Politically Correct Terms For Race

It’s about quantifiers and qualifiers (May 30, 2018)

I agree with Denby Fawcett’s statement (“Denby Fawcett: Politically Correct Terms for Race Are Racist Themselves”) that many of the “politically correct” words we use today are just as marginalizing as the words to which we strongly object (re: Mayor Harry Kim’s statement about the “colored man”).

That Kim found it necessary to make the statement he did denotes his ignorance and gross lack of sensitivity.

Yes, Denby, using a term such as “that person” may be the most adequate. Anything else is a quantifier and a qualifier and therefore ignorantly and insensitively judgmental and subject to criticism.

— Celiamarie Moore, Honolulu

It’s about reclaiming language and identity (May 30, 2018)

I struggle with this article, not because it doesn’t slightly acknowledge the oppression that people of color face, but because it misunderstands the power of reclaiming language for oneself and community.

It also ignores the realities of how we see and move about the world with regard to race, and promotes a rather color-blind approach to “solving racism” through a linguistic lens, thereby misconstruing how racism is present in our society and who it is present within.

The term “people of color” was a way for “PoCs” to take the term “colored,” which had been used to oppress groups, and to reclaim it for themselves by turning it on its head, in the same way that black and African-American communities have taken the N-word and reclaimed it for themselves through everyday colloquialisms, music, art, etc.

It’s a way of stripping a word’s power away from the oppressor and utilizing it to self-identify on one’s own terms, which is ultimately what this article misunderstands. Allowing communities to self-identify with their own identifications doesn’t support racism, rather allows for a dismantling and subversion of it.

I encourage Denby Fawcett to explore the history of these terms, talk to PoCs about which terms they use to self-identify and why, and have deeper, more interpersonal conversation about language and race, rather than using a strictly “scientific” or “statistical” method.

— Koji Ushio-Clark, Honolulu

It’s about pride of heritage (May 31, 2018)

I am 66 years old and of mixed-race, African-American heritage. I am also married to a mixed-race white man who is one-quarter Native-American. My family has been mixed race for eight generations. Our story is as bizarre and twisted as any “Roots” novel to date.

My parents were mixed race and had escaped the lynchings in the rural South after losing friends and family members to the Ku Klux Klan. Every family member since birth has been raised as advocate/warriors against injustice and racism of every kind in each generation. We are all over this nation and the world, very difficult to keep up with five generations as our elders die off.

Morality, values, cultural mixes of every kind has created an unstable, yet seemingly happy and well adjusted group of family members that I know only by Facebook. Without Facebook I could not begin to fathom how good God has been to my family. Racism and discrimination has made us stronger, smarter, educated us, weaponized us physically and spiritually to contend on any level.

I want our legacy to show that we lived to serve our families and humanity to the best of our abilities on every humanitarian level. We are proud of our heritage and we will not let anyone’s opinions diminish our self esteem and our relationships with God, man and country in any way.

— DeLores Salter-Edge, Pearl City

It’s about good responses (May 31, 2018)

Interesting, very good responses to the article (“Letters: Let’s Not Pretend Society Can Be Color-Blind Just Yet”).

A problem this country has wrestled with from the beginning and continues till this day. Diversity training was the hot topic on the mainland in the 1970s and 1980s every business, corporation, university, college and school was doing diversity training.

All of the trainers initially were of European descent until someone of color pointed it out. Those designing the programs had overlooked a significant factor, blinded by their “Unearned privileges.”

At this point in the discussion people of European descent, who I have resisted the establishment with, throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, turn coat and flee in fear. Meaning, I will not give up those privileges and become equal or inferior if they have not developed the skills to live in a diverse society, which are numerous and an entire days workshop in themselves.

The responses were very good, in that they were not reactionary, usually a stumbling black in the process.

— Deborah Coleman, Kula

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