“I grew up, when things that were Hawaiian, weren’t really valued. I grew up, seeing that our people were extraordinarily unhealthy relative to other ethnic groups. Something was wrong. The notion that we were second-rate in our own homeland, my people being less than equal, started to grow, with that growth came anger, and with that anger came a quiet rage, because there was no place to debate it, to deal with it, and you carried that with you.” ~ Nainoa Thompson, from The Hawaiians Reflecting Spirit
Powerful, uh. Small kine intense. Filled with passion. Choke words can be inserted to describe how deep dis kine feelings is.
I stay on my journey ova hea almosâ€™ 27 years now. In dat time, I wen go tru all kine experiences, one wide range of emotion, uh, and wen start to figah wot I like do, seek, experience from hea and most important wot I believe in.
Da guiding force of dis has to do with answering one question. Who am I? Who am I… foâ€™ real kine…
Jason Mitchell Anthony Walter. I am Bowsah, my fadah is Larry, son of Harry and Edith. I am Jas B, my madah is Kathy, daughtah of Kenny and Aurora. I am Jas to my brotha, J or JMAW to my friends and loved ones. I am part continental United States tru my heritage. And dat side stay from Ireland, England, Germany. I also get some of China and Okinawa insai me. Poi dog, uh?
Most of all, I am localâ€¦
I am past four, yup, das right, four, chee-hoo, generations of people living in Hawai`i. I am a child of Hawai`i. Even wen get dat kine, I not considered Hawaiian, sometimes not even local. You know in Germany, wen da Holocaust wen happen, da kine Jewish peopo dat wen live ova dere for multiple generations were neva interned because dey was considered German and not Jewish. Crazy, uh? Get choke non-local people have told me Iâ€™m Hawaiian because of my heritage or how I talk. Crazy, uh, I always tellâ€™em no cause I look so haoleâ€¦
If I had one dollar for every racially charged statement sent my way, Iâ€™d be one rich buggah. Heh, if had one fo every time I woz assumed to be from somewhea else (like da continent) or given stink eye until I wen open my mouth, ho cousin, I could probably buy my own island. Kay, maybe not, but maybe one house, one cherry house like up Waialae Iki or no, one solid place up Sunrise Ridge Hilo
But anyway, ova hea, I one shade, maybe two, lightah. Because I get da haole features, I have to argue, get ready fo trow down about my my being one local. My only link to dis land, my only credibility, is the way I talk. Itâ€™s like as soon as I talk pidgin, I stay pullinâ€™ out my â€œLocals Onlyâ€ membership card, can-breathe-one-breath-fresh-air-cause-not-goin-get-mobbed â€˜cause I wen pass da test kine.
But Brr-ah! I am born-and-raised-Hawai`i, born Oahu, grew up Hilo. I am of dis aina, identifying wit ova hea, a local, not being accepted as one. Itâ€™s like dat saying: â€œone man without one country.â€
Remembah, I wen talk about da Holocaust, I remembah as one keed I so was ashamed of dat, cause I get little bit German. I also wen feel bad because Christians had come in and replaced the practices all ova da world, not just over hea, with deir own as I was Catholic. But why, uh?
I hated dat I was one haole. I felt bad dat I look liâ€™dis. So I wen go tru life having to prove myself ova and ova and as much as it hurt me to be called haole wit dat â€œ fâ€™ing haole toneâ€, you know wotâ€™s moa worse, it made me no like haoles.
Not like I one mean person lidat. I get my moments were da inner douche-mok takes ova, but fo da most part, I care a lot about people and just like try make da world bettah fo da futah. As one keed I wen get so sad about wot wen happen to da Hawaiians, African-kine peopo, Jewish peopo, all da oppressed peoplo all ova. Was fo sure wrong, every atrocity dat wen happen. But, how come I was treated like da oppressor, like I wen cause all dat? Wasnâ€™t like I was da one doinâ€™ dat. Wasnâ€™t like I even stay descended from people who did that. It was just by association, uh. So da only â€˜ting I could do was lash out at myself or anyone non-local, especially wen dey was haole. It was like discrimination had turned itself around out hea and as much as I didnâ€™t like how I was treated, I jumped at the chance to do it, because Iâ€™m local, to prove it, uh.
As one real small keed, I remembah how I stuck out or how people would trip out because I was wit one of my Grandmas, two of da sweetest ladies eva, both full Asian born ova hea, whose maiden names are Hee and Tamashiro. It wasnâ€™t until recently wen I was talkinâ€™ wit my Dad dat I began fo ponder how it could have been fo him and my mom, wen dey was young or otha hapa-kids from days wen was probably moa worse. Try tink about it, how would it feel if someone wen imply dat your madah wasnâ€™t your madah because you neva look alike? Probably, sad, probably pissed off, but no can understand why. Sheesh, as one keed, you just like love everyone and play and have one good time. Wen dat kine stuff happens to you wen you stay young, it sticks, it makes us hard, uh, â€˜cause we no can talk about um. But, eh, datâ€™s how, right?
