Road Rage or Racial Hate Crime? (Thinking carefully about an actual incident of racial violence in February 2007, and how such violence can be used as a political tool to bolster demands for Hawaiian sovereignty)

(c) Kenneth R. Conklin, 2007. All rights reserved.

A savage beating in a Waikele (Honolulu) shopping center parking lot makes it important to think clearly about what distinguishes racial violence from ordinary violence. Witnesses on the scene perceived the event as a racial hate crime. The general public was greatly disturbed by the news reports and most considered it a racial hate crime, as indicated by dozens of commentaries, editorials, and letters to editor over a period of several weeks. Full text of all significant news reports, editorials, and letters to editor are compiled at the end of this introductory essay, in chronological order. The compilation will be kept up to date as new items are published.

A university professor of ethnic studies noted that a racial hate crime, or any crime perceived as such, is a form of terrorism because thousands of people of the same race as the victims, and living in the same community, become fearful that they too are likely to be singled out for violence solely because of their race. There have been many events of racial slurs by "locals" against Caucasians over a period of many years, including too many cases of actual anti-white violence. There's a general perception by both Caucasians and non-Caucasians that racial hatred directed at Caucasians is quite commonplace, and that there are places where Caucasians should not go for fear of violence. A particularly outrageous event like this one brings long-simmering fear and anger to a boil.

What happened in this event? A car driven by a Caucasian man, with his Caucasian wife and 3-year-old child as passengers, was entering a parking space. It lightly bumped a car in which an ethnic Hawaiian woman and her 16-year-old son were sitting. There was zero damage to either car. The Hawaiian teenage boy and his mother began yelling, punching and kicking the Caucasian couple. The Hawaiian woman's husband came out of an ice cream shop and helped his wife and son give a severe beating to the Caucasian couple for an extended period of time. A crowd of onlookers watched but did not intervene, while the Caucasians' 3-year-old child watched from the back seat while his parents were being beaten to a pulp. During the beat-down the Hawaiians hurled a racial epithet "fuckin' haole" at the Caucasians. Both Caucasian adults went to hospital with severe injuries.

Was this a racial hate crime? Even if the bumping of the car was the precipitating incident, and the victims were not selected ahead of time for violence on account of their race, the terrible escalation of the violence probably would not have occurred if both families had been of the same race. The racial epithet yelled during the beat-down very clearly shows that the hoodlums were aware of the victims' race and were escalating their violence because of race.

The only factual information about this incident for about a week was contained in two articles in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and one in the Honolulu Advertiser. The Star-Bulletin news report on Friday, February 23, 2007 started this way: "What began as a minor traffic accident at the Waikele Center parking lot ended in the brutal beating of a young couple by two men and a woman, police said. Two witnesses told the Star-Bulletin that a large crowd of shoppers watched in horror Monday afternoon as a petite 23-year-old woman was punched in the face by a man and knocked unconscious, and her 26-year-old husband was stomped and kicked in the head. Meanwhile, their son, about 3, sat in the back seat." Later the article reports that the victims were white and the perpetrators were ethnic Hawaiian; and that a perpetrator used the racial slur "fuckin' haole" during the brutal attack. "Haole" can be a racial slur, and most certainly is one when yelled in anger and preceded by the "F" word. The three news reports are copied in full later in this webpage, and can be found on the newspapers' websites at:

It's also interesting that the violent beat-down occurred in a crowded open parking lot in full view of numerous witnesses on Monday February 19, but was not mentioned in any news report until Thursday February 22. The largest-circulation newspaper, the Honolulu Advertiser, waited an additional two days, until Saturday February 24, before publishing a report. Furthermore, the sole Advertiser report, coming five days after the event, was written by Gordon Pang, who is the newspaper's "ethnic affairs" reporter. Pang publishes numerous articles heavily slanted in favor of Hawaiian sovereignty and filled with sympathy for ethnic Hawaiians' alleged historical grievances and current demographic victimhood. See for example his "news report" "Forced assimilation may hurt Hawaiians" as analyzed at
Simmering anger by ethnic Hawaiians against Caucasians is undoubtedly heated up by the constant drumbeat in the news media propagandizing for the Akaka bill, and stirring up feelings of historical grievance and current demographic victimhood.

Was the media delay of several days in reporting the Waikele event caused by editors trying to suppress the news? Were local politicians trying to protect Hawai'i's tourist industry and image of multiracial harmony? There's a general perception in Hawai'i that there are many more incidents of racial hate crimes against Caucasians than are reported in the media or even to the police. Perhaps Hawai'i's politicians and media are reacting in a way similar to some wives' reactions when they are repeatedly beated by their husbands -- they feel ashamed, try to hide the bruises with makeup, and tell the neighbors they ran into a doorknob or fell down the stairs.

The desire of politicians and local media to downplay anti-Caucasian racism in general, and this incident of savage violence in particular, was thwarted when a very lengthy article "Racial tensions are simmering in Hawaii's melting pot" was published on March 7, 2007 in the national newspaper USA Today. Governor Lingle and the Hawaii Tourism agency were very upset about this article and its likely impact on the tourist industry, as well as the article's lengthy attention to the issue of Hawaiian sovereignty and the blatant anti-Americanism of some ethnic Hawaiian acvitists. The USA Today article is copied in full later on this webpage, and can be seen on the newspaper's own website at
It's also interesting that the USA Today newspaper and the Honolulu Advertiser are both owned by the same parent company, Gannett News. Yet there was apparently no cooperation between the two newspapers. The USA Today reporter apparently did his own interviews and wrote the article by himself; and the Honolulu Advertiser did not republish the USA Today article nor even make reference to it in its own coverage of events. It would seem that USA Today felt a need to get the full and accurate story for itself, and place the story into a broad context of Hawaiian sovereignty and racism that the Advertiser would prefer to ignore.

The incident in the Waikele parking lot illustrates the special rage some ethnic Hawaiians direct specifically against Caucasians. Where did the attacker learn to hate "haoles?" Sometimes the rage is related to distorted opinions about Hawaiian history, or to perceptions of an entitlement to race-based political sovereignty. It might be instructive to read some writings and speeches of Professor Haunani-Kay Trask, who has taught thousands of students at UH. An anti-American statement of hers was quoted in the USA Today article. For a roundup of her views see
Her infamous "Joey Carter" letter from 1990 was republished by an adoring editor of the student newspaper in 2002; see
A transcript of her incendiary anti-haole hate speech at Iolani palace in 2002 is at

But even when an anti-white racial hate crime is not directly related to sovereignty issues, the fact that it happens has important political consequences related to sovereignty. "Either give us what we want or there will be trouble." Or "Sovereignty would channel the rage into the productive work of nation-building." Or "Haoles thinking about coming to Hawaii better think again; we don't want you here and bad things could happen" (If haoles could be driven out of Hawaii, then ethnic Hawaiians would become a larger percentage of the population. Some ethnic Hawaiian leaders believe Asians are more docile and less likely to resist Hawaiian racial supremacy).

Was the Waikele parking lot incident a racial hate crime?

Apparently Hawaii state law defines "hate crime" to require that the victim or his property was singled out for attack beforehand because of race, religion, etc. In this case the attack happened because the victim's vehicle accidentally bumped the perpetrator's vehicle in a parking lot. The bumpee family got angry out of all proportion to the minor incident. Sometimes that happens in "road rage."

"You banged my car, I'm gonna smack you" is momentary rage. Nothing racial yet.

Then the anger turned to actual violence. Maybe still nothing racial. It's wrong to let anger turn to violence. But that happens even in cases where both parties are of the same race. Just because the parties are of different races does not (yet) make it a racial incident.

At some point the Hawaiians noticed that the haoles were haole (white). That's when the Hawaiians' general hatred for haoles caused ordinary road rage to turn into racial violence. If the driver of the offending car had been a dark-skinned Hawaiian, the violence would never have escalated so outrageously. "Eh brah, why you wen smack my car?" Stink-eye. Maybe kick the door. Maybe push the chest. That's all. Does the bumper have a ding in it? (this time there was no damage to either vehicle.) If so, exchange insurance papers, or maybe a C-note.

We know beyond any doubt that race was a factor. The attacker called the victim a "fuckin haole" during the attack, angrily screaming the epithet loudly enough for witnesses to hear.

How much of the violence was specifically racial, as opposed to ordinary "road rage"? Here's a big clue. Everything that happened after the racial slur should be chalked up to racism. And in this particular incident, that's almost the entire amount of the violence.

There's also the military issue. Some ethnic Hawaiians have a vicious hatred for the U.S. military. The newspaper reports don't make clear whether the victim's clothing or car would let the attacker know he was a military man, or whether some words might have been said to reveal that fact. White people in the military are doubly hated by some ethnic Hawaiians.

What about those "liberals" who try to excuse the behavior in the Waikele parking lot, or who say it was not a racial hate crime? They are the same liberals who screamed that Senator Allen was a racist because he used the slur "makaka" to describe an opponent's observer who hounded him at political rallies. They are the same liberals who relentlessly went after actor Mel Gibson for using a racial slur against a police officer who arrested him for drunk driving. So where is their outrage now? The Allen and Gibson incidents were only verbal. The Waikele attack was brutal, sending two victims to hospital.

Hawaii Reporter recently published an article about a UH-Hilo pilot study of ethnic Hawaiian attitudes toward violence as a means of achieving sovereignty. The article was at and the study itself is at

The study only interviewed 113 ethnic Hawaiians. Only 6% said they favor violence as a means to get sovereignty; but 53% said they believe sovereignty-related violence will happen, and they reported hearing strong racist hostility expressed by friends and family.

