Nedra De Lima, White Plains, MD. Experienced “minority status” when we moved stateside from Hawaii in the 70s. I was most often identified as Hispanic/Mexican. Was also identified as generic Native American or African American. Also Inuit or Louisiana Creole. Too many times, I only became acceptable after I identified as Hawaiian Chinese. Then I […]
All my life, people have mistaken me for “races” that I am not: Mexican, Hawaiian, Filipino, Indian, Brazilian. I was always flattered because I thought this meant I looked exotic and “different,” I wanted to look different. I didn’t want to look “haole,” our stolen Hawaiian word for “white.” That’s when I uncovered the implicit […]
Ashlee Johnston, Ladera Ranch, CA. People tell me they thought that I am White but once I tell them about my Asian/Hawaiian/Spanish/Canadian…. background they say they can tell. I am proud to be so many things from all over the world.
Kehaulani H. Minzghor, Portland, OR.
Amanda Claiborne, Pahoa, HI. Asked of me by a typical Hawaiian child of mixed background, brown skin, hair, and eyes. A reminder that blue-eyed freckled folks like me are a minority here.
Frank Benson Knoxville, TN I am native american from Alaska. I have been mistaken for hispanic, asian, hawaiian. it’s difficult not to see someones color, but to make assumptions about who someone based on skin tone before meeting the person limits us all.
Claire Iveson Kaunakakai, HI My blonde Anglo son was raised and educated on Molokai, before going to the Berkley College of Music at 17. He was aware from kindergarten that he was a “haole” but didn’t understand that he wasn’t also Hawaiian. Adult Hawaiian friends assured them that he was a keiki o ka’aina, a […]
Elizabeth Norris Taylor Fernandina Beach, FL I have lived my entire life with people coming up to me and asking, “what are you?” For a while in college, I had some very clever comebacks… now days I simply shrug and say, “American, and you?” I have had people come up to me and speak Spanish […]
Jan Mason NY Born and raised in paradise as a Haole (white) person I had more than my share of discrimination but living on the “mainland” where I “fit in” with the white majority(?) my island heritage is invisible. I have taken to checking the box or “Pacific Islander” though I feel guilty about if […]
John Book Pasco, WA In my experience as someone who is part-Hawaiian, I’ve found that the stereotypes of what I am and where I’m from were very misinformed, yet seemed endless at the time. Sadly, those who were in error often did not want to know anymore than the stereotype they presented to me. It […]