people of Hawai'i were her subjects. It was she who held sovereignty and no one else. It was never stolen from the Hawaiian people. It was in fact given.

I don't know which definition of "illegal" people are using to describe the overthrow of the monarchy, because it sure isn't mine. Usually when I talk about something being illegal i'm reffering to ACTUAL ESTABLISHED LAWS, like those Liliuokalani agreed to, and then VIOLATED, in an act of treason against her own constitution.

Did you know how much the Hawaiian monarchs had been in favor of annexation? They simply couldn't agree on wether to annex to the United States or Britain, and this hampered their progress. Due to the political environment in America in the 1850's, Hawai'i was not able to join the US. The Northern and Southern states couldn't agree on wether it would be a slave state or a free state, so they elected not to annex Hawai'i, to maintain the equilibrium.

And this segregation of schools is unacceptable and downright mindboggling. That an institution could still exist within the confines of this country that bars students on the basis of race is not only insulting but also frightening. It's been made all too clear that this issue has been firmly resolved, and schools cannot and must not engage in racial segregation. The corrupt administartion of Kamehameha Schools (Bishop Estate) clings to the will of Berince Pauahi Bishop, a dead noble of a dead country, like it is the divine will of God. Why should a dead woman be excluded from the laws governing our society, and able in post-mortem to oversee the perpetration of vast injustices? Who should care that she was a princess? What value does that position hold to the United States of America? Why should a will carry more privilege than a living, breathing human being? I can guarantee that someone citing a white supremacist's will containing clauses to open and run a white-only school would be shut down and charged with constitutional violations by the first passing judge with a gavel in arms' length.

It is disturbing how much popular support these various movements have been, and humorous the similarities between them and other more infamous movements in the past. "Restore Justice" "Justice for Hawaiians" "Keep Hawaiian schools Hawaiian" These phrases echo coldly of the political environment in the south after Brown v. Board of Education. The racists demanded "Justice" and to "Keep White schools White". The word "Justice" has been reduced to a buzzword. It has no sensible meaning coming from the mouths of such people. It is drivel.

I fully recognize that this is an extended discussion from the main topic, but it needs to be addressed seriously more often. “Haole” is part of a larger situation we’re in that’s plaguing the state of Hawai’i.

Posted by lavarock on August 6, 2006 10:48 PM:

Artie? You honestly find GERMAN and ENGLISH history to be boring? have you read any? Shit if that's not exciting I don't know what is. I mean, Jesus Christ what do you want fireworks and bullet-time with dancing acrobats parading around Winston Churchill and mystical dragons and the Moon exploding? I mean between taking over a quarter of the Earth and almost wiping out most of Humanity, one would think you could get some adrenaline flowing but no, you're clearly not entertained. You must have found some vast and amazing library of knowledge about Hawai'i that just no-one knows about but you! Like maybe the Tahitians rode here on Martian spacecraft piloted by unicorns and then descended from the UFO's brandishing heavy-metal electric guitars, their glorious anthems echoing into the far reaches of the planet, spawning life itself!

DAMN I'm excited.

Posted by hapaboy on August 7, 2006 11:43 AM:

Lavarock, I totally disagree with your position on the Kamehameha schools. The Native Hawaiians have so few advantages in their own land, and you would see them lose their best opportunity for academic achievement in the name of 'equality'? If you want real equality, those with must help those without, the advantaged have to help the disadvantaged, and Kamehameha schools does that for its own people.

Posted by dano on August 19, 2006 11:54 AM:

i have two regrets about moving to hawaii, the first being that i went in the first place and the second is that i didnt bring a gun.in my book people who hurt people for no reason are peices of shit and gangs of people who hurt people for no reason are cowardly peices of shit.im talking about the local hawaiians,hawaiian/asian mixes and whatever the fuck they are cowards who hurt people. as for your hawaiian nation, if you want it back do something about it! dont hang out in the park with your thug friends complaining and waiting for your chance to ambush a poor soul who just wants to relax on vacation because hes been working 60 hour weeks in order to afford his vacation.

