Hawaiian Islander violence against Haoles. Race- or class-based?

More on that SPLC report Prejudice in Paradise, Hawaii Has a Racism Problem documenting the undeniable increase in violence against Caucasians. Yeah, it’s certainly happening. A father and son nearly killed a US soldier and his wife after their car tapped theirs. A thug punched and killed a tourist then rifled his car. Both of these incidents had racial overtones, especially the father-son one, where they screamed “f**king haoles” at them. The report has more.

Violence like this will increase as the economy gets worse, no question. And it’s hardly just Hawaiian Islander violence. Lots of racial groups attack each other. But where Hawaii is different is that the backdrop is the ever-building Hawaii Independence movement. A few years back it was looked at as being fringe. Not any more. It’s definitely been moving in from the fringe. I hasten to add that many / most of those in the independence movement do not want violence in any way and that thugs often use political goals as excuses for violence.

But what many might be missing is that this is a whole lot more about class than race. Yeah, the two often get hopelessly mixed, but really, the US took over Hawaii by force and installed a ruling class there. That this happened is undeniable.

So, was a white US soldier in Hawaii victimized in part because he was white or because he represented the occupying class? Ditto for tourists, who can sometimes be obnoxiously patronizing and insensitive. Not that this excuses violence against them, not hardly,not even slightly. But I think viewing this as a class conflict rather than just racial may help to better understand what’s happening.


  1. I’d welcome DJ’s thoughts on this, but for myself I’ve always found Hawaii to represent the ideal Pincher containment. The US as an occupier has become complacent through two observable departures: first) I’m not sure the US subjugated the natives as relentlessly as on the mainland and later the Philippines, and second) by assuming assimilation of the native and asian populations the white ruling class has fallen into minority. A dependent outpost, regardless it’s exoticism, and as the borders of empire contract…

  2. This is one side of the violence the other is loss of gathering access to land and ocean. Under the Kingdom that was protected and now those rights are being assaulted. The Hawaii State citizen suffers the same fate of limited access. Limiting cultural practice like what just happened to on the grounds of `Iolani Palace but taking away the small tent to give shade to the pictures of Liliu`okalani by the department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) or the limiting of access the cleaning of the mound with ceremonial love and care by Guy Chang supervisor of the area (DLNR). I understand that the Prince Kawananakoa
    stood by.

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