Civilbeat has been exploring that question.
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How would you guys answer this? Here’s my first attempt:
One thought on “What Does it Mean to be Local in Hawai’i?”
Here’s the clip:
Here’s my first attempt at an answer:
Being local essentially involves adopting a set of values, behavioral norms, and a mindset that stems from a unique synthesis of several cultures, primarily from Polynesia, Asia, Portugal, and the continental U.S. Pidgin English, in Hawai’i, is one strong manifestation of this fusion of cultures. Basically, “local” is the word we use to describe this subculture, and I would say the word “local” is analogous to words like, “Southern,” a “New Yorker,” a “Mid-Westerner,” etc. To ask what it means to be local is similar to asking what it means to be Southern.
In my view, the essence of being local involves a mindset and the cultural components above. For me, it’s not about race or ethnicity. It’s is also not essentially about being born and raised here. A person of any ethnicity can be local in my view; they can be local if they were not born here. Indeed such a person could be more local than a Polynesian or Asian who lived here all their lives. It’s not even about speaking pidgin. One can be local without doing so in my view.
A really quick, and rather crude way, to understand what being local means is to think of what it’s not. To wit, being local is not acting like someone from the “mainland.”
To me, being local or not is not necessarily binary. That is, there isn’t always a clear demarcating line separating local from non-local. One can be local, but someone else can be more local. Having said that, there is a point at which one can conclude that someone really isn’t local, but the determination isn’t clear cut, and reasonable people can have differing opinions. I suspect when talking about the mindset, values, and social mores of a group of people clearly defining this is really difficult, if not impossible.
I will say that while the definition above is very general and vague, I do think we can get more specific than that. I don’t have the energy to do that, but if I did, I think the best way to start is by creating a series of situations, writing down the way someone from Hawai’i would typically handle those situations. For example, going to a restaurant, the waiter gets the order wrong. How would a typical local person handle this? What would be a-typical way of handling this?