Racial slur makes it a hate crime, period
The assertion by Jim Fulton, spokesman for the city prosecutor's office, that an interracial act of violence punctuated by racial epithets is not race-related is a brilliant example of our tax money at work ("Prosecutors say assault on duo not a hate crime," Feb. 24
What constitutes a racially motivated attack to the Honolulu prosecutor's office? The systematic dismissal of assaults by local thugs on defenseless visitors and residents as not racially motivated is typical Hawaii-style political correctness run amok.
Hawaiian word 'haole' is not a racial epithet
Regarding the Star-Bulletin articles on the attack on the service man and his wife: It is regrettable that such an attack took place, and I wish them both a speedy recovery. Gerald Paakaula, who was charged with assault, seems to be a violent man who was previously arrested for physically abusing his son (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 24
), thus making the son a violent young man. I would think that this violence is the reason for the unfortunate attack.
However, I want to make a correction concerning the son's alleged use of the word haole. Haole is not a racial epithet.
In Hawaiian, haole is the word used for a white person, especially one from America or England. Even the English language in Hawaiian is called "ka 'ölelo haole" or "ka leo haole."
The racial epithet in Hawaiian for a white person is "Elelu Kea," which is referenced to cockroach nymphs that are white or cockroaches that have molted their exuviae and therefore appear white and dirty until the new cuticula hardens. Obviously, due to the distastefulness of this epithet, one never hears it.
Haole is not a racial epithet and therefore the implication of this attack being a hate crime, even after the prosecutor's office said it was not, tends to exacerbate an already unfortunate situation and could also further the rift between Hawaiians and the military and military personnel.
Rev. 'Alapaki Kim
Is copper wire worth more than human life?
I was disgusted and angry when I read about the alleged beating of the couple in front of their 3-year-old son over a fender bender (Star-Bulletin. Feb. 22
). What makes it worse is that the bail for the man arrested was only $20,000. And then on Friday I read that a scrap metal employee caught buying stolen copper was arrested, and her bail was set at $50,000!
What gives? Is a human being worth less than copper in Hawaii? And why isn't this beating treated like a hate crime? Is it because the victims are white? Imagine the headlines and the response if this was an attack on a black family by some whites. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the NAACP and the ACLU would be all over this story. When the victims are white, however, there is no uproar. So much for the spirit of aloha!
In Hawaii, we often pass on prejudice
I was shocked reading about the incident in Waikele Shopping Center where the Hawaiian family allegedly beat up the haole couple with their 3-year-old baby in the backseat watching (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 22
). Then I realized that the majority of us here promote prejudice to some extent, including myself.
Being of Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian descent -- and gay -- I have experienced prejudice all my life. Mostly it came from those who didn't know my background, and shared negative things about one of my ethnicities. I have a relative who innocently says "damn haoles" in front of her three children who are half-haole. People don't realize that even in minor dosages, general statements about a group of people can deeply hurt individuals falling into these groups.
The Waikele incident legally may not be a "hate crime," but it is the foundation of one. We take pride in our Hawaii as being a special place where acceptance is part of aloha. Yet we still generalize a whole race, gender or sexual orientation because of prejudgments based on isolated experiences of individuals within these groups.
If we want a peaceful world, we need to watch what we pass on to our children. I'm sure the 3-year-old in the backseat of the car will have been branded with a hatred and fear of all Hawaiians for the rest of his life.
Heaven forbid that die-hard bigots would ever become blind. They may begin to "see" that they have more in common with their foes than they thought.
Fireworks are forever linked to July 4th
I invite Pat Blair to take some time off from Bush-bashing and read some history (Letters, Feb. 23
). Fireworks are more patriotic and related to the Fourth of July than any other activity. Since 1777, guns have been fired to celebrate the day. Today fireworks simulate those guns and the bright and booming aerial displays remind American citizens of the words of their national anthem.
Unfortunately, some people are too consumed with anti-American rhetoric to truly appreciate the holiday that the Fourth of July represents and the lives we remember on that day to preserve her/his right to criticize the American government and president. Sleep well knowing you are protected by those who are serving in lands far away tonight.
Parents' rights trump government
"Parents have right to influence curriculum"
proclaimed the headline on a letter in the Star-Bulletin Feb. 11.
The writer quotes an attorney in Massachusetts saying that "parents don't have the right to dictate to the government school system what their children can be exposed to in the way of ideas" and finds fault with that.
Here is an expanded take on his objection. First, the parents have a moral obligation in addition to a right to dictate teaching content that involves values. Second, the government has no right whatsoever to impose ideas that parents believe morally repugnant.
Otherwise the government is parent, and genuine parents are serfs in service to their master. The inevitable end result: Children love their government, despise or dismiss their parents.
Think about that seriously, then resolve to take action to get the right side up.
Richard O. Rowland
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii