Race and Your Community

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Race and Your Community

Race and Your Community I am a first generation Japanese American living in Honolulu, Hawaii. My father moved to Honolulu in 1969, at a request of his company’s boss in order to oversee the trading operations of their American branch in Hawaii. My family liked Hawaii so much that they decided to relocate permanently. I was born two years later, in 1971. My parents initially thought that they were eventually going to return to Tokyo (office headquarters located there) that they insisted I get educated in Japanese, so that I can fit in with my peers upon their return. That never materialized, and after attending the private Japanese elementary school I moved to American high school. It is in high school that I started socializing and feeling more as an American, since at home I was only allowed to speak Japanese. In our class about 70% of students were Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. According to the US Census “[e]thnic minorities account for 75 percent of Hawaii's population. Asians make up 55 percent, the largest percentage in the nation. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are 21 percent of the state's population” (Star-Bulletin, 2008). Based on such numbers, it is not a surprise that the majority of students were non-white. About 20% of students in my class are also third or fourth generation Japanese, who cannot speak a word of the language. Apparently their parents cannot speak it either. I was envy in the class, because I could speak fluent Japanese and they could not; even though I was born in Hawaii. Around the place where I live now the community is very multicultural, there are Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders, Japanese American, Chinese and Haole (white person in Hawaiian). The community is very accepting and being Asian of Japanese descent was not an issue. I have many Hawaiian and Pacific…...

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