Goodbye LiveJournal!

I thought it was appropriate with me making the move to Arizona that I also finish my official move to my new domain. Thanks to Jessica for purchasing, designing, and managing the site as a graduation present. Thanks to everyone who has come by over the year or so. Feel free to come to my new domain and read and comment there. I, of course, will be checking in on LiveJournal here and then...but I will not be posting here anymore. So adieu and thank you to everyone here. See over at!

Arizona Here I Come!

I just wanted to inform everyone that I have been accepted into University of Arizona's James E. Roger's School of Law. Hopefully you had a hint of this from the banner. I was awarded a merit scholarship as well. Although I had made plans to do other things - take a year off, get some work experience, find myself - I had this opportunity dropped in my lap, and I'm not letting it get away from me. I feel like God just provided a big neon hand pointing to the University of I'm following it before the light turns off. Yes, I know this throws everything off, but we're making due and I've already started making plans for the big move.

Arizona has a great program in indigenous law and policy for which I chose to apply. They have a good reputation. They pride themselves on small class sizes. It all sounds perfect. So if ever you're near Tucson (after we move of course), drop a line! Look out world; here I come!

(Some pictures of my future school!)

Marchers Unite

Taken from 05-02-06

Since I couldn't go to any of the rallies or marches yesterday, I thought that I should do my part by at least writing about them. If nothing else, I am getting the word out and making sure they are seen a little bit more.

I don't think it matters much what I think of the illegal immigration legislation in this entry. I think there are more important things to say. I thought the marches throughout the country yesterday were truly inspiring. They seemed well organized (at least from the reports I've heard) and peaceful. In Chicago, estimates were around a half a million gathering to support immigrant rights. They walked together with American flags waving in the air or draped around their shoulders. It was awe-inspiring to see how many people desperately believe in our country as a home no matter what their background was.

More importantly though, I supported the rallies because I thought it would be powerful to show the U.S. exactly how integrated both legal and illegal immigrants are in our society and more importantly in our economy. Though it would be impossible to do, I would have enjoyed it more to see a spur of the moment rally which incited immigrants and their supporters to march in the streets leaving the service and hard labor jobs empty. I think America would have really seen the impact of an absent low-wage sector.

No matter what you think about the immigration legislation getting passed or about illegal immigrants asking for amnesty, you must consider the big picture. Our country's economy is based in the below-minimum-wage labor that usually targets immigrants both legal and illegal for workers. They fill jobs that Americans really don't want to do. Not to mention that many immigrants get in and have gotten in to the country with our government simply turning a blind eye or actually helping them through a variety of methods. This isn't the first time either! The U.S. has a long history of bringing in cheap labor and once the economy starts to faulter, the government and the public starts anti-immigrant sentiments. We then attempt to deport them. The problem is that many of the people who have been deported actually have links to the land before it became the U.S. So obviously if they are willing to deport people whose families have always been American, the deportations function more for our society's conscience than to remove illegal immigrants. Yet, the U.S. continues this cycle of bringing in immigrants only to use them as scapegoats or wag the dogs when the economy starts to go downhill.

Understanding the basic history of immigration and the cycle that our country perpetuates is important. Couple that understanding with the knowledge that our economy keeps moving on the foundation of an invisible underclass, often made of immigrants, and one can see how inspiring the marches yesterday were. They have flown under the radar for a very long time. Now the government wants to bring them into the limelight and challenge them to boost ratings before the election. So instead of cowering in fear, they stood up tall and asked to be included in the society they help to run. They seem willing to take on good and the bad with becoming citizens. No matter how anyone in that march got there - whether they were born here or whether they came here sometime in their lifetimes - they are as they say, America.

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Some Light Reading Material

I was forwarded this article from Ka Leo, which I believe is the student newspaper at University of Hawaii - Manoa. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyhow, I thought this piece was just a bit of fresh air from all the serious political issues being debated in our country. I thought it was a well-written and tasteful bit of humor. I'll put it below.


