Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Musings: Color Blind

It started with a fat wedge of white moon and a blanket of silver stars upon black. This gave way, in time, to a pale gold glimmer, and then a small squall blew in, rustling branches, scattering leaves, spattering skylights, before quickly departing, which was the signal for Koko and me to go out walking. The gold expanded in the east and then faded, leaving the sky white, drained of all color, waiting for the sun, which rose from a thick bank of gray, bringing gold back to the east and a pearly pink to the west.

The sky, it seems, has no problem with color, moving through the spectrum easily each night and day. We humans, on the other hand, get all caught up in the matter of skin color, which we use to judge and label, include and exclude.

And as a new study commissioned by CNN shows, the bias is toward light skin, especially among white children, but also among blacks. Discussions with parents of children involved in the study also showed that 75 percent of black parents talk to their kids about race, while 75 percent of white families with kindergartners rarely or never do.

Po Bronson, author of NurtureShock and an award-winning writer on parenting issues says white parents "want to give their kids this sort of post-racial future when they're very young and they're under the wrong conclusion that their kids are colorblind. ... It's in the absence of messages of tolerance that they will naturally ... develop these skin preferences."

Many African-American parents CNN spoke to during the study say they begin discussing race at a very early age because they say they feel they have to prepare their children for a society where their skin color will create obstacles for them.


I found it quite fascinating that President Obama, who is equal parts white and black, identified himself as black on the Census. Since he grew up in a white family, I wondered if he began to characterize himself as black because that's how others in the world perceived him, even though he is in fact no more black than white.

The CNN-sponsored tests sought to replicate the landmark Doll Test from the 1940s, which measured how segregation affected African-American children and were used in the Brown vs. Board of Education case that led to school desegregation.

[Child psychologist and University of Chicago professor Margaret Beale] Spencer said the study points to major trends but is not the definitive word on children and race. It does lead her to conclude that even in 2010, "we are still living in a society where dark things are devalued and white things are valued."

Perhaps that’s why Hawaiian burials are regularly disturbed — the Army found iwi while doing construction at Schofield Barracks — but the burials of whites are not.

Meanwhile, Waldeen Palmeira and Kaiulani Edens Huff were down at Wailua Beach yesterday morning to halt archaeological work that could disturb burials as part of the process for building the Path along the beach there.

Plans were to use an excavator to do a subsurface archaeological inventory survey, and as you may recall from a report by the Oahu Island Burial Council referenced in yesterday’s post:

Hence, archaeological inventory surveys that encounter iwi kupuna through careful hand excavation are highly troubling for Native Hawaiians. More distressful is the thought of archaeological investigation via backhoe excavation. And worse still is the notion of inadvertent intrusion into burials and destruction of iwi kupuna by high-powered, modern construction tools. Such acts cause extreme pain for us.

The Garden Island reported that:

Beth Tokioka, administrative aide to Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., said “equipment issues” — not a protest by a few Native Hawaiians, including Waldeen Palmeira — delayed the planned start.

But Kaiulani told me a slightly different story this morning. “They did have equipment issues. The guy walked off the job.” She said the equipment operator, a former classmate of hers, refused to do the work after she and Waldeen said proper procedures had not been followed in securing permits.

When archaeologist Hal Hammatt of Cultural Surveys Hawaii reportedly said he would bring in someone from Oahu to do the job instead, the operator reportedly negotiated with Hammatt to do the dig by hand, with Waldeen and Kaiulani on site and documenting the process on video.

Kaiulani said she called the police on Hammatt and also went on Ron Wiley’s radio show yesterday, which prompted four police cars and some DOCARE officers to show up.

“I asked them which one of you are going to enforce state and federal laws protecting our bones?” Kaiulani recounted. “So they sent Lt. Kaleo Perez down to talk to us and he said they have the green light from DOT. They have the permit from DOT, but they have not met the requirements to begin the AIS. They were supposed to have sit-down meetings with descendents before they even pick a date to dig. It’s like Naue all over again.”

Which leaves me wondering, do we really need to stir up all this pain and angst for a recreational path, when people could simply walk on the beach or ride their bikes along the highway instead? Yes, there's already a highway and hotel there, but must we add insult to injury? At what point do we say, enuf?

(Update: Apparently the archaeological survey is on hold while state and county officials confer.)

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

A huge failure to lead by bernard, who lied and said he was moving the bikepath off the beach, but no, it's on the beach, that was just propaganda .
And insult upon insult,they skip the required consultation with descendants, they show up to dig with machines, not even having the decency to dig by hand.

the mayor is showing supreme arragance at ignoring the pleas of Kumu Kehau and Waldeen , who for so long,tryed to educate him about the sacredness of the area, and its imporance.
This mistake is all bernards, he's leading us down the wrong path. no good will come of it

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps that’s why Hawaiian burials are regularly disturbed — the Army found iwi while doing construction at Schofield Barracks — but the burials of whites are not"

-- or they are marked in a universaly identifiable way


"Kaiulani said she called the police on Hammatt and also went on Ron Wiley’s radio show yesterday, which prompted four police cars and some DOCARE officers to show up."

