Sunday, July 13, 2014

Musings: Saying No

I've got another guest post for you today, this one written by "Reisengeist" on topics oh-so-familiar to the Islands. Enjoy!

I love watching World Cup soccer. It started for me in the 70s. Brazil and Pele had that magic, and the whole world seemed to be watching. The television would take us on tours through the competing countries and I dreamed of travel. And as I grew up and did travel, my childhood prejudices and notions about various races were convincingly washed away.

It was the same feeling as I watched the World Cup this year, from an ESPN app on an iPad. And again, it feels good to see much of the world cooperating for sport, spectacle and profit – with “Say No to Racism” signs surrounding the pitch.

Before games, players and fans are even reading a sort of oath against racism. It’s a good sentiment. I, for one, am prone to dwelling on the failings of humanity, with my current list-toppers being what feels to me as an anti-democratic F-U from the seed companies; the soon-to-be massive influx of gun crime headed to Hawaii due to a recent court ruling; and the way humans continue to mistreat animals.

But on racism, I have a sense that the world is getting a little more educated. 

Racism, like sexism, comes in various forms and is often communicated through nuance.  There is racism where we are taught to reflexively not like what someone else is doing and racism where we justify our own bad doings as being racially or culturally accepted. 

Those who saw the World Cup game where Luis Suarez from Uruguay bit his Italian opponent during a run for the ball saw a crime being committed, in my opinion. It was all caught on film – a chomp on the shoulder that would shave off even the toughest ear of non-GMO corn. The whole world was horrified, as they should have been, by the biter. 

Yet in Uruguay, the comments in the blogs are absurdly defensive. They speak of “the culture of biting here.” Fans are calling it corruption within FIFA that Suarez was suspended, and claiming the sanction is racism against Uruguayans who implicitly, whether by culture or race, are compelled to bite people during conflict.

It is really these Uruguayans, however, who are engaging in a type of racism – justifying criminal conduct based on a falsely inferior view of their own culture or race. No one can seriously believe that biting someone during a soccer game is a culturally protected activity.

Similarly, the whole civilized world has condemned cockfighting. The UN even has an official position against it. But locally, we still have people claiming some racial or cultural birthright to engage in blood sport with gambling. Such cultural justification of universally condemned criminal behavior brings a culture down. 

We all see the chained fighting roosters as we drive around Kauai. Busts? Never. It is a wrong against the youth of a culture to teach them that their DNA contains some unique gene that makes them enjoy cockfights — and culturally excuses what the rest of the world condemns as despicable.

I was cruising old Youtube videos on the morning of the bite and I saw John Lennon and Yoko Ono singing “woman is the N***** of the world.” Things sure have improved since then, I thought. 

Later that day, my friend called. She was driving in Kapaa and apparently cut someone off at the rage-inducing northbound merge after Foodland. The other driver, a young man, pulled next to her and berated her as an “F’ n haole.” She followed him to the next parking lot and got out of her car, explaining to him in her best thick accent “I am from Brazil and I am not a haole.”  She couldn’t bear to let his racism go unanswered, so she responded with a little of her own. 

A little later that day, my Hawaiian friend who moved back home from San Diego told me “people treat me like I’m a Mexican down there.”

And just last week, the supposed Caliphate of the new ISIS in the Middle East sent a bizarrely polite letter explaining that they will bomb the World Cup if it's held in Qatar – because the game would cause Muslim offense. 

At one point, I read that one of Mayor Carvalho’s top five priorities in office was going to be tackling racism. It has strong roots on Kauai — just ask the Brazilian who couldn’t bear to be thought of as haole. Yet I have never heard of any real action taken toward this goal.

Making it an official goal is still a good start though, (and way better than any of the 6 goals against Brazil. Wait, I just opened my refrigerator — now it’s 7).


Anonymous said...

Interesting perspective. Agree on cockfighting, but suspect some on Council and in KPD choose to ignore these laws.

Anonymous said...

Cute post ending.
Germany wins. "All of Brazil was on their side. Anything to avoid listening to the tauntings of Diego Maradona on television, suggesting as he did on Wednesday that as with a set in tennis, the semi-final between Germany and Brazil should have been ended when the score reached six."

Anonymous said...

The pale looking peeps sure are sensitive to the race issue on Kauai. The fair Brazilian who gets called out as a Haole, even tho' in Rio, she being a paler shade of pink, gets treated better, than her darker countrymen.
Get over it. Kauai "racism" is manini and is meant more as a description of behavior or style, and not the DNA.
However, if you really want to get some feelings about typical Haoles, make watching the Council mandatory. Guaranz Ball Bearenz, seems like only smirky, hi-nose, know-it- all new comers be a tellin' the Council what Kauai is all about. Talkin' down at some of the Council like they are children. Tim and Gary glow in gooey agreement. Every now and then, Jay will admonish the hi-noses about sticking to procedure, but basically it be the malihinis running the show. Incessantly.
If the local kids and their parents saw the consistent barrage of NS typicals, trying to re-make the island....then you'd really see some antics with the typical f'ing Haoles. Maybe like the old days, for teach, li' dat.
If the Haoles feel they are mistreated, how come they got all the big houses and the money....mistreatment don't work that way. It is the locals crammed into the neighborhoods, whilst the newcomers have their Ag estates and the locals get to mow the yard...and maybe be allowed to have a brewski and enjoy the view. And the view ain't of Hanamaulu. Peace out, bra.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the best way to tackle racism on kauai is to start teaching speech classes from elementary school on up. There's so many different levels in speech classes that would bridge the educational gap between our differences.