Letters to the Editor
UH students must demand that Hawai'i be protected against the undead threat

April 26, 2006

I recently read an article in the Ka Leo asserting that immigration is neither a new nor important issue and is only receiving so much media coverage because the government wants the public to ignore more pressing issues like the war in Iraq, uranium enrichment in Iran, or our lack of preparedness for natural disasters. Indeed, other pressing issues do exist, but one of the most crucial ones for our continued survival on this planet remains consistently ignored: zombie invasion.

Everything you think you know about zombies is wrong. Hollywood and a vast undead conspiracy have worked quietly but diligently to blind us from seeing the gaping holes in our anti-zombie security. Their anti-American campaign of mindless zombie movies has only scratched the icy cold surface of the enormous glacier of feces just waiting to melt when zombies turn up the heat. You think you can survive because you watched "28 Days Later" before? Think again! When feces (not to mention the blood of the innocent) start flowing, there will be no Ala Wai canal to dump it in.

Despite the U.S. government assuring us that we are safer now after Sept. 11, we haven't even begun to plan for the very real threat of zombie invasion. Unlike conventional warfare, zombies wage a guerilla-style war with no regard to international treaties on conducting a fair war that everyone can enjoy. Far more sinister than Osama Bin Laden, no amount of racial profiling or propaganda can identify a potential zombie. Anyone can become a zombie, even God-fearing Protestant white males like me. I'm sure the Bush Administration would agree with me: if you can't trust white males, who can you trust?

While local television news has been whining about frivolous lawsuits, no one has questioned Mayor Mufi Hanneman for not stepping up Honolulu's defenses against an undead onslaught. It's enough to bring a tear to the eye of the Duke statue.

And like Chuck Norris, Duke Kahanamoku never cries. That's why I'm calling on the students of UH to stand up and demand Hawai'i be protected from mindless killing machines bent on eating our brains. Stop zombies now!

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There have been a number of anonymous comments left in the past few months. I have politely allowed non-friends and non-LJ users to comment with a screening process. However, I do not appreciate anonymous comments that do not include a name. I will not unscreen a comment unless the poster has provided an identifier. It's as simple as putting - then you're name at the end of the comment. It really is not rocket science.

I promise to unscreen all comments (unless they are hateful, derogatory, or harassing...all of which are punishable by LJ or the law) regardless of the stance the poster takes, so long as he identifies himself. I wish to foster a place of comfortable discourse. Completely anonymous comments are counter-active to that goal.

Be warned, your comments will go unheard by everyone but me if you do not identify yourself.

p.s. you really want your comments to be heard by other people if you disagree with me because i've already heard all of the counter-arguments, i do my research, and i've made up my mind. so it's in your best interest to identify yourself.


I have been meaning to write an entry for a few weeks now about Ann Coulter. A few weeks ago, she came to speak in my area. As one can imagine, tempers flared and protests occurred. Coulter's mere presence provoked a wide spectrum of reactions from respectful silent protesters and an anti-hate speech rally to vile and obnoxious heckling. The more I thought about the whole thing and discussed the event with others, the more I realized the effects Ann Coulter has on people. Then, as I continued thinking, I began to realize how similar Ken Conklin, the anti-Hawaiian activist, is to Coulter.

Firstly, Coulter acts to make a spectacle. Everything she says and does is to create a spectacle. This is seen by the sheer madness that occurs at her speaking engagements. From the pies to the incessant heckling, it's obvious that she profits off of, if not enjoys, the carnival that is created when she arrives. Additionally, the far-out, derogatory, and loaded comments she utters creates this idea of spectacle. She is a woman who seems to say things for shock value. Coulter does not provide any kind of research or in-depth analysis of any statements she makes. She simply commands her opinions as true no matter how hurtful and false they are. Conklin seems to try and achieve a similar feat. Granted, I must give Conklin credit as he seems to put a little more thought into his arguments than Coulter does. However, this does not erase his ability to say things that seem to be said to provoke the Hawaiian community. His far-fetched claims and convenient definitions fly in the face of decades of scholarship. Much of his commentary goes above and beyond the call of duty to end what he views and racism. These types of constant attempts to provoke the other side without thought or care serves to at least lay the foundation of making a spectacle out of the political commentary process.

