before i came here, i asked the owner of the condo, diane*, about race relations in hawai’i. i asked because my cousin had related to me that her boyfriend had been taunted and called a ni**er while vacationing on one or another of the islands. diane told me that, while there aren’t many black people here, she didn’t think racism was an issue in maui. she had suspicions that oahu might be a bit of a different case, but she didn’t think i needed to have concerns about maui.
as a slight tangent, here’s a blurb i ran across when i was reading one of the local maui tourist brochures:
Maui’s resident population is about 141,320 people (2006). The Caucasian population continues to grow with 38.3 percent of the total ethnic mix. Asians number 30.2 percent, Native Hawaiians, 10.3 percent, and Hispanics 8.7 percent. English is spoken almost everywhere in Hawai’i, but…
two things to note: 1) there are no blacks at all ? and 2) that only adds up to 87.5%—which leads me back to number 1.
so okay, shortly after i got here, i decided that, with all the extra time i’d found, i should do some running. unfortunately, i hadn’t brought any shorts suitable for working out. when i noticed a consignment shop, i decided to check there for something cheap to fit the bill. a couple of women were outside as i crossed the parking lot, and before i even neared the door, one of them asked me if i was looking for anything specific. i told her that i was looking for shorts, and she said, “ohhh, no…i’m sorry. i don’t have any.”
now, seeing as it’s about 88 degrees every single day here, i would have been a bit more taken aback were it not for the big signs that led me to believe she was going out of business. so i said something to the effect of “shucks” and went on my way. well, yesterday i was out for a leisurely stroll and decided to go in and see what she did have. which, much to my chagrin, was shorts. a whole rack of shorts. i couldn’t even give her the benefit of the doubt that she just meant she didn’t have any shorts left that were small enough to fit me. there were plenty of shorts in my size on the rack, too.
i tend to be very slow to call a racial foul, but i don’t know what else to make of it. what else about me could have possibly kept her from wanting me in her store? 😦