The incident in the parking lot should be very disturbing to people of all races. It certainly makes white people feel uneasy. There have been many similar incidents. The failure of ethnic Hawaiian leaders to condemn racial violence is unsettling and irresponsible. The failure of Hawaii's political leaders to speak out at a time like this shows that they fear to offend Hawaii's highly favored racial group, perceived as a monolithic 20% swing vote.

The politicians' failure to speak out might also disclose something far more sinister.

Senator Akaka's speech on the Senate floor when introducing the Akaka bill on January 17 warns of racial violence if the Akaka bill does not pass. In my view, that is not simply a warning, it is a threat. Pass my bill, or else. He's like the smiling Chicago mafia leader in a suit, with a vicious-looking enforcer standing next to him, telling a restaurant owner "It's a tough neighborhood, but if you pay me money I can protect you." For details of Akaka's speech and this analysis see

"Uncle" Charlie Maxwell has repeatedly threatened that "Hawaiians are a warrior people" and "Our backs are up against the wall."

Rod Ferreira has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and as President of the I Mua Group of Kamehameha Schools Alumni Associations. He has warned that unless the Akaka bill passes "... future conflict, potentially physical, will erupt like it did with the famous Massie case years ago, only multiplied a thousand fold -- white against brown, citizen against citizen, friend against friend, a mini civil war, forever shattering the ideal of American justice."

One must wonder whether men like Akaka, Maxwell, and Ferreira secretly cheer the violence in the Waikele parking lot because it adds credibility to their gangster threats.

One must wonder why Governor Lingle refuses to condemn racial violence. Does she love her favorite 20% of the population more than all the other 80% combined? Is she so strongly committed to the Akaka bill that she worries about focusing attention on Hawaiian violence? Might the thought cross her mind that a little violence could lend credibility to the threats of Akaka, Maxwell, and Ferreirs? The Mafia guy in the suit needs his sidekick to actually break a few legs now and then; otherwise his threats won't be taken seriously.

The violence in the Waikele parking lot is only one example. There have been numerous other similar incidents. Actual violence is only the tip of the iceberg. Threats of violence are a form of actual violence when the intimidation causes people to change behavior. For a roundup and discussion of Hawaiian sovereignty-related violence (past, present, and future), see

We must never give in to violence, or threats of violence. We must never pass the Akaka bill, which would empower people like Akaka, Maxwell, Ferreira, and parking-lot hoodlums filled with racial hatred. It's time for Hawaiians of all ethnic groups to stand up before we get tied down and raped.

The civil rights movement on the continent many years ago had significant numbers of idealistic whites who stood up against the Ku Klux Klan to support Negroes against violence and intimidation. Where are the ethnic Hawaiians who will oppose the parking lot violence, and the more important but quieter political violence of ripping Hawaii apart through the Akaka bill? I know some heroes, but will not name them because I fear for their safety. They have already done far more than their fair share. It's time for others to step up.

In January 2007 William Haynes published an important article "The Peaceful Majority." Mr. Haynes was formerly a federal district court judge, then served as General Counsel to the Pentagon, and was nominated to be a Justice of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
He notes that it doesn't matter whether most Muslims are peace-loving people, because their religion is dominated by fanatics who drag everyone else toward disaster. The innocent peaceful majority is doomed to be treated as our enemy, and to suffer terrible consequences, because of the war we must wage against their leaders. So it is with the vast majority of ethnic Hawaiians who are proud to be Americans and who favor unity, equality, and aloha for all. They are being dragged toward disaster. They need to step forward publicly against their leaders, as sometimes happened in ancient times when maka'ainana revolted against unjust ali'i.


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Thursday, February 22, 2007

Beating follows parking lot accident

By Leila Fujimori

What began as a minor traffic accident at the Waikele Center parking lot ended in the brutal beating of a young couple by two men and a woman, police said.

Two witnesses told the Star-Bulletin that a large crowd of shoppers watched in horror Monday afternoon as a petite 23-year-old woman was punched in the face by a man and knocked unconscious, and her 26-year-old husband was stomped and kicked in the head. Meanwhile, their son, about 3, sat in the back seat.

Authorities have charged 45-year-old Gerald D. Paakaula of Waianae with second-degree assault. Bail was set at $20,000. His teenage son was also arrested for second-degree assault and referred to Family Court. The woman, Paakaula's wife, was not arrested.

The alleged attack began after the couple's gray Dodge Durango hit the Paakaulas' green Chevrolet while trying to pull into a parking stall, according to a police affidavit. Neither car was damaged, the witnesses said.

The teenage boy in the Chevy got out, angry his vehicle was struck and allegedly began yelling profanities, calling the other driver "f----g haole" and kicking the driver-side door, according to the affidavit.

A 43-year-old female witness, who asked not to be identified, told the Star-Bulletin that the teen began punching the man, who was still sitting in the driver's seat.

The affidavit said the 23-year-old woman got out of the Durango and tried to push the teen away from the vehicle and her husband. At that point the teen's mother jumped in and started fighting with the woman, police said.

The witness said the teen's mother got on top of the woman and began punching her.

Paakaula then came out of the Baskin-Robbins holding ice cream cones, and his wife told him that the other woman hit her, the witness said.

Paakaula allegedly "punched the woman in the face, picked her off her feet and slammed her onto the asphalt," apparently knocking her out momentarily, according to the affidavit.

Another witness, a 65-year-old woman who also asked for anonymity because of fears of retribution, said the woman flew back 10 feet, landing under her car.

The driver of the Durango had gotten out of the car, was allegedly punched in the throat by Paakaula and fell to the ground gasping for air, police said. The teen then allegedly kicked him in the head and face, causing him to convulse, police said.

The teen's mother finally told him to stop after "she sees blood pouring out of this guy's mouth," the 43-year-old witness told the Star-Bulletin. The man's legs pointed straight out and quivered for 15 to 20 minutes, while a nurse in the crowd called 911 and said "he's seizing," she said.

The couple were taken to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition.

The affidavit said both received concussions. The man's eye socket and upper jaw were fractured, and his wife sustained a fractured jaw, nose and wrist.

The older witness told the Star-Bulletin that she was disturbed by the use of racial slurs.

"It's really sad to see," she said. "You would think that we as Hawaiians would have outgrown that."

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 23, 2007, Letters to the Editor

Unwarranted violence begins in the home

I am horrified, ashamed and angry at the incident that took place at the Waikele outlets on Monday, involving a local family and a military couple (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 22).

I think this violent display is indicative of a larger problem: the inability of parents to raise conscientious, caring and moral human beings. The question is, What steps need to be taken to change this situation? This kind of change definitely won't happen overnight, but it's something that needs to be addressed in light of the many incidents of violence against people.

We need to ensure that people who participate in this type of behavior, regardless of age, own up to their actions and serve harsh sentences.

Sarah Yamanaka

Beating isn't typical of Waianae residents

How sad that this cycle of violence continues from some residents from the Waianae Coast, in the savage beating of the couple at the Waikele Shopping Center over an insignificant fender-bender. I understand that this type of violence is not limited to the Waianae Coast, but it seems to have more than its fair share.

Where does this young teenage boy who allegedly assaulted this couple get the idea that it is OK to beat on other people? A clue to this is the reported actions of his father, Gerald D. Paakaula. His alleged brutal beating of the couple only reinforced in this young teenager that this is acceptable behavior.

I was raised on the Waianae Coast, and I know that the majority of the people there are good people! Come on, people of Waianae, be a good role model and teach your children how to be good citizens. I want Waianae to be the Waianae that I remember -- a place of a good and loving people who would stop and help anyone in need. Let's stop this cycle of violence now!

Michael Lindo
Vacaville, Calif.
Waianae High School Class of 1968

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Saturday, February 24, 2007

Prosecutors say assault on duo not a hate crime
The brutal attack was unrelated to race, says official, despite epithet

By Nelson Daranciang

The savage beating of a military couple after a fender-bender at Waikele Center was not a hate crime, even though one of the alleged perpetrators used a racial epithet, says the city Prosecutor's Office.

"In this particular case, the accident is what precipitated the violence," Jim Fulton of the Honolulu Prosecutor's Office said yesterday.

The victims, a 26-year-old Army soldier who served two tours in Iraq, and his 23-year-old wife, a nursing student at Hawaii Pacific University, are physically doing better than expected, Fulton said. Both were treated and released from the hospital. A special fund will be opened for the family Monday.

The alleged beating started Monday afternoon after the couple's sport utility vehicle pulled into a parking spot and hit a parked vehicle, police said. A 16-year-old boy got out of the car that was hit and allegedly called the SUV driver a "f--ing haole" before attacking him, according to police and witnesses.

The woman in the SUV tried to the stop the teen, and his mother then allegedly fought with her, according to police. Gerald Paakaula, the teen's father, emerged from an ice cream shop and allegedly punched the woman unconscious, and he and his son beat and stomped the SUV driver, according to police.

Officers arrested Paakaula, 44, and charged him with second-degree assault. He made his initial court appearance Wednesday and was released from custody after posting $20,000 bail. He is scheduled to go back to court March 15 for a preliminary hearing.

Police also arrested Paakaula's 16-year-old son and turned him over to Family Court. According to police, the two women filed complaints against each other, but prosecutors declined to pursue the cases.

According to state law, a hate crime "means any criminal act in which the perpetrator intentionally selected a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that was the object of a crime, because of hostility toward the actual or perceived race, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation of any person."

Even if prosecutors sought to have the assault deemed a hate crime, its only effect would be at sentencing where they would ask the judge to impose a sentence longer than the ordinary prison term. Second-degree assault is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

There is no separate hate crime offense in Hawaii law.

Paakaula and his son are no strangers to violence, according to court records.