These carnivalization is detrimental for our society because it prevents people from thinking critically. Creating a spectacle only serves to make a mockery out of whatever process is occurring. I am not advocating that people not have a sense of humor. After all, Jon Stewart's Daily Show makes a mockery out of politicians, pundits, and issues appropriately and respectfully. Stewart aims to satirize politics in a way which encourages critical thinking. Coulter and Conklin's methods seem to discourage that kind of thinking. Furthermore, creating a spectacle delegitimizes whatever processes are being carnivalized. These processes of critical analysis of our country's politics will over time seem less and less serious and less and less legitimate if people like Coulter and Conklin continue to carnivalize instead of intellectualize political analysis.

The second, and in my opinion, most harmful effect of the works of both Coulter and Conklin is the further polarization of our country. Coulter plays off of the liberal versus conservative and democrat versus republican dichotomy. Being restrained to these extremes constitutes a false dichotomy. There is no in-between. According to Coulter, if you're ready to ridicule liberals, you must be with her and if you disagree with her, you are obviously a liberal. This negates any kind of moderate or alternative view that can exist. Conklin attempts to achieve a similar effect. He seeks to make people either for or against Hawaiian political rights. Either you are with the extreme Hawaiian activists or you are against them, and subsequently with him. This completely ignores the diversity that exists within the Hawaiian community. For Conklin, and for that matter Jere Krischel, you must either buy all of their assertions or none of them.

Polarization of our country has had far-reaching consequences. Firstly, it makes compromise almost impossible. People become more and more unwilling to compromise. This can make our political insitutions stagnant. Polarization also leads to increased conflicts between groups and classes. Obviously we are not always going to get along. However, polarization as encouraged by Coulter and Conklin incites unnecessary conflict. That conflict then makes it THAT much more difficult to analyze and discuss calmly political and social issues.

I am not calling for the absolute bar of Coulter's or Conklin's ramblings. However, it is important for us to see the harmful effects their actions have on our society. I can't stop them from speaking out, but I can educate others about the consequences of their actions. However, I am left to wonder: does talking about them and giving them so much attention help or hurt them?

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Don't Get So Defensive

It has come to my attention that the phrase "don't get so defensive" must be retired. Most commonly it is used after a borderline (or completely) offensive joke that was told to an audience that appreciated the quip far less than the joke teller meant them to receive it. In this case, the joke teller often relates a derogatory comment, story, or joke and then when the audience does not see the hyperbole, irony, or humor, the teller reacts appropriately by rudely remarking to not "get so defensive." Other times, a person will give an anecdote or comment that is unintentionally derogatory or inflammatory. Instead of apologizing or sitting down to discuss, often times the comment giver snidely remarks "well, you don't have to get so defensive." There are other variations on the "don't get so defensive," but the basic framework has been laid out above.

In the piece "How Suble Sex Discrimination Works," Nijole V. Benokraitis identifies the defensive tactic as friendly harassment. In the context of the discussion, Benokraitis defines friendly harassment as "sexually oriented behavior that, at face value, looks harmless or even playful." Benokraitis furthers her discussion by noting that "when women don't laugh at 'stupid little jokes,' moreover, they are often accused of not having a sense of humor." One can see where the "don't get defensive" framework comes into play. Instead of owning up to a possibly derogatory comment or joke, even when it is unintentional, people often feel the need to defend themselves by projecting their feelings on the offended.

