Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hawaiian Rainbow

"Have you noticed how everyone becomes an islander when they live here?" I mentioned to Big Dog. We had just come out of a Korean supermarket where a friendly, smiling Korean lady gave us samples of a puffed grain cracker (made on the spot by a machine that shoots out crackers with a huge bang.) She, and all the other Koreans working in the store, were not at all like the Koreans living in Tokyo or LA. "No matter where you're from, after a while, they all become Hawaiian. There's not as much tension between all the different racial and ethnic groups."

The rainbow is one of the symbols of Hawaii. It's meteorologically fitting because this state really is a land of rainbows -- you can catch dramatic ones almost every day! But sociologically it's fitting, too, for the way it's been able to absorb different cultural elements to make them its own. There is a lot of overlap between races and cultures and a whole lot of tolerance. Racial integration is more the norm here. Everyone seems to be of mixed heritage -- it really IS a melting pot!

Sure, the Islands have their own particular problems, but they also have so much to teach us.

A dualistic or monistic view of the world seems to be a particularly European/Judeo-Christian thing, but it's not a very inclusive way of thinking, is it? Us vs Them, Black vs White, Good vs Evil, etc. Great way to create conflict, rather than harmony.

Barack Obama, who spent part of his boyhood on Oahu (and is also multiracial despite all the focus on his African lineage!) is sworn in today as the new President of the United States. One can only hope this will bring some Hawaiian Rainbow Aloha Spirit to Washington.


...and another rainbow. (from yesterday's Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Waikiki)

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