-- wow. showed up at the radio station? hard to see how that is not unfounded naked intimidation


dwps

Anonymous said...

-- or they are marked in a universaly identifiable way

Oh please. Unviersal? In whose universe? Many indigenous cultures follow the same traditions of purposely NOT marking their gravesites. Native American Indians largely buried their ancestors in the same manner too.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps that’s why Hawaiian burials are regularly disturbed — the Army found iwi while doing construction at Schofield Barracks — but the burials of whites are not"

If ancient white burials were scattered everywhere their treatment would doubtless be exactly the same as it is with ancient Hawaiian burials. They would be moved to make room for development.

Anonymous said...

A more appropriate argument for Waldeen et al may be that the entire Wailua area is sacred. That is legit and well founded.

There's no evidence for burials and that card has been played out. If they don't find any burials during the survey, the tag will have been diminished.

shaka said...

Aloha Joan, And what time was it when you saw the moon this morning?? I think it was already gone many hours before sunrise. Perhaps it was really a ufo disguised as the moon? And now back to read the rest of the blog!!.....lol

Anonymous said...

"Native American Indians largely buried their ancestors in the same manner too."

Not the plains indians who put them up on platforms to let the birds carry them offpiece by piece.

Dawson said...

"-- or they are marked in a universaly identifiable way"

The concept that graves are not authentic unless marked is classic colonialism.

Anonymous said...

"The concept that graves are not authentic unless marked is classic colonialism."

How is that "colonialism"?

Anonymous said...

"could disturb"

optimal word selection. cheers.

Anonymous said...

When I watched Waldeen Palmeira speak at a county meeting, I think what impressed me most was her manner. She didn't act like she wanted to be a spokesperson for the burial issue, but more like she had to. I can't help but respect that.

Anonymous said...

http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/asp/coasts/mosaics.asp?sArea=kealiawailua

really.

Anonymous said...

Mahalo Nui Loa to Waldeen. She has carried this burden to protect the sacred imposed by the lack of due diligence from the county administration, including the Mayor. Known burial grounds are meant to be protected by law, known burial grounds should not be so callously developed.
The way the county developed this project is like sticking a knife in the gut for many people, and is shameful to occur from a hawaiian mayor.To add to this , the county hires the same archaeologist that desecrated the Iwi at Naue, how's that for saying fuck you to the hawaiian community?

Anonymous said...

"To add to this , the county hires the same archaeologist that desecrated the Iwi at Naue..."

That is an incorrect statement. There is an Oahu firm doing the Wailua work. Cultural Surveyors or something.

Anonymous said...

Cultural Surveys Hawai`i led by Dr. Hal Hammett is an O`ahu-based firm. They have done numerous cultural and archaeology studies and assessments on Kaua`i including the Waipouli Resort, Coco Palms, Kuhio Highway Alternate Transportation Route and more... Shoddy work.

Wahine Warrior said...

Hats of and a deep respectful bow to the TRUE heroes of Kauai. The ones that step forward and put themselves on the line to stand up for their beliefs. The ones who are truly passionate and care about our island.

Anyone who thinks that white burials would be treated the same is clearly completely delusional and has no sense of the reality of what is going on.

Further the ENTIRE area of Wailua is SACRED. Period. No discussion, no debate.

The path is not meant to benefit all of the people of Kauai. The reason I say this is because it is not respecting all of the people of Kauai. It is not accessible to all of the people of Kauai in an equitable manner. It is not transportation and recreation but is now a multi use path, rather then giving a soft path for animals, running parralel including horses which are banned but dogs are not.

This path is like an arrow into the peoples heart. And its aim is swift and true. Take the clearest path to your goal no matier what, or who stand in your way. Somehow this is suppposed to equate it to a noble endeavor.

How does this path show our keiki to respect the aina? IT teaches them that concrete rules. That in order to have a place to play or ride their bikes they must travel long distances to enjoy the benefits. That anyone can do anything to their families bones because they are not respected,and their families don't even count as even deserving of the barest human dignity. These are the lessons the kids are learning from this poorly planned albatross hanging around our necks. No offense to the albatross.

This whole thing angers and sickens me. Taking something that began so simply and for a good cause, a bike path for transportation and recreation, and then just using it as a sledgehammer against everyone and causing all of this mess and conhusion just because a few people had their vision and plans and then started to cater to one certain group while shutting out everyone else is just a total debacle. This path will be a battle all the way to its bitter end. And will cause numerous lawsuits, numerous complaints, numerous heart aches and tragedies. Rather then planning the path in an intelligent and sensitive way, it has instead become a political statement weapon and tool.

Shame on everyone AUWE.

Anonymous said...

"They have the permit from DOT, but they have not met the requirements to begin the AIS."

--once again, providing inaccurate, and untrue information. super awesome job, go forth and lie!

Anonymous said...

So sorry to disappoint the last poster, but it is true. All of the processes that are required by law BEFORE development begins are incomplete and flawed. If everything was okay and in place, then why has a sudden halt occurred?

Anonymous said...

"the equipment operator, a former classmate of hers, refused to do the work after she" told him her side of the story...

Anonymous said...

"why has a sudden halt occurred"

because the right egos haven't been stroked...meaning ancestors family members haven't been consulted about it.

-what exactly does the permit say JOAN?

Anonymous said...

--once again, providing inaccurate, and untrue information. super awesome job, go forth and lie!

Since you seem to know it all, why don't you tell us what the facts are? be sure to document it.

Anonymous said...

OK
Those guys get one more chance.
They blew it at Naue because of their egos. They couldn't step out of the spotlight to use all the tools that were laid at their feet.

Once again a conflict during an election year. Grill the politicians running for office.
Why haven't the laws been revised?

What will you do to address our issues?
If their answers are lame go after them. A discussion along the highway may a start but you need a plan.
And if you find yourself with no support or the politcals feel that the rules are ok, then you need to figure out why people don't care.
And not just your white scape goats but every other ethnic group who is not interested in the subject.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

"be sure to document it." why, just believe the lies that get told, like the rest of the lemmings.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I love the line "save the Aina"...too funny indeed...Have you ever been to Anahola?.I live there the whole place is a dump. Take a look for yourself behind Hawaiian homes...then tell me about how important the "Aina" is.

Anonymous said...

This path will be a battle all the way to its bitter end.
Mother Nature will remove the path, Kauai has tsunami's, hurricanes, high waves, and coastal hazards that make it imprudent to develop along the coast. How much money are they wasting in this debacle?
All this for Thomas Noyes and Randy Blake? who are they?

Anonymous said...

Mahalo Nui Waldeen,

Anonymous said...

Have you ever been to Anahola?.I live there the whole place is a dump.

sounds like Pville is more your style

"be sure to document it." why, just believe the lies that get told, like the rest of the lemmings.

figgered you didn't have facts

Anonymous said...

The "just look behind Hawaiian homes" person must be really respected by local families. With that attitude, most likely; NOT!

Anonymous said...

When you preach "love the Aina" and your neighborhood is a dump....you are a hypocrite. Don't shoot the messenger. Just do as you say...and say as you do. Respect starts with self respect not with being a "Local". I don't want to ever be a "Local".

Anonymous said...

Parochialism is definitely overrated.

Anonymous said...

"figgered you"

also don't call myself a 'journalist'....

;(

Anonymous said...

"Oh please. Unviersal? In whose universe? Many indigenous cultures follow the same traditions of purposely NOT marking their gravesites. Native American Indians largely buried their ancestors in the same manner too."

-- oh no kidding sherlock

of course not all did markers (and markers of all kinds have a tendency of floating away, especially as they get older, obviously)

and in the chance you really did not understand...go back and read the posting, and then the comment....color is not the reason why today (most) "western" and/or "marked" graves stand less of a chance of being dug, up, moved, etc

do a casual review of the various state statues as to unmarked graves (and marked, if you want), and look some case studies. its not rocket science

but i aint running a school for you on this sorry


dwps

Anonymous said...

"I don't ever want to be a local."

Good! That's one thing we don't have to worry about....

Anonymous said...

"I don't ever want to be a local."

Good! That's one thing we don't have to worry about....


Not being a local doesn't mean not living or settling in here. It means not having local-parochial attitude.

Anonymous said...

One thing that is missed in the "Multi Use " Wailua corridor path and its important--why must this path run unbroken across wailua? It is not for the recreation of it everyone, or the cute dogs, horses, bikes, and joggers...

It must run continuous to meet the federal funding grant money that the county is using to build it (and send profits to friendly contractor buddies).

The Spiritually and Hawaiian pono thing is to not have anything more upsetting Wailua Beach. No path segment is needed there for human recreational use reasons that can't be met otherwise. It is purely for getting the money.

The grant stipulates its an alternate emergency roadway, hence why its labeled a "multi use path" not a sidewalk or bike path.

When one understands the mechanism behind the push, one sees the pesky Hawaiian burials won't get in the way of millions of dollars of work and profit promised behind the scenes.

And the Mayor takes the punches in the foreground.

Now Joan, this may be arrogant, but the above info is a kernal of a new blog post, as it points to Why...

Anonymous said...

"It is purely for getting the money."

that maybe YOUR perception of the project, other lenses to look through - PROTECTING PUBLIC ACCESS IN PERPETUITY.

or the frame in which you chose to see it - whatever, you are wrong.

Anonymous said...

btw - for those who do know how to research - there was only archeological monitoring required NO AIS...

Anonymous said...

access in perpetuity was already had, we do not need a bikepath for that, it's all state or county ownership, with access already there. did you ever hear of walking on the beach?even better exercise than walking on concrete

Anonymous said...

i support the bikepath... i wanna ride my bike, but i would be much happier riding where the path does not impact burials and hawaiian cultural and religous practices. Move the path, and we all win. and the beach is preserved too

Anonymous said...

"access in perpetuity was already had" - that is inaccurate - Lai Nani - so easy to get to Horner's right.

Anonymous said...

Lai Nani and Coconut market Place
The real graveyards of Wailua!!

Anonymous said...

Good post, but too much.