One of the biggest problems with the "don't get defensive" framework is the way in which using it perpetuates a system of dominance. When those who have the upper hand in a power relationship make offensive comments or jokes (unfortunately, it is not usually the dominated making those comments to the dominating) and then use the "don't get defensive" framework, they dismiss any challenge to their oppressive system as silly or out of line. This framework allows those with the power dismiss anyone who tries to challenge their thinking as misled or down right wrong. It should be noted that even if you don't mean to offend someone, by dismissing any claims that an offended person might have, it maintains the power relationship. Using the "don't get defensive" framework maintains the relationship in which the demeaning comments, or the one with power, may stand unchanged while the offeded, or often powerless one, must submit to being nothing more than a foolish instigator. The framework legitimizes the power relationship that perpetuates inequality by silencing the dominated.

Being able to question the legitimacy of a thought or a dominant perception is really the only way to make necessary changes to harmful thinking. Regardless of the intention of the joke or comment, when someone is offended, something wrong was said. No one should have to accept comments that make them uncomfortable or are demeaning. In addition, no one should be denied their rights to challenge stereotypes or dominant thinking. In our society, the dominated should never have to feel silenced. They should feel open and able to challenge common perceptions (and misperceptions) without risk of recourse, humiliation, or accusation of not having a sense of humor.

Interestingly, I have seen the tables turned many times. This reversal shows the power relationship as alive and well. When a man makes a joke about women, and a woman takes offense. Often times the man will order her to stop being so defensive. However, when a minority challenges the white person to see their white privilege, I have often seen the white person not only squirm in their seats but get horribly defensive. When a man is being told how today's advertising world objectifies women and desensitizes people to harmful actions toward women, he often becomes defensive even claiming the reverse that women shouldn't get so defensive. These people are rarely reprimanded by a group, which often happens with friendly harassment toward minorities and women. Those in power, usually whites and men, get defensive and are allowed to voice their opinions and even make policies which help them remain offended. We have all heard of the "angry white man." The ability for those in power to take such actions and the lack of public criticism that these same dominating people receive show the obvious double standard that exists. It's okay for the dominating to get defensive but not the dominated. The dominated have had little ability to silence the dominating like is being done to them.

Hopefully, I have been rather successful in showing how complex structures of inequity are perpetuated in such a simple phrase. I'm not asking for the end of racial/women jokes. I'm not asking for the end of harmful stereotypes and misperceptions. I can't change that in one blog. I'm asking for the end of such a simple phrase that has such harmful social implications.

Lastly, if you disagree completely with my entry, I only have one thing to say to you: DON'T GET SO DEFENSIVE!

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Hawaiian Is, Hawaiian Ain't

It's quite interesting the way things work out. As a young girl, my parents raised me to have Hawaiian values and know the Hawaiian culture. They showed us how bad it could get being in poverty and how good it can be to have a large amount of disposable income. You could say that they prepared us for the worst but primped us for success. They made sure we knew that there was a life outside of Hawai'i. They willingly sent us to sports clinics/camps and academic summer programs on the mainland. They required that we experience at least one year at a mainland university. They forbid us to speak pidgin in the house. Where they couldn't control us, we were allowed to speak pidgin, but once we stepped foot into the house or into their precense, we were barred from the practice. They wanted to make sure that when we grew up, we would have a strong grounding in Hawaiian values but we would not be held back by any negative stereotypes of Hawaiians. So, I spoke proper English fairly well, I went to summer programs, I tried my best in school, and I found a school in the mainland.

As far as looks go, I was always a fair-toned Hawaiian. Whenever someone found out I was Hawaiian, they usually had a shocking response like "wait! you're Hawaiian!?! i didn't know." Sometimes people would even go so far as to tell me flat out that I didn't look Hawaiian. I usually didn't like those people. Then there was the crowd in high school who tried to spread the rumor that in fact, I was not Hawaiian at all. Fortunately, anyone who dared confront me about it were seriously shut down when I informed them that both parents were officially of Hawaiian ancestry. Then there was the times when I was younger and usually was darker (playing sports everyday in the sun will give you a much better tan). During these times, I would go to the mainland and have people stare at me for my odd color, or even have one woman ask if I was Samoan. Even physically, I have always been kind of a mess of a mix of white and dark.

