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The Complicated Classification of Earthlings in Hawaii
Members of the host culture, foreigners, people of blended ancestry — sometimes the categories aren't as neat or convenient as they might seem.

About the Author

  • Jose Bulatao, Jr.
    Retired instructor. Taught at Kauai Community College and at Waimea and Kauai High Schools between 1959 and 1990.

While it is true that other ethnic groups were not “invited” here to the Hawaiian Islands by a “host culture,” what about the children of these groups who had no choice about where they were born?

Remember, this has been going on for several generations now.

Are they still essentially “foreigners” here even though they were born in a different place than their ancestors?

How should they be classified?

What about the blending of ethnic groups with one another, including, in some cases, presumed members of the host culture?

What category should they be placed into? Are they “hybrids” or, more troublingly, “half-breeds” or “mixed-breeds?” You get my point.

What about the “sense of belonging” that people seek to establish based on where they were born?

Due to people’s ability to travel to all parts of the world with greater expediency in shorter periods of time, maybe these uninvited residents of Hawaii should all be identified simply as “earthlings.”