Police arrested the elder Paakaula at his Waianae home Aug. 8, 2002, for beating his then 11-year-old son. The boy's mother had taken their son to Kaiser Hospital's emergency room the previous evening for injuries he suffered in the beating, according to the police report.

The mother told police her husband beat their son because an official from the boy's school called to report the boy had misbehaved in school, the report said.

The boy's mother told police her husband beat her son for 15 minutes, first with a belt and then with his fists. She said he stopped only after she called her husband's father to intervene, according to the police report.

The boy told police the beating was a blur because he was being punched in the face. He suffered bruises and swelling to his face, both arms, his legs and his back, the police report said. None of the injuries was serious, and he was treated and released, according to the report.

Paakaula pleaded guilty to abuse of a family member, a misdemeanor, Aug. 26, 2002, and was sentenced to 14 days in prison, to be served on seven consecutive weekends, and two years' probation. On May 27, 2003, Paakaula requested and was granted early release from probation.

Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, February 24, 2007

Road rage blamed in Waikele beatings

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Prosecutors believe that the brutal beating of a young couple Monday afternoon in a busy Waikele Center parking lot likely was a result of road rage.

Gerald D. Paakaula, 45, is accused of punching the husband in the throat and punching the wife and slamming her to the ground after the couple's car hit Paakaula's car.

A preliminary hearing yesterday for Paakaula, who is charged with second-degree assault, was postponed until March 16 to give him time to hire an attorney. Paakaula was released from custody after posting $20,000 bail.

His son, a teenager, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault. His case was referred to Family Court.

The incident occurred in front of the Baskin Robbins ice cream shop at the Waikele Center late Monday afternoon.

According to a police affidavit filed in court, Andrew and Dawn Dussell's Dodge Durango collided with Paakaula's Chevrolet while attempting to pull into a parking stall next to it.

Paakaula's son, "extremely angry that his vehicle had been struck," stepped out of the Chevy and began yelling obscenities toward Andrew Dussell, who was the driver, calling him a "f------ haole" while kicking the driver side door, the document said.

Dawn Dussell then exited the car, confronted the teen and attempted to push him away from the Dodge and her husband. The teen then began assaulting the woman, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said Paakaula got involved and punched Dawn Dussell, "picked her up off her feet and slammed her onto the asphalt." She remained motionless on the ground and appeared to be unconscious, the affidavit said.

When Andrew Dussell got out of the Dodge, he was punched in the throat by Paakaula, the affidavit said. Dussell fell to the ground gasping for air and then received kicks to his head and face from the teen, leading to his convulsing, the document said.

The Dussells' 3-year-old child was in the backseat of the Dodge and witnessed the incident.

Jim Fulton, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office, said the case doesn't involve a hate crime.

"From our perspective, this was more motivated by rage from the incident rather than specifically targeted toward the individuals' race," he said.

Fulton said, "Any racial or ethnic comment came after the fact of the actual incident."

Under Hawai'i law, a hate crime is defined as any criminal act in which the perpetrator intentionally selects a victim based on race, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

If a second-degree assault was prosecuted as a hate crime, the felony maximum penalty of five years could be increased to 10 years, but it must be proven that the perpetrator intentionally selected the victim based on the listed categories.

Andrew Dussell, 26, is in the Army and served two tours of duty in Iraq. Dawn Dussell, 23, is a nursing student at Hawai'i Pacific University. The couple live in Downtown Honolulu.

Doctors said both victims sustained concussions as a result of the beatings. Andrew Dussell also sustained fractures to the lower part of an eye socket and the maxillary sinus portion of his face. Dawn Dussell sustained fractures to her interior maxillary bone, nose and wrist.

Paakaula and his wife declined comment yesterday.

Jonathan Okamura, an ethnic studies professor at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, said the alleged remarks indicate that the beating may have occurred, or escalated, as a result of racial considerations.

"That kind of reference, to me, indicates that this would be considered a hate crime; maybe not by the definition in Hawai'i but in other states," he said. "Why did he focus on the fact that (the man) was haole? That wasn't the issue. The issue was the damage to his car, not the race or ethnicity of the person who hit it."

The impact of a hate crime goes beyond the victims, Okamura said. Hate crimes, he said, "intimidate other people who belong to the same group" as a victim. "It instills fear in this larger category of people."

He added: "I imagine haoles throughout Hawai'i, if they heard about the incident, are very concerned about the possibility of that happening to them."

But Jonathan Osorio, chairman of the UH Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, said that based on what he was told, he does not believe a hate crime was committed.

"It doesn't matter if their ethnicities are different. It doesn't matter that we're dealing with Hawaiians and haoles here," Osorio said.

He said he is troubled by suggestions that the incident may have been a hate crime.

"It worries me when people start calling something like this a hate crime because it starts to ramp up the public temperature over race in Hawai'i, and I don't think we need that," he said.

He said the incident occurred because of a fender bender. "Leave the rest of us out of it," Osorio said.

Friends of the Dussells are setting up a fund to assist the family.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 25, 2007, Letters to Editor

Witnesses to beating should have acted

I live in the Nanakuli area and was horrified to read about the "traffic" incident that occurred in broad daylight in the Waikele Shopping Center parking lot (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 22). What horrified me was that the alleged perpetrators were from the Waianae area. Come now -- a couple gets their brains beaten out of them because of a minor traffic incident? Hilahila (shame) to that family who allegedly did the beating and also to the bystanders who apparently watched while this was going on. Did no one think to try to stop this insanity?

In the story, an eyewitness says it's a shame Hawaiians still feel that way toward haoles. What about the fact that this couple had to be sent to the hospital? What happened to their child?

I say again, the shame falls not only on the Waianae family who allegedly did the beating, but also on the rest of us who condone this kind of behavior by not getting involved. Come on, West Coast ohana, we're better than this! Color me a little less proud to be from Nanakuli.

Laureen Brown

Beating story reflects deeper problems
What is wrong with this world?

How does a minor fender-bender, with neither car damaged, end up with a husband and wife being beaten and kicked in the head?

How is it that after an angry teenager attacked the other driver, not only did the mother not step in and stop it, but she allegedly joined in the attack? How is it that the father, who should be setting an example for his son, punched the woman in the face and threw her to the ground, according to witnesses and the police? When is it OK to kick someone in the head when they are down?

We need to look carefully at what society and parents are teaching the next generation about anger management and dispute resolution. No matter what words were exchanged, it is never OK to resort to physical violence against another human being.

Ann M. Low


Corky's cartoon published in Honolulu Star-Bulletin of February 25, originally at

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 26, 2007, Letters to Editor

Racial slur makes it a hate crime, period

The assertion by Jim Fulton, spokesman for the city prosecutor's office, that an interracial act of violence punctuated by racial epithets is not race-related is a brilliant example of our tax money at work ("Prosecutors say assault on duo not a hate crime," Feb. 24).

What constitutes a racially motivated attack to the Honolulu prosecutor's office? The systematic dismissal of assaults by local thugs on defenseless visitors and residents as not racially motivated is typical Hawaii-style political correctness run amok.

J.P. Muntal

Hawaiian word 'haole' is not a racial epithet

Regarding the Star-Bulletin articles on the attack on the service man and his wife: It is regrettable that such an attack took place, and I wish them both a speedy recovery. Gerald Paakaula, who was charged with assault, seems to be a violent man who was previously arrested for physically abusing his son (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 24), thus making the son a violent young man. I would think that this violence is the reason for the unfortunate attack.

However, I want to make a correction concerning the son's alleged use of the word haole. Haole is not a racial epithet.

In Hawaiian, haole is the word used for a white person, especially one from America or England. Even the English language in Hawaiian is called "ka 'ölelo haole" or "ka leo haole."

The racial epithet in Hawaiian for a white person is "Elelu Kea," which is referenced to cockroach nymphs that are white or cockroaches that have molted their exuviae and therefore appear white and dirty until the new cuticula hardens. Obviously, due to the distastefulness of this epithet, one never hears it.

Haole is not a racial epithet and therefore the implication of this attack being a hate crime, even after the prosecutor's office said it was not, tends to exacerbate an already unfortunate situation and could also further the rift between Hawaiians and the military and military personnel.

Rev. 'Alapaki Kim

** the next letter was included in the February 26 Star-Bulletin and also in the March 1 Honolulu Advertiser at

In Hawaii, we often pass on prejudice

I was shocked reading about the incident in Waikele Shopping Center where the Hawaiian family allegedly beat up the haole couple with their 3-year-old baby in the backseat watching (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 22). Then I realized that the majority of us here promote prejudice to some extent, including myself.

Being of Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian descent -- and gay -- I have experienced prejudice all my life. Mostly it came from those who didn't know my background, and shared negative things about one of my ethnicities. I have a relative who innocently says "damn haoles" in front of her three children who are half-haole. People don't realize that even in minor dosages, general statements about a group of people can deeply hurt individuals falling into these groups.

The Waikele incident legally may not be a "hate crime," but it is the foundation of one. We take pride in our Hawaii as being a special place where acceptance is part of aloha. Yet we still generalize a whole race, gender or sexual orientation because of prejudgments based on isolated experiences of individuals within these groups.

If we want a peaceful world, we need to watch what we pass on to our children. I'm sure the 3-year-old in the backseat of the car will have been branded with a hatred and fear of all Hawaiians for the rest of his life.

Heaven forbid that die-hard bigots would ever become blind. They may begin to "see" that they have more in common with their foes than they thought.

Steven Leong

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 27, 2007

FBI will investigate Waikele beating At issue is whether the assault was a hate crime violating the victims' civil rights

By Nelson Daranciang

The FBI is investigating the brutal beating of a military couple following a fender bender at a Waikele Center parking lot last week, U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo said yesterday.