Posted by Kaaloa on August 19, 2006 9:53 PM:

Lavarock et. al.,

Why don't you people read Hawaiiian history. Haole does not mean breathless or without spirit. Cook was looked upon as a god returning. It was only after his ship was damaged in a storm and he returned unexpectedly to Hawaii that the Hawaiians started to suspect him. The actions of Cook and his crew also gave them away as humans not gods. Cook arrived at Ke-ala-ke-kua Bay (lit. the path of god) during the Lono-i-ka-makahiki celebration(lit. year festival for Lono). The sign for Lono was a big square piece of kapa suspended on a pole with a crossbeam. So what do you think the Hawaiians thought when a big square rigger ship with big white square sails hanging from the mast appeared at the "path of the god" bay on the exact day of the festival for Lono. They thought Cook was Lono, NOT a breathless or spiritless person. There are legends that predate Cook where Kamapuaa eats haole (foreign) food and brings haole (foreign)flowers. Now unless Kamapuaa went to the mainland or England then the word haole means "foriegn". Again that whole breathless/spiritless story is an urban legend started by people who were trying to denigrate whites and who have no knowledge of Hawaiian language or history.

By the way Hawaiian sovereinty really didn't exist until after the coming of the whites. Kamehameha only conquered Oahu with the help of firearms from the whites. Before Kamehameha started his campaign of blood and warfare the Hawaiians had district chiefs. We call Kamehemeha great but do you think the districts and islands he conquered along with the families of those he killed and sacrificed thought he was great?

I do agree with Lavarock the the underlying racism in Hawaii is part of a bigger plague in Hawaii. I recently spoke to a female from Aiea who came home for the summer after attending USC. She calls herself half haole and half local (mom is a Filipino). I finall got her to admit she was all haole since her Filipino mom is not native Hawaii and is a foreigner also. As we discussed the topic of racism this student commented on how racist Hawaii is to her after being away. She said at USC no one cared what you were: black, white, latino, Filipino, etc. But coming back to Hawaii she saw the universal racism towards whites, and also said that the local (Asian) pecking order is: Japanese at the top who look down on everyone, even Japanese tourist. Next are the Chinese and Okinawans. From the Japanese eyes the Koreans are bottom of the barrel. But she said as a group the Filipinos are the sticky scum on the bottom of our sandals. Another interesting comment she made concerned the Portugese. They are not Asian so they are not part of the Asian pecking order. Portugese are Europeans but because of their coloring,they avoid at all costs being called haoles like the rest of the European descendents.

Kamehameha schools being for the "Hawaiians" -- Everyone I know that goes to Kamehameha School has a Asian last name: Fong, Wong, Chun, etc. My neighbor, the one who is 1/16 Hawaiian laughs at his Hawaiian heritage. He said that if you are bitten by a mosquito in Waianae you'll have more Hawaiian blood than his kids (1/32 Hawaiian) but they have ONE Hawaiian ancestor and that is all it takes. His kids are 1/32 Hawaiian, the rest Asian. Is Kamehameha really educating dis-advantaged Hawaiian kids or is it skimming the cream of crop, mostly Asian students from the school system? If Kamehameha School really wanted to help Hawaiian kids, why don't they go to Nanakuli, Waianae, Waimanalo and enrolled low income, low test scoring kids with a lot more Hawaiian blood then most of the student body and give those lower socio-economic kids a great education. With a good education, those kids could break the povery cycle. When I say stuff like that, it is the mostly Asian parents who freak out and oppose the idea. Is it because Kamehameha would focus on native Hawaiians rather than their Asian kids?

I also agree that Kamehameha Schools, Bishop Estate and the other "Native Hawaiian" focused entities are corrupt. They are making millons of dollars hiding behind their "Hawaiian" title. Isn't the head of Kamehameha Board of Directors named Chung or something like that? Sound pretty Hawaiian to me.

Enough! There are many nice people here. For all you "locals" rise above the racist "local" view point. Look in the mirror and admit you are a foreigner just like the whites. Because your ancestors were brought here by whites you are not a peasant farmer in China, Korea, the Philipines, or a common laborer in Japan. Just think how much better you and your families lives are because of the whites both in the past and now with the millons of tourist dollars that the whites bring to this island.

Posted by hilo on August 24, 2006 11:09 AM:

im getting tired of being called haole in such a negative way as well but if it hast to be done then lets go all out blacks are niggers again, asians are gooks, hawaiians are kanaka, ect hows that sound?

Posted by OldTimer on September 13, 2006 6:05 PM:

Wow! I was just reminiscing on my youth, checking out Youtube for surfing & bodyboarding videos from Sandy Beach, Makapu, (even better MY locale for a couple of decades, the Newport Wedge!) and saw a stupid comment from some "Hawaiian" jackoff and it sparked all these memories of the so called "paradise" that exists over there and how utterly racist it is. I was over there in the 70's and I see NOTHING has really changed. Don't worry NEEDTOLEAVE, your time over there will end soon enuff. Enjoy the rainbows and pretty women and beaches while you can and savor the good memories. Those WILL last and luckily, you'll never have to spend our $$ on a vacation on a place you already know well enough. Peace.

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