Living Proof: Is Hawaii the Answer?

Living Proof: Is Hawaii the Answer?

The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume 530, Number 1 (November 1993)
pages 137-154
DOI: 10.1177/0002716293530001010

Glen Grant

Dennis M. Ogawa, Professor and Department Chair of American Studies
University of Hawaii

Hawaii has often been heralded for its relatively harmonious race relations, which encompass a great diversity of Asian and Pacific cultures. As the national concern with respect to multi-culturalism escalates into a debate over the merits of ethnicity versus amalgamation into the American melting pot, an understanding of Hawaii’s social and racial systems may demand greater scrutiny. The living proof that the islands’ people offer is not racial bliss or perfect equality but an example of how the perpetuation of ethnic identities can actually enhance race relations within the limits of a social setting marked by (1) the historical development of diverse ethnic groups without the presence of a racial or cultural majority; (2) the adherence to the values of tolerance represented in the Polynesian concept of aloha kanaka, an open love for human beings; and (3) the integration of Pacific, Asian, European, and Anglo-American groups into a new local culture.

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