"I have requested and the FBI has opened an investigation into the incident to determine whether any civil-rights laws were violated," he said.

If the FBI determines that the beating victims' civil rights were violated, Kubo said, he will prosecute the case; or the case could go straight to the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. , he said. "Only if the evidence warrants."

A 26-year-old Army soldier suffered a concussion and fractures to his jaw and an eye socket, police said. His 23-year-old wife also suffered a concussion and fractures to her jaw, nose and wrist in the assault. They were taken to the Queen's Medical Center, where they were treated and released.

Police arrested and charged Gerald Paakaula, 44, for second-degree assault. They also arrested Paakaula's 16-year-old son and turned him over to Family Court.

Witnesses said that before the alleged attack, the younger Paakaula called one of the victims a "f--ing haole."

City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle said the assault was not a hate crime under Hawaii law because it did not appear that the victims had been selected because of their race.

"There needs to be a targeting," Carlisle said. "It has to be about selection."

In this case it appears the victims were selected because of the accident, he said.

There is no separate hate crime offense under Hawaii law. However, if a judge determines the assault was a hate crime, he could double the ordinary prison sentence for the crime.

Kubo said that in some states, race does not have to be the sole intent of a perpetrator for his actions to be deemed a hate crime. He said he had not talked to Carlisle about the case.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 27, 2007, Letters to the Editor

Word's context made it offensive

With all due respect to the Rev. Alapaki Kim and his explanation of the literal and original meaning of the word "haole" ("Letters," Feb. 26), there was a slight fallacy in his explanation of it not being a racial epithet. He forgot to take one thing into account: context.

For instance, the word "nigger" wasn't always considered a racial slur for blacks. More than 100 years ago, it also was used descriptively, just as "haole" is used today. That being said, as a black man, I don't get too worked up when reading Mark Twain or Charles Dickens, because it was a different time period and I understand the context of what they meant to say when they used that word in their books.

Despite "elelu kea" being the real derogatory term for whites in the Hawaiian language, it's the context of how the word "haole" allegedly was used by the young man that makes it a racial epithet, not its actual definition. In his anger, he meant it to be one, so it became one. Much like if someone said, "F---ing (insert ethnicity)!" in anger.

Instead of contemplating what was said, the question we should be asking ourselves is, Had this been reversed, or had whites done this to someone of any other race (racial epithets included), would the majority of our reactions to the prosecutor's decision of this not being a hate crime be the same?

Damien Lacy

Let federal courts prosecute the case

I commiserate with Sarah Yamanaka in her Feb. 23 letter, who was horrified by the brutal beating of a military family over an apparent fender bender. I was equally horrified by the lackadaisical treatment of this heinous crime (both victims received broken jaws and other injuries) by the local court. The judge set bail for one of the alleged attackers at $20,000, a ridiculously low amount considering the brutality of the offense.

Given that the alleged assault was racially motivated, this incident should be elevated to a "hate crime" and taken over by the Hawaii federal prosecutor. If ever a crime in Hawaii deserved to be designated a hate crime, this incident fits the description. I don't offer this recommendation lightly, but given that the local judges have helped create a revolving door for hate-filled predators such as the alleged perpetrator in this case, who was arrested previously for beating his son, a federal remedy might be the only solution.

Austin McNally

Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hate-crime charge not likely in assault case

By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer

The beating of an Army couple at Waikele Shopping Center probably doesn't fall under state and federal "hate crime" laws, legal experts said yesterday.

The federal civil-rights law has never been used to prosecute a hate crime here.

Big Island prosecutors invoked the 2002 state hate crime law against defendants accused of assaulting campers in 2004 but reached plea agreements that dropped the hate crime prosecution.

The state law has never been used by Honolulu prosecutors.

The beating of Andrew Dussell, 26, who is in the Army, and his wife, Dawn, 23, has led some residents to call for prosecution of the case under hate crime laws. The Dussells were beaten in the parking lot of the Waikele Center after their car pulled into a parking stall and hit the vehicle of a Wai'anae family. A 16-year-old boy arrested in the case allegedly called the soldier a "f------ haole."

The boy's father, Gerald D. Paakaula, 44, has been charged with second-degree assault, and is free on $20,000 bail. The son's case is being handled by Family Court in confidential proceedings.

City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, who wasn't ruling out a hate crime prosecution earlier this week, said yesterday, "from what I've heard so far, this won't qualify as a hate crime."

"What happens here is you've got somebody who's angry because his car was hit," Carlisle said. "This guy wasn't sitting on the side of the road chasing victims down because they were white."

Federal investigators opened a formal probe into the incident yesterday.

The FBI has assigned two agents who specialize in investigation of civil-rights infractions to the case. Their findings will be forwarded to the U.S. attorney, who will decide if the federal statute can be imposed.

FBI special agent Jason Cherry, who has investigated civil-rights complaints here since November 2004, declined to discuss the Waikele case, citing a pending investigation.

But he said that to prove a violation of the federal hate crime statute, investigators have to gather evidence that discrimination of some kind is a significant cause for the crime committed.

Prior criminal history, comments made before, during and after the altercation, and the types of victims a suspect may have selected in the past are all part of proving the federal statute was violated, Cherry said.

First assistant federal public defender Alexander Silvert said that while the federal law is broad and was meant to encompass a wide range of crimes, it is rare to see it used for hate crimes.

"A charge like this has never been brought in Hawai'i and rarely in the United States. It's a very unusual charge to bring and one that carries with it a lot of political weight and a lot of political issues," Silvert said.

"It's one thing to charge assault but it's another thing to say the assault is tinged with racism. The defense can say they blew up because of the circumstances (the car accident). Charges of racism are going to be very hard to make out in this type of spur-of-the-moment assault."

Jon M. Van Dyke, a professor of law at the University of Hawai'i, said that while the alleged assault was brutal the preliminary evidence suggests the altercation occurred primarily because of the car accident, not the fact that the Dussells are Caucasians.

"The assault followed a collision and the response primarily was out of anger because of the damage to the car," he said. "It was unfortunate no matter the race of the people involved."

In the Big Island case, prosecutors sought the extended sentences under the state's hate crimes law for four men accused of assaulting campers at Makalawena Beach in North Kona in 2004.

Campers at the site called police, reporting that vehicles had raced through the campsite, and that some campers had been assaulted. Campers reported that their assailants made comments such as "Any ... haoles want to die?"

Three of the campers suffered minor injuries, one vehicle was damaged and some items were stolen, police said.

Four men were charged with a hate crime, but pleaded no contest or guilty as part of agreements in which prosecutors dropped the hate crime prosecution.


A fund has been set up to aid Andrew and Dawn Dussell. Checks may be made payable to the Friends of Andrew and Dawn Dussell Fund and taken to any branch of First Hawaiian Bank.


Hate crime means any criminal act in which the perpetrator intentionally selected the victim because of hostility toward the actual or perceived race, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation of any person.

Maximum prison term: A conviction for an offense that is found to be a hate crime doubles the normal maximum term. For example, second-degree assault, which carries a maximum five-year prison term, would have a 10-year maximum sentence if the assault is found to be a hate crime.

Source: Hawai'i Revised Statutes, Honolulu prosecutor's office


Hate crimes fall under civil-rights conspiracy laws.

The law prohibits two or more people from conspiring to "injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate" any person in the United States from "free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States."

Maximum prison term: 10 years.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice


Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, February 28, 2007, EDITORIAL

Assault case highlights racial tension

The reaction to reports of Friday's vicious assault in a Waikele parking lot speaks as loudly about social tensions in Hawai'i as the incident itself.

The assault of a couple over a collision with a parked car has ignited anger among residents, many of whom have expressed that anger in letters and other statements to The Advertiser.

The description of the extreme attack ó a woman knocked to the ground, her husband punched in the throat and kicked repeatedly, all in front of their young child ó was enough to draw outrage. The fact that the husband was military, returned from service in Iraq, makes the case even uglier.

But the addition of a racial slur, allegedly shouted by the teenage son of the adult suspect, has doused the situation with gasoline and thrown a match to the whole mess.

Prosecutors are discussing whether the "hate crime" statute applies. It's at least debatable: The law requires intent to commit the crime because of the victim's race.

What should matter most to the community is not the legal classification of the case. Assaults such as this are hateful, regardless. The facts of the assault itself, once fully laid out, should provide sufficient basis for the appropriate penalty.

Most residents will agree that the Waikele case is not emblematic of race relations in Hawai'i but is an extreme case. Racial epithets can be incidental to violence, inflaming it further but not the root cause. In a society that's become increasingly dehumanized, other stresses -- making ends meet, for starters -- can further alienate people from each other.

However, the discussion that erupted from this incident almost instantaneously highlights a reality too often suppressed here: Racial tension exists in Hawai'i.

It's a complex and nuanced tension, sometimes expressed as a Hawaiian vs. non-Hawaiian divide, sometimes as a split among other ethnic groups, sometimes as a distinction between kama'aina residents and newcomers.

This reality needs to be acknowledged and dealt with, in schools and all public places where it's encountered. An incident such as the one in Waikele forces us to reflect on the need to build community where it's broken down, and on the potential for doing so that still exists here in abundance.

Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Letters to the Editor


I was disgusted and angry when I read about the beating of an innocent couple in front of their 3-year-old child over a fender bender.

What makes it worse is that the so-called "man" was arrested and his bail was only set at $20,000, and then on Friday I read that a woman who was caught trying to sell stolen copper was arrested and her bail was set at $50,000.

What gives? Is a human being worth less than copper in Hawai'i?

And why isn't this beating treated like a hate crime? Is it because the victims are white? Imagine the headlines and the response if this were an attack on a black family by some whites.