I think it is this background that has provided me with the dilemnas I face on a regular day basis. I do not look like the typical Hawaiian. I do not act like the typical Hawaiian. However, my heart lies with Hawai'i and the Hawaiian culture. Because I was raised as a Hawaiian, I live and breathe as a Hawaiian, not as a haole or anything else I was taught. However, people at home still scoff when I tell them that I am Hawaiian. When I look at other Hawaiian activists, I look nothing like them. Even when I hear them talk with other Hawaiians, I feel inadequate because I have never learned to speak Hawaiian (though I am learning!) or to speak pidgin. I completely understand the use for using such dialects, but unfortunately, it seems that I am on the outside of the "typical" Hawaiian activist, The way I speak, dress, and even act are completely different from those with whom I identify best.

As I continue my thoughts, I think about the reactions I've had to living on the mainland. Often times, I overlook events and actions with disgust. I sometimes can't understand how someone didn't realize what the right way to act was. Of course, then I realize that my "right way" is very Hawaiian. I still comprehend and analyze things and situations in a very Hawaiian way at times. There are sometimes where my white seeps in of course. But many problems or irritations I've had here, I realize, have come from a difference in values. Not necessarily that one is better than the other but that my values differ from a large amount of people here and that often causes conflict. And then, when I go home, my ideas are often in conflict with people's at home because I think too "white" for them. Here again, because of the way I was raised and the experiences I've had, our values differ even in Hawai'i.

This whole discussion leads me to my conclusion: there are no typical Hawaiians. Though I know I'm unique in many ways, I can't be the only outcast. When I look at activists like Haunani Kay Trask, I find it interesting that she speaks proper English (when necessary I assume) and visits with indigenous groups from around the world. She has travelled to Spain, she has written books not in pidgin, and she has even invited speakers from the mainland to come to the university. Looking at her background, she was actually in a similar situation as mine by going to Kamehameha and then obtaining a degree at a mainland liberal arts college. Yet, looking at her and her accomplishments, she and I are so different. Then I look at my friends, who range from all colors and all practices of Hawaiian values and culture. They are all so different, yet one thing can always bring us together: our love for Hawai'i, Hawaiians, and Hawaiian culture. So maybe that's all that being Hawaiian means: appreciating and caring for the culture and history while understanding that what happens to other Hawaiians can happen to you. I think this might begin to describe two of the few over-arching traits of Hawaiians. Being Hawaiian shouldn't be a competition of who is more Hawaiian than the other. Rather, it should be a coming together and celebration of our similar appreciation for our ancestry. This understanding could help Hawaiians finally work together to get somewhere rather than constantly splitting into factions who refuse to form even temporary coalitions.

Update for You

Well, since it's been a while, I figured I would update everyone on everything that's been going on with everything that I've been writing about lately.

For you loyal readers (yes, I know there aren't many of you), I talked to Office of Student Diversity a few weeks ago. I spoke with the director who said he would advise me if I wanted to take further action on this matter of the cartoon. He was also happy to hear how understanding Colleges Against Cancer has been.

In recent posts I have been compelled to create more of a sense of community since from viewing my log I have repeat viewers rather than those who stumble on to my blog accidentally. I thought it would be useful for other users to know where their fellow-readers are located. So...hello Chicago, San Francisco, Honolulu, Hammond, and Toledo! Hopefully now that you all know where each other is from, we can encourage more lively debates and discussions.

Look for my next should be out shortly.

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Response for Anonymous

I think everyone should go to this link to read about Indian mascots. Although Hawaiians and Native Americans are very different...I think Wicks' point about misrepresentation not being an honor or a celebration really hits home my point in response to anonymous's letter.


This entry is to respond to a comment left on my last entry. It is not a personal letter and the person anonymously left it on my public blog. Therefore, I feel that I am doing no harm in addressing the comment publicly. Since for now, to encourage the anonymous writer to speak up, I have privatized (not deleted) the preceding entries, here is the comment that was left for me.