While I not Native Hawaiian, I am of Hawai`i. Was a few years ago, dat I wen take one class at UH from Bradah Keanu Sai ( www.hawaiiankingdom.org ), da guy is da man, he wen go World Court for Larsen v. the Hawaiian Kingdom. His class wen try fo educate da people about what the Kingdom was like, what the dream was. Da Queen, bless her, was one Aloha-filled sistah. She wished to get rid of dat Bayonet Constitution and establish a constitution for her people, the Hawaiians, Native and othawise. Dey had different ways fo describe Hawaiians back den: Kanaka Maole (full-blood), Kanaka Hapa (half), and Kanaka Hawaiâ€™i (no more blood but still Hawaiian). And all was Hawaiians. Crazy, uh? And best of all, I wen learn dat Hawai`i was in a sense still free, just occupied, we neva lost sovereignty, it just neva get restored yet. In theory, uh, not practice. But eh, still itâ€™s one start.
Sheesh, I was sold. I was like, ho bra Keanu, tanks uh. Iâ€™m one Hawaiian cause I get ancestry dat go back to befoa da occupation. I felt like I finally wen belong. It was okay fo look liâ€™dis and be local. I had one country.
I know, technically, in reality, woteva, Iâ€™m American, and datâ€™s cool and all, but I no really identify wit America. How many locals would say dat too? I look at the people around me, my generation, the children coming up now, and I see the same type of anger Nainoa Thompson stay describing not only the Native Hawaiians but all locals. No one in life should be looked down upon, but we all been raised to do dat. I tellinâ€™ my story from da experience I had growing up looking full-haole, but try tink about all da kine racist stereotypes we hear and sadly accept cause we Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanee, Portagee, Korean, Popolo, Samoan, every and any kine ethnicity. Look at how we fight each otha. Hawai`i is da land of Aloha but we get some mean kine displacement going on ova hea.
Dat â€œquiet rageâ€ courses tru me, drives me at times. In some ways, I love itâ€¦ Da only reason is â€˜cause it stirs my passion. It stokes da fire of Aloha I get fo Hawai`i, all her children, all my peopo.
I believe dat da time is now for one cohesion, one resurgence of local culture, one that embraces all da different kine people who came hea, who swore deir allegiance to the Kingdom, or who came hea fo one bettah life â€˜cause you no can argue, it is fo real solid ova hea! I might be small kine bias but dis is da best place to live.
We, all of us befoa, all of us now, all dat goinâ€™ come, of dis special place, from dis place, for dis place, to dis place, are accepted by it. Da ones not accepting us is ourselves. It is time for locals(born-and-raised and transplants-alike) to be proud and unite. So â€œmanyâ€ local kids too shy fo speak up in class, oâ€™ wow, try look get low test scores, all dese â€œfactsâ€ we hear about on the news. The looks some people give us wen dey tell us â€œDo not speak pidgin, itâ€™s ignorant, you will not get a good job. Etc.â€ Is it dat oâ€™ is it dat we just not in touch wit each otha, afraid to live our culture cause fo so long we been played against each otha. Dey tell us told dat our heritage, our cultures, are special. Yet we stay socialized in one way dat treats everbody different, so we end up fightinâ€™.
Weâ€™ve been forced to endure a great number of lies in our lifetimes, da most strong ones found out in childhood even though we no can figahâ€™em out.
In da future, we goin be loved, hated, embraced, spit on in all kine ways, das just life. So, all of us, all who love Hawai`1, wot we goin do about it. I tell you wot, da Native Hawaiians is doinâ€™ um right now: Cultural Revival.
How about one Local Renaissance?
Itâ€™s time fo Hawai`i, all her children, to stand up, unite, and pa`ina.
Eh, you like restore da Kingdom, letâ€™s do that. You like still live in occupation, letâ€™s do that. Wotever it is, letâ€™s do it. But câ€™mon guys. Letâ€™s try fo get on da same page. In life, da only time any kine significant events happen, is wen people stay working together.
Wot we been doinâ€™, fo da longest time, is fightinâ€™ and hatinâ€™ each otha, get people of every kine ethnicity, dat is children of Hawai`i, dat come hea fo new life, dat just love Hawai`i. Even though I wen joke about â€˜em earlier, we all proud dat we get da â€œLocals Onlyâ€ Card. No mean we gotta buss up otha heads now since we not goin keep hitting our own. Letâ€™s just live Aloha.
You eitha tinkinâ€™, ho dis guy get one killah idea oâ€™ wow haole oâ€™ no quit ya day job. Woteva it is. I bet you tinkinâ€™. Jusâ€™ look at Bradah Nainoa. I bet you wen he said, I goin build one canoe and navigate by da stars again, dey was like, â€œyeah rightâ€, and he did â€˜em fo his people anyway and now lookâ€™um.
Well, Hawai`i, itâ€™s time we pau bein â€œyeah rightâ€ and time we look to da Native Hawaiians fo guidance and start caring about all da children of Hawai`i. We no can right da wrongs of da past. But we can move towards one healing future. Local Renaissance. It already wen start wit da two Leeâ€™s, Tonoâ€™uch and Cataluna, and choke othas. We just goinâ€™ see da movement grow strongah.
Aloha ke Akua.