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the NAACP and the ACLU would be all over this story.

When the victims are white, however, there is no concern, no uproar, no support for the victims. So much for the spirit of "aloha!"

Shawn Lathrop


While the beating of the Dussel couple in Waikele may not, by law, qualify as a "hate crime," it is clear that hatred and racism were involved.

The violent beating of the couple in front of their 3-year-old for a minor accident is despicable and criminal. Civilized people don't behave this way.

I wonder what the response would be if it were a white father and son beating a Hawaiian couple, yelling racial slurs. Would it be called a racist hate crime then?

Do we continue to allow double standards to exist in our society, where perceived victimized righteousness based on ethnicity excuses atrocious behavior?

This was an act of violence and should be punished fully as such.

Caroline Viola


Outrageous. To claim the brutal parking lot beatings in Waikele were not racially motivated is absurd.

Both victims could easily be dead. The perpetrators should be in jail, charged with attempted murder.

Just because the state has a poorly written law, as usual, doesn't mean these beatings were not hate crimes.

The beatings occurred in a parking lot after a fender bender. Racial slurs preceded the beatings, right in front of the victims' 3- year-old child.

Federal prosecutors should step in and file charges under federal hate crime statutes.

Otherwise, it is clear that these criminals will suffer virtually no real consequences for their despicable behavior.

Thomas Marks


As a Hawaiian now living in the state of Washington, I was devastated about this brutal beating allegedly by Hawaiians on the couple in Waikele.

The quandary is whether this can be classified as a hate crime or road rage.

If the ethnicity of the parties were "local grown," perhaps the beating would not have occurred and words would have resolved this fender bender.

It appears to me, from the news report, that uttering the racial epithet fueled the physical violence; therefore, I would classify this as a hate issue.

Shame on those who think that past offenses against the monarchy can be resolved by such degrading human behavior — in front of a baby, no less.

I apologize to the Dussells, and believe that other Hawaiians, like myself, are grieved at the shame brought to our honorable race.

Elaine Markham Tai
Veradale, Wash.


I just finished reading the Feb 24 article pertaining to the beating of a man and woman in the Waikele Center parking lot last Monday over a fender bender.

Whether or not it was a "hate crime" in the legal sense, what apparently transpired was a manifestation of anger that is entirely beyond what the majority of most human beings would do in a similar situation.

There is no monopoly by any racial or ethnic group in these (thankfully) rare events.

Obviously, beyond whatever civil/criminal actions are taken, I would like to see these two men get some anger-management help, and hopefully become better citizens instead of behaving like sociopaths.

As far as the racial slur — well, most of us, I'm sad to say, have used (or thought) them when confronted with anger/frustration — and especially when further burdened with a limited vocabulary.

Jim Myers

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 28, 2007, EDITORIAL

Waikele beating does not meet hate-crime standard

The FBI is being asked to determine whether the beating can be prosecuted as a hate crime.

THE brutal beating of a military couple at Waikele Center as described by witnesses has produced understandable public outrage, focused on a racial epithet that accompanied the attack. If racial animosity had motivated the attack, it could have been charged as a hate crime, but that is not the case.

City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle correctly declined to charge the accused assailant with a hate crime because a car accident, not racial bias, triggered the incident. U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo has asked the FBI to determine whether federal civil-rights laws were violated.

Kubo appears to be motivated by public opinion. Like the state law, federal criminal civil-rights laws involving hate crimes are those committed against people or institutions because of their race, ethnicity or religion.

Accounts of the Waikele incident are without doubt horrific. A 26-year-old Army soldier who served two tours in Iraq pulled his sport utility vehicle into a Waikele parking place, and the SUV struck an adjacent vehicle. A 16-year-old boy got out of the other vehicle, called the soldier a "f--ing haole" and began attacking him.

The soldier's wife reportedly tried to intervene, but the teenager's mother fought with her. Gerald Paakaula, 44, the teenager's father, then emerged from an ice cream shop and allegedly punched the soldier's wife unconscious and, with his son, beat and stomped the soldier. Both the soldier and his wife sustained concussions and bone fractures.

Paakaula is charged with second-degree assault, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. If the attack had been charged as a hate crime, the maximum sentence could be doubled. The son, who barked the racial slur, will have his confidential day in Family Court.

Hawaii law, enacted in 2001, describes a hate crime as one "in which the perpetrator intentionally selected a victim" because of racial or any of other specified forms of prejudice. In this case, the soldier was targeted because of the car accident, even though his ethnicity triggered the bigoted verbal outburst by Paakaula's son.

Prosecution of hate crimes is rare in Hawaii, not because of the state's racial, religious and sexual harmony but because bigotry must be, beyond a reasonable doubt, the cause. In 2003, a Hawaiian man assaulted a white man off Waimanalo Beach Park after asking a woman, "Where's that f--ing haole?" and that "a f--ing haole is gonna die on the beach today." The confrontation was motivated not by race but by the victim's attempt to save the Hawaiian's dog from a beating by its owner.

A Big Island man was charged with a hate crime in 2004 for an unprovoked attack on campers at North Kona beach in which witnesses heard various people making racial comments about Caucasians. The defendant accepted a plea bargain -- without the hate-crime tack-on -- resulting in a five-year prison sentence.

Though the Waikele beating does not meet Hawaii's legal standard as a hate crime, it is a profoundly disturbing incident that has produced a flood of letters and phone calls to law enforcement offices and the media. Many are angered by the $20,000 bail set for the elder Paakaula and the maximum five-year sentence attached to the assault charge. As insufficient as they might seem for so violent an attack, those are issues to be addressed by lawmakers.

It will be harder to remedy feelings that the incident reflects a dangerous coarsening of life in Hawaii, twisting our image as the land of aloha into an ugly distortion.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 28, 2007, Letters to Editor

Self-victimization, bad choices led to beating

The alleged beating of a young, haole couple by a local family is disgusting. Increased hatred and bitterness against haoles and non-locals mars the genuine beauty and goodness of people. This has nothing to do with race, but everything to do with ignorance and self-victimization. Non-locals and those who love the American flag are scapegoats for frustrated locals who should make better personal choices: Live clean. Study well. Work hard. Make no excuses. This is how we bring honor and pride to our culture. I wish Godspeed and full recovery to the young, military couple.

Keonaona Russell
Culver City, Calif.

How can people watch others get beaten?

I am speechless about the beating at the Waikele shopping mall parking lot. I am a very frequent visitor to Oahu -- my son is stationed there.

I could never imagine just standing by and watching anyone beat someone like that. I have a whole new outlook on Hawaii. If nothing else, someone should have screamed or threw something. Just get the attention of the attacker and run.

I am a small person who has interfered in an attack before, and would take a beating before just standing there and watching something like this.

I think I will stay in Ohio where we help each other.

Cindy Locke
Columbus, Ohio

We teach children to use violence

It is with surprising sadness that I've read the reactions people have had regarding the recent beating of a couple in Waikele.

Sad, of course, because it is horrible and should never have happened. Yet, I'm surprised that so many are amazed that it did happen. Sure, our society says violence is wrong, but lip service is the only attention it receives. Almost every facet of our society shows us violence is the answer.

Fox's drama "24" shows that torture works, and works well. We kill people to show that killing people is wrong. We violently attacked a country that did nothing to us, are preparing to bomb another country that has done nothing to us and our government doesn't talk with those it perceives as enemies. Yet we're amazed by a beating? Maybe it was pre-emptive.

We buy our children toy shaving kits and Easy-Bake Ovens so they will learn to be like us. They play house and doctor so they can pretend to be us. Why are we so amazed when they copy our violence as well? When adults stop acting like children, our children will start acting like adults.

Frank Brockerman

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 1, 2007, Letters to the Editor

Race doesn't matter to someone that angry

If the recent assault incident at Waikele was a hate crime, then the accused would have a lot more people to beat up.

Yes, there is a sort of colonial astigmatism at work in Hawaii. Yes, our communities are heavily stratified on economic, social, political and geographic terms. But let's not get carried away here.

A rose by any race, color, religion or national origin (by federal standards -- disability, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation as expanded by state statute) still would have gotten beaten by any man who has a serious anger management problem, as demonstrated by past behavior.

Kristi Sue-Ako

If that's not an alleged hate crime, what is?

"Waikele beating does not meet hate-crime standard" (Our opinion, Star-Bulletin, Feb. 28)? Under the same logic and reasoning, if this incident happened, say, in the southern United States, where a white man's car was accidentally (minor) hit by a black man's car, the white man could start calling the black man the "n-word" assault him and that would not be considered a hate crime -- even if the white man was a white supremacist.

And if this case is not in the least motivated by race, then the 16-year-old would have done the exact same thing to a couple who were Hawaiian and started calling them "f---ing Hawaiians" and proceed to assault them as well.

Wayne Morohoshi

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 2, 2007, Letters to the Editor

Editorial jumped gun on hate-crime ruling

Wednesday's Star-Bulletin editorial stated, "Waikele beating does not meet hate-crime standard." That is a conclusion of law which, under our state and federal systems of justice, cannot be finally decided except by an impartial tribunal after hearing the witnesses, considering other relevant evidence, hearing the arguments of both sides, finding the facts and then applying the law.

The facts as reported by the Star-Bulletin on Feb. 22 certainly establish probable cause that a hate crime was committed. See the "Corky's Hawaii" cartoon (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 25), which is better than a thousand words.

The next step is for the Honolulu prosecutor and the U.S. attorney to proceed with the hate-crime charges, one in state court and the other in federal court, and let the judicial process determine what behavior is or is not acceptable in the state of Hawaii and the United States of America.

