Saturday, January 7, 2017

Aloha Knows no Color!

A friend of mine who has lived in Hawaii for over 30 years was recently harassed for her skin color. It was a really traumatic experience for her and I don't blame her for feeling so bad about it for so long. 
Yes, racism still exists in the beautiful islands and it's a sad thing when you become the brunt of the hatred and shame associated with it. 
Having grown up on Oahu I know too well what it feels to be an outsider. I was one of the only white kids in my elementary school and a minority at my high school. I was pushed around in the hallways of my school and beat up by some angry girls once who didn't like me because I was hauole, yet I felt okay in the end because there were also many people who loved and accepted me for who I was, white skin and all.  
Growing up you learn a deep respect for the history and heritage of the islands. The culture there is something sacred and powerful to the island people, and something I learned to respect as an outsider to the islands. Oahu is also referred to as a melting pot of cultures, which has brought so many different people together, all trying to get along there on that tiny rock!
There is tension and racism anywhere you go in the world where cultures and customs collide. I knew that my "hauole" ways were not always tolerated, yet after living there for so long I also experienced the beauty and aloha that comes from blending and learning from each other. The experiences I had growing up in Hawaii will always be a part of who I am. 

In August 2015 we visited Oahu right after Malachi had just turned one years old. We stopped at the fruit stand near Kawela Bay and watched as this Filipino grandma loved on my baby boy with all her good soul. She picked him up in her arms, carried him around her shop, pointed out the birds and the flowers, and showed him the kind of aloha I've known to love on my beautiful islands.

(Malachi pictured above with his new friend. Aug 2015)

Growing up in Hawaii taught me that there are so many different people all over the world with a variety of  ideas, cultures, customs, beliefs, hopes, dreams, goals, skin colors, religions, languages, past experiences, future ambitions, and we must all learn to tolerate our differences to live peaceably on this earth. Empathy is a must! 
We must keep moving forward and keep spreading the aloha everywhere we go, despite our differences. 
Thank you my friend for continuing to share the spirit of aloha through your love, kindness, and generosity towards others. You are the epitome of aloha and I am grateful for your example to others, even when others are not so kind to you! xoxoxoxox

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