If you’re from California, you’re Californian, so ...
The article "News media change 'Hawaiian' distinction" (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 3) really torques my jaws. Everyone is trying to be politically correct. When is it going to end?
Many people may disagree with what I am about to say but I believe this: A person who is born in California is called a Californian, a person born in Arizona is called an Arizonian, and a person born in Hawaii is called a Hawaiian. We might not be Polynesian Hawaiian (kanaka maoli), but we are Hawaiian.
While visiting St. Augustine, Fla., my brother-in-law heard a family speaking Spanish. He asked them where they were from. They replied, "Puerto Rico." He then said, "I am Puerto Rican also." The man asked, "Where in Puerto Rico do you live?" My brother-in-law replied, "I don't live in Puerto Rico. I was born on the island of Kauai in Hawaii and I live on the Big Island."
The Puerto Rican man replied, "You are not Puerto Rican. You are Hawaiiano (Hawaiian)."
Take a poll of people in Hawaii and ask them, what is their nationality? The majority will answer by giving you their ethnicity. Some will say they are Japanese, or Chinese, or Filipino, or Portuguese, or Hawaiian, Scotch-Irish, or French, or German or any other ethnic group that they belong to, or a combination of any of those. Very few will say they are American.
Take another poll and ask what language is spoken in their homes. Most will answer English (but actuality, it will be pidgin English). Few will answer to some foreign language, and then only because they are recent arrivals or have had immersion classes in Hawaiian or the language of their ancestry.
In Hawaii, we share the same foods, whether they be Polynesian Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and so on. We share the same language -- pidgin English. We like all the different types of music, whether it is played on a samisen (Japanese), ukulele (Portuguese origin), guitar (Spanish), bongos (African), or sitar (Arabic). We abide by a certain code of ethics and most of all, whether we are of Polynesian, Asian or European origin, we almost always think alike. That, my friend, is what makes us distinctively Hawaiian.
I am proud of my Spanish heritage, but being born and raised in Hawaii, I have that inalienable right to be called a Hawaiian.
Podemos todos nosotros vivir para ser a Hawaiiano (May we all live to be Hawaiian). Mahalo and aloha.
Robert M. Rodrigues, who is from Hawaii, now lives in West Melbourne, Fla.