H. William Burgess

War veteran deserves our aloha, not abuse

Regarding the beating in the Waikele parking lot last week (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 22), what might not be emphasized enough is that the victim is a protector of our country, a war veteran hero.

We must rally and give maximum support to the couple and show them our aloha they deserve anyway, but especially after the vicious crime committed.

Owen Oshima

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 3, 2007, Letters to the Editor

More hate crimes than many people realize

I would like to air my own experiences since coming to Hawaii. Some of the brutal hate crimes I've heard about have really upset me. My family members and I have all experienced being called "haole" and have been verbably harassed in public places, usually by the younger crowd but also some adults.

The police can't figure out a hate crime when it's reported, and the young kids are getting away with bad behavior. Hawaii has not enacted appropriate hate-crime laws to protect all who come to the island as well as those who live here.

As an outsider, it doesn't make sense to me that so many violent hate crimes go unrecognized here. Everyone should get their head out of the sand and realize there is a problem.

I'm sorry that I feel this way since coming here.

Gene Olsen

Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, March 4, 2007

'H' word fans fears, debate

By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Columnist

What if the "H" word hadn't been uttered?

What if, instead, the assault of a couple in a Waikele shopping complex parking lot had been wordless? What if they had been called "idiots" or "losers" while bones were being shattered? Would there still be public debate over whether it was a hate crime?

Does the word "haole," with or without the adjective profanity, change the injury enough to add years to a potential prison sentence? Does it make a broad-daylight beating over a parking lot collision any more horrible?

The beating of a couple Feb. 19 has opened the floodgates to all sorts of very personal, very specific venting — the type that thrives on chat room rants and e-mail tirades:

Of course it was a hate crime — the same thing happened to me! I cut a Hawaiian off in traffic and he showed me his middle finger! I feared for my life and I still do and you should, too.

Stuff like that.

At some point, "talking about it" stops being healthy and turns incendiary. Bold assertions and blanket conclusions that Hawaiians hate haoles are very racist.

What if both the beaten and the accused were of the same racial background? Would the same crime get media coverage without the hot-button "H" word, or would it be pushed aside as "another Westside beef" because nobody got stabbed or shot?

To be sure, the incident was horrifying. The reaction, though, has been revealing. People read a lot into the assault, and they see much of their own anger, fear, hurt and indignation reflected in what happened. Public debate has rocketed beyond news accounts of what transpired to "what happened to me one time in Waimanalo" or "what someone said to my girlfriend at the football game."

The first question that should be asked by all of us, the one that has been drowned out by the cries of "racism," is how this could have happened in broad daylight, in an open parking lot in a place where families do their shopping. This didn't happen in a spooky corner of a downtown parking garage. This didn't happen in some skanky bar after too many drinks and too much smack talk. This happened in the kind of place you take your family, let your guard down and expect everyone to behave civilly. Something is wrong in our community if people get beat up over a parking mishap.

Hawai'i is neither the perfect paradise the tourism industry has sold for decades nor a vicious jungle where the savage natives prey on innocent white people, as some would have you believe. It is a little of both and a lot of America, where cars are an extension of ego, and behavior is informed by video-game justice, and people still have a hard time just getting along.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 4, 2007, Letters to the Editor

Beating should be tried as a hate crime

I could not agree more with Sarah Yamanaka's letter, "Unwarranted violence begins in the home" (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 23). First off, $20,000 bail is just an insult to any reasonable person. Why is Hawaii so soft and forgiving when it comes to violent crime?

This should be treated as a hate crime because it was, and so as to get it out of the state's lenient court system. And why does the local prosecutor's office want to keep the case? They are the ones who can't ever seem to get tough sentences for the worst crimes against our citizens. It's true that if the victims were a noticeably local-looking couple the outcome would most likely have been different!

And what is to be made of all those who were witnesses to such a horror, did no one to come to the aid of this young couple?

It's a sad commentary all around. Let justice prevail, in the federal system. And why not move the hotheaded son into the adult system as well?

Larry Mark

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 5, 2007, Letters to the Editor

'Haole' has devolved into racial slur

The beating at Waikele by a local man and his son on a military couple is a terrible thing (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 22). For it to happen to anyone is outrageous. There is no excuse for this treatment on anyone regardless of race.

For people to bring up the racial issue, I believe, is entirely appropriate. Today the word "haole" is used by most people to describe anyone who is of Caucasian ancestry. More simply, it is used as a slur on "white" people.

Haole does not translate into "white person." It has become that because many people use it in that context. Haole used in its correct form means anyone who is not a native Hawaiian.

I see and hear Asian people use it in describing Caucasian people whose skin color is just as white as theirs.

Filipino, Samoan, African, European people are all haole. There is no racial slur in that word. The slur comes from those who chose to make it so, including native Hawaiians who use it as a slur. Sadly, today the h-word holds the same demeaning intent as the n-word. It has evolved along with all of us kanaka maoli and haole. Everyone needs to respect the language and each other.

Sharon Pomroy
Anahola, Kauai

Anti-haole feeling linked to imperialism

The negative response against haoles isn't a personal or racial matter to Hawaiians, but a negative response to Western imperialism and American expansionism in Hawaii and the Pacific instigated by President William McKinley and then Vice President Theodore Roosevelt during 1898.

One will feel the same negative response from the first people in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Philippines, Nicaragua, Honduras, Vietnam, Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq -- all of which were invaded by the U.S. military between 1893 and 2003.

Tourists and settlers give the same response when confronted with the negative attitude against colonization: We weren't there during 1898, so why blame us? The fact is that the international tourism industry is another form of Western imperialism and American expansionism.

Eric Po'ohina

Honolulu Advertiser, March 5, 2007, Letters to editor


I do not wish to enter the debate on "hate crime or not" in regard to the Waikele beatings. I believe there is a combination of factors that fell into place at the wrong time and my thoughts are with everyone involved. What we must consider from this episode is of a greater importance.

There is no doubt that an underlying racial tension exists in Hawai'i. Most sensible people in the Islands would have a hard time disputing the notion that all ethnic groups might harbor some slight prejudice or ill will toward those of other ethnic groups.

To have university faculty shy away from the idea that these tensions exist is not healthy.

As with any problem that arises within societies or our personal lives, acknowledgement and recognition of problems are what lead to eventual resolutions.

To not discuss our shortcomings as humans would be to err, and this episode provides a backdrop for us all to evaluate who we are and what we believe in.

Let's not ignore what has just happened; let's find ways to make ourselves and our communities stronger by reflecting on our values and rethinking how we treat others.

Michael Poteet

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 6, 2007, Letters to the Editor

Openness can ward off misunderstandings

Na kanaka maoli (native people) have a responsibility for how olelo Hawaii (native language) is used, especially when relating to non-native people. The word haole used in our native tongue is not offensive.

According to kanaka maoli history, this word is used to describe the ancient demigod Kamapua'a. Our ancestors were not in the habit of disrespecting our gods, so the word haole was not used as a racial slur.

But that was in the context of olelo Hawaii. Pidgin English is not our native tongue. It's a dialect of the English language invented to allow plantation managers (lunas) to communicate with the different ethnic groups. It is no wonder that when native words such as haole are taken out of context and used in the Western vernacular, they are misunderstood and often offensive to those who do not understand the native language or culture. It is our responsibility as native people to teach non-native people who come to our islands, with an open mind and heart, to understand our culture and language in a nonconfrontational manner. It is the responsibility of all visitors to learn and understand. It is when neither party is willing to teach and learn respectfully that we have visitors defining native words and na kanaka maoli offending visitors by using words such as haole in a Western context.

It is ridiculous to consider the incident at Waikele a hate crime because the accused perpetrators used the word haole. It is a hate crime because of the brutality of their alleged actions, not the words they used.

Manu Josiah


** MAJOR ARTICLE IN NATIONWIDE NEWSPAPER "USA TODAY" posted online Tuesday March 6, published in print edition Wednesday, March 7, 2007.

Racial tensions are simmering in Hawaii's melting pot

By Martin Kasindorf, USA TODAY

HONOLULU — A violent road-rage altercation between Native Hawaiians and a white couple near Pearl Harbor two weeks ago is provoking questions about whether Hawaii's harmonious "aloha" spirit is real or just a greeting for tourists.

The Feb. 19 attack, in which a Hawaiian father and son were arrested and charged with beating a soldier and his wife unconscious, was unusual here for its brutality. It sparked a public debate over race relations that is filling blogs and newspaper websites with impassioned comments along stark ethnic lines.

These divisive exchanges come as the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress are being asked to tackle another inflammatory racial issue in a state where no race is a majority: special benefits for Native Hawaiians, ranging from preference at an elite private school to free houses on government land. One side says the long-established perks compensate Hawaiians for past wrongs and preserve their valuable culture for the islands. The other side says the benefits discriminate against other racial groups.

The current controversies are exposing racial tensions below the surface of a tropical paradise that Gov. Linda Lingle says is "a model for the world" in diversity and peaceful integration. Simmering divisions pit Hawaiians against other groups, and "locals" of all races against newcomers including immigrants and military members.

At issue now is whether Hawaii will acknowledge and overcome these threats to its friendly reputation.

Last month's road-rage incident began when an SUV driven by Army Staff Sgt. Andrew Dussell, 26, who has served two tours in Iraq, struck the parked car of Gerald Paakaula, 44, at a shopping center, according to a police affidavit filed in court. Paakaula and his 16-year-old son allegedly assaulted Dussell and his wife, Dawn, 23.

The teenager allegedly shouted an obscenity along with the Hawaiian term for a white person, haole (pronounced "howl-ee"), while attacking the soldier.

