Reading an article from Haunani-Kay Trask, a Native Hawaiian, on her comparison of Hawaiian culture to a prostitute. She discusses corporate tourism and how it affects their culture. Advertisements show Hawaii as paradise, as being there for the taking, and how basically the place, the people, the culture, and even their identity as being “Native” is a commodity, a good that’s for sale. She goes on to state that many Hawaiians don’t see tourism as a form of cultural prostitution, but is viewed as providing jobs (and this is important in Hawaii since unemployment is/was high). What she says next stood out to me: “We can’t understand our own cultural degradation because we are living it. As colonized people, we are colonized to the extent that we are unaware of our oppression.”
She ends the article with this thought: “If you are thinking of visiting my homeland, please don’t. We don’t want or need any more tourists, and we certainly don’t like them. If you want to help our cause, pass this message on to your friends.”
So that’s what I’m doing. Passing it along to my friends. I guess I’ll never visit Hawaii. Unless I go as an anthropologist. Honestly, though, I’ve never really been interested in going. I don’t even like water activities.