Much positive to say about the word "haole"

Letter to the Editor
The Maui News
Thursday, December 13, 2001

In response to Jacob Fewx (Letters, Dec. 5) and his mistaken belief that the Hawaiian word haole "is a racial epithet" and his challenge that "there is no one who can use it in a sentence and make it a positive word," I would like to say that I am a proud, positive haole man.

My beautiful Hawaiian wife is happily married to her loving haole husband. My 6th-grade students at Lahaina Intermediate School love their big haole teacher. In fact, most of the haole people on Maui don't consider haole to be a "racist" word at all.

I never thought I'd say this, but if you are offended because you are referred to as a haole, then you don't belong in Hawaii.

I challenge any haole to prove that they have been a victim of racism in Hawaii. Racism is a systematic, institutionalized set of laws that discriminate against a certain group of people based on race. Prejudice is not racism. And Hawaiians aren't prejudiced against haoles anyway.

As an example of Hawaii's acceptance of haole people, Honolulu has a haole mayor running for our state's highest office - in fact, all four major candidates for governor are haole. One of Hawaii's U.S. congressmen is haole. One of Maui's state senators is haole. Two of Maui's state representatives are haole. Two of Maui's council members are haole.

Maui chief of police is haole. Our last district school superintendent was haole, and so was his deputy. Our last mayor was haole. I could go on and on.

So stop complaining and embrace the multicultural Hawaiian experience where everyone has a name. Haole and proud of it!

Mark Kana'e Smith


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