The court document says the father, a truck driver, picked up the woman and slammed her to the asphalt. The teenager allegedly kicked the husband's face as he convulsed on the ground from a punch to the throat. The couple suffered broken noses, facial fractures and concussions.

In another incident Jan. 27, nine white campers in a beach park on the Big Island of Hawaii were beaten by men in their 20s who told the campers to leave the island, the police report says. Hawaii County Police Maj. John Dawrs describes the assailants as "Pacific Islanders."

Racial troubles in the islands usually don't get much public discussion. In a tourism-dependent state, talk about tensions is "like news about shark attacks," says Jon Van Dyke, a University of Hawaii law professor. "People are afraid they might lose customers."

Now, people are speaking out. Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Peter Carlisle says he's getting public pressure to add a "hate crime" charge to the felony assault charge against Paakaula. The maximum sentence for assault is five years, but that would double to 10 years if the defendant is convicted of a hate crime. Carlisle says this case doesn't fit Hawaii's hate-crime law requiring intentional "selection" of a victim because of ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

Hawaii recorded six hate crimes last year, up from one or two in each previous year since recordkeeping began in 2003, according to the state.

"There is a notion that we have this kind of rainbow society and we all get along really swell," says Jon Matsuoka, dean of the university's School of Social Work. "The reality is that there are racial tensions. They are deep-seated and historical, and that history didn't abruptly stop."

The aloha culture

Hawaii, annexed by the United States as a territory in 1898 and a state since 1959, promotes a picture of aloha. Hawaiians have lavished this "love" greeting on visitors since the first missionaries came from New England in 1820. "In the host culture, tolerance is paramount," says former governor Ben Cayetano, a Democrat. "That is the greatness of Hawaii."

By many measures, Hawaii is a paragon of racial accord. One in two marriages are across ethnic lines, says Lingle, a Missouri-born haole. Most neighborhoods are integrated. In a 2005 Census survey, 21% of residents listed themselves as being of more than one race — the highest percentage of any state.

Hawaii's governors have included Caucasians, the Japanese-American George Ariyoshi, the Native Hawaiian John Waihee and the Filipino-American Cayetano. Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann is Samoan-German. The state's five-member Supreme Court includes a Filipino, a Japanese-American and a Korean-American.

One irritant in this tolerant atmosphere is a string of federal civil rights lawsuits filed since 1996, alleging that special rights for Native Hawaiians illegally discriminate against non-Hawaiians.

Lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court last week to order the private Kamehameha Schools to admit a white student. The school trustees accept few non-Hawaiians, saying they are honoring the will of the Hawaiian princess who established the school in 1883 with an endowment now worth $7.7 billion.

The attack on the Dussells could be "a random, isolated act," Matsuoka says, "but on the other hand there have been all these encroachments on Hawaiian entitlements. I've thought for a long time that there would be growing anger and frustration on the part of the Hawaiian populace."

An estimated 246,000 Native Hawaiians live in the islands, 20% of the state's population, according to a Census survey last year. Another 140,000 live in mainland states. All but about 10,000 are of mixed races, state surveys indicate.

Hawaiians are consistently on the bottom rungs statewide in income and school test scores. At Waianae on Oahu's Leeward shore, dozens of homeless Hawaiian families camp in tents on the beach.

'Will there be any Hawaii left?'

Census studies show Native Hawaiian numbers are slowly shrinking. The islands' low-paying service jobs in tourism and the high cost of living — 27% above the national average — have driven so many to migrate to casino jobs in Las Vegas that Hawaiians now call the Nevada city "the ninth island," says Ronald Becker, chairman of the criminal justice program at Honolulu's Chaminade University.

"If all the Native Hawaiians leave, will there be any Hawaii left?" says Dave Young of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. "That's what people come here for — the Hawaiian culture."

The court battles over Native Hawaiians' status are stirring emotion. When the phone rings at the home of lawyer John Goemans on the Big Island, he picks up the call in Beverly Hills. He quietly moved a year ago, saying he fears for his safety in Hawaii. He won a federal appeals court ruling in 2005 that struck down the Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiian-preference policy.

In protest, 15,000 marchers rallied at Iolani Palace, seat of the Hawaiian kingdom that white sugar planters overthrew in 1893 with help from U.S. Marines. Signs at the rally said "Hawaiians only" and "stop stealing from Hawaiians." Lingle, the Republican governor, spoke in support of the rights of Native Hawaiians.

"Well, 15,000 people marching — and I'm the guy they're looking for — is alarming," Goemans says, explaining his flight. "Hawaiians are wonderful people, but there are some extreme firebrands." The appeals court reheard the case and reversed its ruling in December. Now, Goemans is asking the Supreme Court to review the case.

"Don't they understand the pain that they're putting everybody through?" says Dee Jay Mailer, CEO of the Kamehameha Schools, an academic powerhouse.

"It's really less about an admissions policy than about the loss of one of the last treasures of the Hawaiian people," Mailer says.

Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), says sympathy for her people is widespread.

Jeanne Larsen, 56, a hotel sous-chef who moved here from Tahiti in 1975, says: "We feel sad for them because of what was done to them years ago."

To compensate for the U.S. role in the royal overthrow, Congress in 1920 authorized free houses for 99 years to people who can prove they have at least 50% Hawaiian blood. The state manages the program on 200,000 acres of government land; 8,000 families occupy houses, with 20,000 on a waiting list. The state created OHA in 1978 to run other exclusive benefit programs.

Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, who is of Hawaiian and Chinese ancestry, spearheaded through Congress a 1993 resolution declaring the overthrow illegal and apologizing to Hawaiians for the U.S. role in the coup. President Clinton signed the apology.

Hawaiians are having mixed success defending their privileges. In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that Hawaii had set up an illegal "racial classification" when it limited elections for OHA trustees to Native Hawaiian voters. A lawsuit brought by a taxpayer group attacking OHA and the home-lease program soon will be dismissed on procedural grounds, but similar suits are sure to be filed, state Attorney General Mark Bennett says.

If Hawaiians lose their favored status in the courts, they could regain it in Congress. Akaka filed a Senate bill that would allow Hawaiians to form a separate government like those of American Indian tribes.

Federal recognition of such an entity would put Hawaiians in a position to keep their perks and demand more.

Last June, a Republican filibuster stopped the controversial Akaka bill from reaching the Senate floor for a vote. Akaka reintroduced it in January. "With a Democratic majority, the prospects are better in this Congress," says Akaka, 82.

Hawaiians are split over how to improve their group's status. Sandra Puanani Burgess, 55, the part-Hawaiian co-founder of the group Aloha for All, says Hawaiians should have no special rights.

The most radical want to secede from the United States. Ikaika Hussey, 28, of Hui Pu ("to unite"), a group opposing the Akaka bill, says it fails to offer "the option of independence."

Some Hawaiians say independence is desirable but impracticable. "Secede? Oh, God, we would love to," says Haunani-Kay Trask, 57, a Hawaiian studies professor at the University of Hawaii. "As a nationalist, I hate the United States of America. But (independence) doesn't live in the political-military world we live in, with 26 military bases in Hawaii and 7 million tourists a year."

'Not much acceptance'

Booming tourism is bringing some new social stresses. Hawaii's unemployment rate was 2% in December, the USA's lowest. The hot economy is attracting poorly educated immigrants who can have problems fitting in. Groups of young Micronesians from Western Pacific islands such as Chuk sometimes fight with other groups in low-income Honolulu neighborhoods, police reports say.

Public schools hire Frank De Lima, a popular local comedian who specializes in ethnic jokes, to warn kids that slang racial descriptions can be explosive insults to immigrants or children whose parents are in the military.

Some in Hawaii's 24.9% minority of whites say they sense discrimination.

David Bell, 50, a Honolulu teacher, is white and Canadian Indian. Even after 26 years here, he says, he feels snubbed for looking white. "There's not that much acceptance," he says. "It bothered me, but after a while you learn to deal with it. You have to earn their acceptance."

Karen Knudsen, chairwoman of the state Board of Education, says, "You will hear people say 'dumb haole,' and it's not a big deal. But you would never say 'dumb' any other group. That's considered offensive."

Military personnel say they can feel like outsiders. "At our first-day briefing, we are told to avoid certain places after dark," says Army Pfc. Jennifer Olsen, 29, of Redding, Calif., based at Oahu's Schofield Barracks.

"Sometimes, being white, we go to a store and some people are first more willing to help their own. They're very much against the military people being here. I don't understand it."

For all the problems, Hawaii is a safe place. Rates of murder and other violent crimes are low, prosecutor Carlisle says.

"The race thing isn't perfect here," he adds. "But there is a lot that people can learn about race relationships from Hawaii."



HONOLULU - Native Hawaiians get $70 million a year in government benefits exclusively for them.

The private Kamehameha Schools provide $9.4 million a year in financial aid to half of their 4,800 students of Hawaiian ancestry to help with tuition that ranges from $2,500 to $6,000.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands spends $15 million a year managing free 99-year leases of houses to people who are at least 50% Hawaiian. About $30 million in benefits are dispensed by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), an agency created by state voters in 1978 to help Hawaiians rise from poverty through a variety of programs.

OHA is a largely autonomous agency with its own elected governing board. The nine trustees were required by law to be Hawaiians, and only Hawaiians could vote, until court decisions banned these restrictions.

To fund its programs, the agency every year receives 20% of the rent from 1.2 million acres that the federal government turned over to Hawaii when it became a state in 1959.

Last year, OHA got $33 million from that land and $2.8 million in state general funds.

Some ways OHA reported spending its money last year:

Grants to non-profit community groups, including a circus, maritime academy and legal services organization: $8 million.

State-chartered schools teaching the Hawaiian language and culture: $2.2 million.

