September 10, 2022
Little White Lies
I’ve mentioned before, this famous quote of South African anti-apartheid activist, Stephen Biko: “The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” If the oppressor can get those they are oppressing to believe certain lies, then the oppressor secures his control.
And it’s not only big lies like “Hawaii was annexed” or “Hawaii is the 50th state of the U.S.” or Hawaiians are Americans”, but a lot of little “white lies” that constitute death by a thousand daily cuts.
Every day, I still hear the automatic, knee-jerk use of the word, “mainland” when referring to the United States. This is one of the most insidious examples of group-conditioning. But there are many more, “colonial” white lies embedded in our sub-conscious intended to erase and replace our true identity with a foreign one. We may say “We are not American!” and not realize our minds are still caught in the lie of the American dream (or nightmare rat-race) where the prime objective in life is to accumulate a lot of money and power.
We know the drill: we can be happy if we get jobs so we can earn money so we can get a place for our family, and buy food imported from “the mainland”, and smile at the tourists, because their money provides the money for our jobs, so we can get a place...
A couple weeks ago, there was a news article about a “shocking” decline in enrollment of Hawaiian students at the University of Hawaii. While I believe higher education is a good thing and Hawaiians have made huge strides because of it, the knee-jerk reaction was to imply the decline of Hawaiian student enrollment as an alarming and tragic trend. But did anyone stop to think that maybe some of our young Hawaiians don’t see the track of Western higher education for economic success in the colonizers world as something they should blindly pursue? Especially since believing the “white lies” over and over have led to more disenfranchisement, more poverty, more houselessness, more frustration and despair for Hawaiians…
The hundred thirty year long and painful journey from the “overthrow”, to ”annexation”, to “statehood”, to the Koko Head evictions, to the protests at Kalama Valley, Kaho’olawe, Waiahole-Waikane, Hilo Airport, etc., etc. to OHA, to UH Hawaiian Studies, to the “sovereignty movement”, to the “independence movement”, to more aloha ʻāina cofrontations, more evictions, more arrests and incarcerations… culminating in Kū Kiaʻi Mauna and the rise of the Lāhui... has been a journey of separating the lies from the truth.
Yes, there are many benefits from the Western ways we can use, but to really free our nation, we have to free ourselves of the oppressor’s mindset, we have to think clearly for ourselves and apply our ways to how we want to live. We must be guided by the ways and core values of our kūpuna... aloha ke Akua, aloha ʻāina, mālama pono, kōkua, lōkahi, and so forth.
Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono. The sovereignty (life) of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.
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