Haoles in Hawai‘i strives to make sense of haole (white person/whiteness in Hawai‘i) and "the politics of haole" in current debates about race in Hawai‘i. Recognizing it as a form of American whiteness specific to Hawai‘i, the author argues that haole was forged and reforged over two centuries of colonization and needs to be understood in that context. Haole reminds us that race is about more than skin color as it identifies a certain amalgamation of attitude and behavior that is at odds with Hawaiian and local values and social norms. By situating haole historically and politically, the author asks readers to think about ongoing processes of colonization and possibilities for reformulating the meaning of haole.
For more information on Haoles in Hawaii, visit http://haolesinhawaii.blogspot.com/
Haoles in Hawai‘i is a precious little book. It gently introduces the lay reader to the intricacies and intensity of Hawaiian debates on ethnic diversity, belonging, indigeneity and sovereignty without unnecessary complication but also without compromising on the need to account for local specificity on the one hand, and remain respectful of indigenous sensitivities on the other.
Judy Rohrer has written an extraordinary and long-needed examination of the historical and contemporary place of haoles in Hawai‘i. This study goes far beyond the typical ways that haoles are talked about: as wrong-headed and evil colonizers, dumb malihini who don’t know how to act, or, more recently, victims of reverse discrimination. Her lucid and witty prose as well as her mastery of our homeland’s brand of English will make readers laugh as well as think. Rohrer writes that the aim of this long overdue study is 'to begin to imagine how [people] might become haole in different and better ways.' Haoles will gain a better understanding of why they sometimes get 'stink-eye,' and everyone else will gain a greater understanding of the workings of power in Hawai‘i nei. Everyone in Hawai‘i should read this book!
Haoles in Hawai‘i is a terrific book. It handles complex and sensitive issues with knowledge, grace, and sophistication, while at the same time making them accessible to the general reader. Judy Rohrer knows this subject from a lifetime of experience and years of scholarly study. Although it is certain to appear on many college and university reading lists, this is a book that everyone should read. It will make Hawai‘i a better place.
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