20 August 2005

Current Explorations in T-Shirt Culture



First of all, gotta tell you that the Akaka Bill will be voted on when the Senate convenes in September. After cloture got invoked, that means a short debate and a fast vote. Should be one of the first things to come up.

Second, and meanwhile, today your friendly local Hawaiian god went down to the Hawaii Crafts Show at the Blaisdell Center in Honolulu. I can't say it was a "Hawaiian" crafts show because there were mostly non-native vendors in the joint. Gotta work on that in the future. Give booth preference to Natives! Big thing showing, though, was a a T-shirt that read, Keep Kamehameha Schools Hawaiian. That got a lot of attention. Then I started checking out other T-shirt booths. They had some doozies, lemme tell you.

Out here, it's popular for Pacific Islanders to wear T-shirts that say, Proud to be Hawaiian or Samoan or whatever (or else put decals all over your car. My decal says, "Proud to be Your Divine Overlord."). So there were some of those. One shirt had a bold message for non-Hawaiians and/or tourists: We grew here, you flew here. Didn't I hear that back in like 1968? Pure Breed Hawaiian T-shirts looked good, but probably not gonna sell too many of those. Heck, even the state-funded Office of Hawaiian Affairs admits as much. They're so desperate for signups to the OHA Hawaiian Registry that they'll let anybody get the Hawaiian tag -- if you don't have that ethnic tag on your birth certificate, just fax in one from a parent, or grandparent, or whatevah. The idea is that you can prove a blood relation to someone who was here before 1893. (Don't tell them that parents over on the Mainland can put whatever ethnic group they want on a kid's birth certificate, and students can declare whatever they want to be.)

Here's a another T-Shirt: Where there's a will, there's no way. That means, the Kamehameha Schools, established from a trust fund and totally private, can do pretty much whatever they want. I say, more power to 'em. Because this policy, while restrictive to the majority, is in another way quite liberating to non-Hawaiians. Who needs to let blacks into schools anymore? What about Catholics? They've got one of the few competent school systems in Hawaii. They could refuse entry to Hawaiians, or mo' bettah, non-Catholics. The possibilities are endless when you consider ethnicity-based inclusions and exclusions. As for me, I intend to restrict readership to this blog to, ummm, I dunno, but I'll figure it out and get back with you. Somebody's got to go, though!

Looks like they already got the national defense for the independent kingdom country governing entity set up. Someone was selling Hawaiian Homelands SECURITY numbers. But these struck me as the kind of T-shirts you see at events, like a Steel Pulse concert, or an appearance by Ward Churchill. I hope they get some military training soon, so the wearers of these T-Shirts can take over things when the US military withdraws. If they can't do that yet, at least get some more professional looking clothes!

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