Did you ever think that it is inappropriate to share personal letters - addressed to you and you alone - online? Would you like it it someone did this to you? Your personal vendetta is getting a bit ridiculous. Did you ever think that Hawaiian-themed events aren't meant to stereotype or make fun of Hawaiian culture but instead to celebrate it? Maybe you should take it as a complement. Furthermore, do you think it would be appropriate for Latinos to protest things like Chipotle, which is a far cry from Mexican food, although it is billed as such?

First of all, all of these correspondences were shared with the Office of Student Diversity. I have never intended these to be private correspondences. I would hope that these people involved would understand that anything typed out, emailed, or printed can be reproduced. I do not think anything sent to me was said in confidence. Nor do I expect my words to not have the ability to come back and bite me in the butt. This is why I write with thought and care. I draft multiple versions of a letter before I send it. I know that my emails and correspondence will not only have an effect on the person it is addressed to, but it also can be shared, and I actually expect that they are. I only hope that those involved are informing others of the problem here. If the aformentioned comment-leaver is the owner of any of the correspondence, I would be happy to take them down once I am afforded a response or a personal and signed comment or note rather than an anonymous comment.

Secondly, I defend the right to post such correspondence when I am not afforded the respect to have a second response from the paper. If my voice is not heard at school, then where else am I to go? Should I just drop it? I'm sure you think so...but when you find something you're passionate about and someone offends you about it, I ask you to keep the same restraint you are asking me to keep. I doubt it will be as easy as you believe it to be. In fact, I'm sure.

Thirdly, it is NOT an honor or a compliment to have my culture misrepresented without a slight bit of considerations of its possible effects. Having your culture, your upbringing, your lifestyle misrepresented without a thought is NOT an honor. I take issues of Hawaiian politics and Hawaiian political aspirations seriously. These stereotypes have an extremely negative impact on those issues that I take seriously. If you would like further reading, I can suggest some to you. If you think I am miseducated, please leave me a comment with your contact info, and I will send you a copy of a paper I did regarding these issues along with a reading list that will help you understand how and why stereotyping is detrimental for many indigenous (and minority) groups. It is never a compliment to be treated as purely entertainment and comical. That is what the original theme had planned. Colleges Against Cancer was enormously kind for understanding my push for cultural sensitivity. I am indebted to their kindness. I have expressed my gratitude as well. Bottom line is that Hawaiian-themed events that perpetuate false stereotypes and are detrimental to the Hawaiian community are never a compliment nor an acceptable celebration of a culture.

Fourthly, it is not like Chipotle at all. Chipotle does not say "hey! come have a mexican party!" The food may be based off of Mexican food, but they do not have an apparent theme. I don't believe that I have included such mislabeled food like Hawaiian pizza in my so-called vendetta. Also, if a Mexican-American were offended by anything Chipotle did on campus (as this of course was the whole focus of my "vendetta:" on-campus acts of cultural insensitivity), I would urge him to speak up. On a campus focused on social justice, I would hope that someone of an offended race would be willing to speak up and open a discussion as to why such actions are harmful. It's their duty. Also, for the record, Mexicans protested Taco Bell. Good for them. They have that right.

I hope I have addressed all of your concerns. I encourage you to comment again. Of course, discourse and discussion is the best way to educate and it's clear you and I seek to educate each other. It would benefit both of us and those who read my blog (as it is more than just me) if all parties are publicly identified in a discussion. This reduces confusion and suspicion as well as makes everyone, myself and those who comment, feel more accountable and responsible for his or her words. Overall, I believe it will make the conversation, debate, and comments much more beneficial for everyone involved.

Therefore, I ask that you refrain from leaving an anonymous comment. If you do not have a livejournal account, you can easily sign your name at the bottom of the comment entry. If you are uncomfortable with writing your full first and last name...a nickname which identifies yourself to both me and those who know you will suffice. I enjoy a public blog and would be saddened if I had to close it to friends only or to friends-only comments for the sake of accountable intellectual conversation. I thank you for your time.

p.s. I see the exact location of all computers who view my page. So...really, you might as well sign your name.

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