Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Who Am I Now?!

As I mentioned in the last post there seems to be some controversy surrounding the use of the term hapa. For one person's view on why we mixed-race Asians on the mainland are misusing the word check out The Real Hapa.

Now, if that ain't a kick in the balls I don't know what is! Not to make light of this issue but it just seems ironic that mixed-race Asians - some of whom have had trouble identifying with their respective ethnic groups - cannot even identify as hapa anymore!

In order to remedy this OG, myself and some friends came up with a few alternative names last week while in Hawai'i. Here's our list:

1. MRBAs (pronounced: mer-bahs) - Mixed Race Bad Asses

2. TBz - Tragic Bastards

3. Asian Mulattoes

All joking aside if anyone out there has any suggestions for a catchy name let us know.

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6 Comments:

Blogger OG said...

MRBAs 4 life!

10:07 AM  
Blogger MosSteph said...

omg will you rename the blog hip-mrbas?

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Zana said...

Ok, serious discussion time: bottom line: the term is contested but, you should know, not necessarily by ALL native Hawaiians. I interviewed folks there on this topic, and it really just depends. Folks who identify as being more "local" use the term more loosely, also to describe Asians or Pacific Islanders, so it's not just CA'ians that do that, like the Real Hapa site said - it is Hawai`i residents also. However- the RH site captures basically all the arguments really well...and it is true: the term comes from the Hawaiian language and traditionally referred to being "part" Hawaiian, not necessarily "half". Yes, it has been appropriated and the debate is also related to power - the feeling that - YET AGAIN - people not from the island have taken something for their own use, without proper respect. That sucks. The term, among other things, is seen to have been "Captain Cook'ed", as the locals say (stolen!). However, the benefit is - the term has united SO many folks under a positive, single word. No half dis, half dat...no need to explain...you can just be "hapa" - and that is enough. FINALLY, a word to describe being more than one culture! My take on this? that's a tough one. I love what's being done...blogs like yours, forums, groups, etc....being united. BUT I think we've got to honor where the term came from and acknowledge what it means to each person who uses it. (You are doing that through these posts, and going to the islands and hearing it firsthand. Not everyone does that, so the education needs to start - and there needs to be more accurate footnotes when people use the term!) Then, it's not stealing - it's pono. The islands and its peoples have given so much to us, we need to acknowledge that. And then THAT is keepin' it real.

10:40 PM  
Blogger OG said...

hey zana,

can i get in touch with you? i've got an article that i could use your perspective on.

my email is ozzie_guillen AT hotmail DOT com. would be greatly appreciative to hear from you--article's due next friday.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Senbei said...

I think what this brother said in his article has a lot of validity. Hawaiian and all indigenous people have been stolen from, pillaged, raped and murdered since european expansion began. He also seems to have decided to speak for ALL Hawaiian people, which I see as a misguided act of love for his own people/community.

Grouping all "California wannabe Hapas" together with a "Eurasian Social elite" is ridiculous. There are a plethora of mixed race Asian Americans who are not of the upper eschalon and do not belong to an oppressor group. The author seems to neglect the fact that a Vietnamese/Black kid from Oakland faces the same extermination by the Oakland Police Department that has been inflicted on Hawaiian/indigenous people by colonial forces.

The word "Hapa" has for many Asian Pacific Americans, done exactly what this author wants it to, but in a different way. By having a group to indentify with, mixed API Americans are not forced to choose which group they indentify with. We are no longer forced to pass as Asian, or fully assimilate as "White" or "Black" in a White/Black America.

The word "Hapa" for many, has been used as a means of combatting the genocide of part of our being. I may be wrong, but (besides it being a derragatory) wasn't that the point of the word in the first place?

I would be happy to come up with another nomenclature for my mixed race API brothers and sisters and our community, but the author of "REAL HAPA," is completely obtuse in assuming that all "California wannabe Hapas" are of European descent & upper-middle class status.

In closing, I'd like to apologize to "THE REAL HAPA" peronally (because one can't speak for their entire race/people) if he felt I was insulting Hawaiian people by using the term "Hapa." I use "Hapa" as a way to combat the racism, American capitalistic imperialism has put upon me as a person of color living in America. I'll do what I can to come up with another word to describe myself if you try to understand that we are not that much different from each other.

PEACE + BALANCE
Senbei

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened? Why no more posts?

11:19 PM  

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