Lesson 1: Communication Theory, lots of interpesonal communication games.
Lesson 2: Evaluate to Motivate: Teaches students to write helpful comments to evaluate other speakers
Lesson 3: Organizing a Speech: Good one.
Lesson 4: Ways to Start and End a Speech: This is another good one.
Lesson 5: Effective Eye Contact. This is a great lesson
Lesson 6: Vocal Varitey. Another great lesson
Lesson 7: Using Body Language and Props This is a confusing lesson. After reading the book, I still don't know what it is really about.
Lesson 8: Storytelling.
Lesson 9: Researching Topics. Another winning lesson.
Lesson 10: Influence and Persuasion
Lesson 11: Conflict Resolution. A good interpersonal communications lesson.
Lesson 12: Using humor in Public Speaking. I am not crazy about this one as the example provided makes fun of fat people. Not good when you have overweight kids in your class. I would replace this lesson with a Pet Peeve Speech.
Lesson 13: Tell Us Your Testimony: this one can't be used in public schools as it talks about finding God.
Lesson 14: Reader's Theater: More religious content.
Lesson 15: Improvisational acting games. This fits better in an acting class, but they are fun if you have small enough classes to make it work.
Lesson 16: Rhetorical Devices. This one is fantastic.
Lesson 17: Interpretive Reading-Prose and Poetry
Lesson 18: Using Dialogue
Lesson 19: Introducing a Speaker. This is a good one.
Lesson 20: Memorized Historical Speech. I like the idea of bringing in famous speeches, but I am not sure there is much value in memorizing them. I would modify the lesson and have the kids write their own speeches using the format of a famous historical speech.
Lesson 21: Structuring Speeches
Lesson 22: Dining Etiquette and Conversation. Great if you have a small group.
Lesson 23: Brainstorming
Lesson 24: Group Problem Solving/Consensus
Lesson 25: Panel Discussion
Lesson 26: Sales Talks
Lesson 27: Interviews
Lesson 28: Debate


KamaKele said...

@ 6:04PM, is it a cultural activity to talk like an idiot too? If the locals stopped making babies at age 15, or maybe if the locals stopped smoking meth, maybe it would be the locals, and not the Haoles, that have all the big houses and money. Bottom line, race has nothing to do with it. Some are willing to work and have things. Others are too lazy, or too stupid, or taught from birth that they won't ever amount to anything. I see locals that succeed. Mauna Kea Trask. That man earned everything he has and didn't bitch or make excuses for himself. Maybe try follow his example and quit crying.

Anonymous said...

Yikes - the racism from the brown and pale sides are coming out. Brown thinking: "you stole our land - yes, I'm from the Philippines, stfu!" Pale thinking: "Didn't anyone teach you how to speak well?" "Are you that big of an idiot to not 'get it'?" All based on the amount of pigmentation in the skin.

Anonymous said...

Brazilians can't be haoles?

Anonymous said...

1008- Now that's the attitude of a typical @#%.
Mauna Kea at 100K per year will not own the house on the hill, unless he saves every penny for years. 100K is ZIPPO in the real estate market that has been created by Joann, Hooser and Jackpot and their band of raise the drawbridge followers.
With a stroke of a pen the Council could open over 300 homesites quickly....but they have to re-up the legendary ADU law, Jimmy Tehada, a great politico who looked OUT FOR THE PEOPLE,introduced this many years ago. Where is Jimmy when we need him? He was never in the pocket of the anti-local malihinis and their agendas, that are disguised as "enviro" friendly. Lucky for the rich drawbridgers that they have a new coalition with the dirt poor locals in the BS anti-Ag issues.....address anything but the real problems of drugs, landfill, housing, homelessness etc...shucks ma'am the Council spends weeks on Cats (feral or friendly) and not ONE DAY on the Homeless, housing or landfill....yep, the Council is controlled by the Jackpot/Hooser agendas. C'mon Jay- Use your power for the people, defer the BS bills, keep the blabber mouths on can go down as a good leader or another Schlub, please us your power, defer and control. Get some new ideas out there on the seem to be too wishy washy and in Hooser's hands.

Anonymous said...

@6:04. You are the problem. Your daddy probably taught you that your family is worthless, so you blame others. You highlight the race problem.
Racism ends with personal responsibility.

Anonymous said...

@9:20 am. Aren't you the same person who keeps posting how jackpot is set for life with his couple hundred thousand.

Now $100,000 salary is peanuts?

Which is it?

p.s. crazy those prosecutors wanting raises..... just crazy...

Anonymous said...

lol at 8:55 am.

Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese, so since the Kauai Portagee don't want to be considered Haole, they they had to exempt the Brazilians.

Anonymous said...

itieno Naval
12:53 Pretzel logic Kauai style

Anonymous said...

"With a stroke of a pen the Council could open over 300 homesites quickly....but they have to re-up the legendary ADU law, Jimmy Tehada, a great politico who looked OUT FOR THE PEOPLE,introduced this many years ago."

What Jimmy wanted was "ohana" units, for people to be able to build for their kids. Instead, the law morphed into the realtor's delight. Look at the occupancy in these "ohana" units. Ain't many family members.

Manawai said...

Racism never seemed to be a problem on Kauai in past decades. I think what has brought it out are three things. 1) The influx of mainlanders seemingly taking over Kauai; wealthy ones buying up the former ag lands and less wealthy ones occupying what little affordable housing there used to be in the villages. This influx also causes increased competition for housing thereby causing rents to increase beyond affordability. Some people like to target TVR’s but it’s more about the numbers of people moving here. Also the increased competition for jobs and elected ones telling us what is good for us. 2) Drugs which tend to addle the brain and make one angry. 3) The sovereignty movement which has heightened the sense of loss of one's heritage along with the resentment towards the perceived perpetrators. These things create easily visible targets for anger and violence.