"Micro-loans" to 59 Native Hawaiians to help with financial hardships, such as car repairs and emergency medical procedures: $101,400.

Lobbying in Washington for a bill that would let Native Hawaiians form a separate, tribal-style government: $2 million over three years.

By Martin Kasindorf


KITV Honolulu television station March 7, 2007 video clip of evening TV news report in which Governor Lingle and tourism officials lament the nationwide negative publicity generated by the article in USA Today. [no regret for prevalence of anti-white racism, only regret for the fact that Hawai'i's dirty little secret is coming to public attention nationwide.]

"USA Today Report Spurs Frustration
Many Hawaii officials express frustration with a report bashing the state's aloha spirit. (3.07.07)"


MSNBC TV television network and local KITV television station March 8, 2007 report on USA Today article published March 7.

USA Today Report Alleges 'Racial Tensions'

7:42 a.m. HST March 8, 2007

HONOLULU - The violent attack on a military couple two weeks ago in Waikele is making national news. A story about the road rage altercation is on the front page of Wednesday's USA Today under the headline: "Racial Tensions are simmering in Hawaii's Melting Pot."

Police arrested a Native Hawaiian man and his teenage son in the attack of the Caucasian couple after a fender bender in the Waikele Shopping Center parking lot.

The article said that the incident is provoking questions about whether Hawaii's aloha spirit is real.

Iraq war veteran Staff Sgt. Andrew Dussell and his wife, Dawn, have asked for privacy after allegedly being beaten into unconsciousness.

Witnesses said it began when the Dussells' sport utility vehicle bumped into Gerald Paakaula's Chevrolet.

A police affidavit said Gerald Paakaula's son, Alika, 16, "was extremely angry that his vehicle was struck... He began to yell profanities at Andrew Dussell, calling him a f--- haole and kicked the driver side door." Gerald Paakaula who had been inside an ice cream parlor intervened and both Dussells ended up unconscious.

"Simmering divisions pit Hawaiians against other groups, and 'locals' of all races against newcomers, including immigrants and military members. At issue now is whether Hawaii will acknowledge and overcome these threats to its friendly reputation," Martin Kasindorf's report said. (Read the full report.)

KITV spoke with Andrew Dussell's father, who said his son does not consider himself the victim of a race crime.

The USA Today report also points out that the attack comes as the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress are being asked to decide on special benefits for Native Hawaiians that some say exclude other races.

Comment on the USA Today article

University of Hawaii law professor Jon Van Dyke was quoted in the article. He said the report exaggerated racial tensions and trivializes Native Hawaiian's quest for redress. "I think the story missed the essence of Hawaii, which is people get along, people try to reach across barriers and link with each other," Van Dyke said.

Rex Johnson, head of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, called the article a nightmare.

"Those kinds of stories are very damaging to Hawaii's overall image," he said.

USA Today reaches more than 2 million readers daily.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 8, 2007, Letters to the Editor

Ignorance and fear fuel hate and racism

Regarding the Waikele beating story (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 22) and follow-up commentary:

I am white, an island resident for 39 years, married to a native Hawaiian. It saddens me to see white people condemning all Hawaiians or locals for the actions of a few. This is another example of racial bias toward the very people who invited all races to share aloha, only to be stabbed in the back throughout its storied past.

Hate crime? No. A crime against humanity? Definitely! Stop focusing on color and begin to see we are citizens of the planet Earth, and there is no room for this type of behavior. Our system has not protected the people it serves.

Personally, I believe the suspect's son in this incident should be tried as an adult. Let's see how well a 16-year-old can handle being sent to Halawa for five years.

All the talk about hate crimes only fuels a rumor that locals hate military. When I served with the Honolulu Police Department in the '70s, every time a military person was arrested the military would claim we were biased. There are bad eggs in every basket. Being a military brat, I've seen both sides of the ledger; neither is perfect. The only way to prevent hate crimes is to eliminate the fuel that fires the hate -- ignorance and fear.

John Slater
Ewa Beach

Words before 'haole' make it racial question

I disagree with Rev. 'Alapaki Kim (Letters, Feb. 26). "Haole" may or may not be a racial epithet, but when it is preceded by "You stupid" and physical violence, it becomes racial.

For instance, if I kicked a kid and called him "stupid," it doesn't seem racial. But if I kick that same kid and yell, loud enough for everyone to hear, "You stupid Japanese," it clearly takes on a racial tone. To think otherwise is to choose to hear what you want to hear, and interpret it to suit you.

LeGrand Pound

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 9, 2007, Letters to the Editor

Anti-U.S. attitude will drive away visitors

I read with interest the March 7 article "Racial tensions are simmering in Hawaii's melting pot" in USA Today, also reported in Hawaii media.

I was most disturbed by the comments "Secede? Oh God, we would love to. As a nationalist, I hate the United States of America." These words were spoken by Haunani-Kay Trask, University of Hawaii professor.

My wife and I have visited Honolulu at least 20 times during the past 40 years. The first time I visited was in 1966 when I was assigned to Vietnam. The last time my wife and I visited Honolulu was last month. I have spent a great deal of money in Honolulu and the other islands over the years because it was our favorite vacation location.

Because of the comments of the university professor, I will never again visit Hawaii, and the islands will lose my tourist dollars.

Hawaii survives on tourism. I will do all possible to have my friends and family not visit and spend their money in Hawaii.

Theodore F. Bischof
Ponte Vedra, Fla.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 11, 2007, Regular Sunday Hawaiian language column

He Paiha'akei Lähui anei?

Synopsis: Does using the word "Haole" constitute evidence of racist beliefs?


Laiana Wong

'AUHEA 'OE e ka ', ka Mahi, ka Palena, ka Haole, ka Päkë, Ke Kepanï, ka Pilipino, ka Pukikï, a me ia hoa aku ia hoa aku o ka 'ölelo Hawai'i. Aloha mai käkou. 'Eä, mai noho a kuhihewa mai he mana'o loko 'ino ko 'one'i no ko'u kuhi pololei aku iä 'oe ma o ka inoa lä o kou lähui. 'A'ohe wahi mana'o küamuamu i laila. 'A'ohe wahi 'ano o ka ho'okae 'ili a ho'okae lähui paha. He kuhi wale aku nö ia iä 'oe ma o kahi welo e 'ike 'ia ai 'oe he kanaka no kekahi lähui. He mea ma'a mau ke kuhi 'ana i kekahi kanaka ma o kona lähui. Inähea i lilo ai ia mea he hewa, a he hana paiha'akei lähui ho'i?

Ua kuku'i maila ka lono no ka pepehi 'ia 'ana 'elua pule aku nei o 'elua Haole e kekahi mau Hawai'i ma Waikele. 'O ka nui o ka inaina o ua mau Hawai'i lä (he kanaka a me käna keiki) i ka ho'oku'i 'ia mai o ko läua ka'a e ua po'e Haole lä (he pü'ali koa a me käna wahine), lele kämoko akula läua nei ma luna o ua mau Haole lä me ka pepehi aku nö a pau ka no'ono'o. I ia lele 'ana ona, küamuamu akula ka 'öpio i nä Haole i ke kapa aku iä läua i ka "f---ing Haole". No ia mea nö ho'i, eia kekahi po'e ke häpai nei i ka mana'o he hana "racist" këia a i kumu küpono nö ho'i ia e ho'onui ai i ka 'o'ole'a o ka ho'opa'i 'ana.

He aha lä na'e ia mea he hana "racist"? 'O ka huhü anei kona mea e 'ike 'ia ai? 'O ka hua'ölelo paha? Ke mana'o nei nö paha kekahi po'e ë 'o ka ho'okae wale aku nö i kahi kanaka ma muli o kona lähui, 'o ia ihola nö ke 'ano o ia mea. No'u iho, aia ia mea 'o ka "racism" a mana'o'i'o kekahi kanaka ua hiki iä ia ke hö'oi'oi i kekahi kanaka ma muli o kona lähui. 'O ia ho'i, aia ka "racism" i ka paipai 'ana i ka mana'o e 'oi aku ke külana o kekahi lähui ma mua o kekahi. 'O ia ihola nö ke kumu i haku 'ia ai ka 'ölelo "paiha'akei lähui" no "racism". 'O ke kupu mai o ia ku'ia ma Waikele, na ka huhü ia i koikoi mai i këlä mau Hawai'i e pepehi i këlä Haole a me käna wahine, 'a'ole na ko läua lä lähui. Aloha nö ke kupu mai o këia hihia a me ka ho'opö'ino 'ia o këlä mau Haole. He hana hewa nö ia a he küpono nö paha ka ho'opa'i 'ia o ia mau Hawai'i. 'A'ole na'e ia he hana paiha'akei lähui.

Eia aku a eia mai, kuhi 'ia ka hua'ölelo "Haole" he hua'ölelo küpono 'ole o ka ho'opuka 'ana no kona 'ano ho'okae lähui. Kä! Na wai lä ia e ho'oholo no ke küpono a me ka 'ole o kahi hua'ölelo Hawai'i? I ka makahiki 1896, ua päpä 'ia ka 'ölelo Hawai'i 'a'ole e ho'opuka 'ia ma nä kula o Hawai'i nei. He hana paiha'akei lähui nö paha këlä ke no'ono'o a'e. 'A'ole na'e e hihi. Eia nö i këia mau lä a käkou e 'ike nei, ke hö'ähewa 'ia nei kahi po'e i ka hana "racist" no ka ho'opuka 'ana i kahi hua'ölelo Hawai'i. Auë kä ho'i ë! E ao käkou o päpä 'ia auane'i ka hua'ölelo "Haole" 'a'ole e ho'opuka hou 'ia ma këia hope aku!

Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Letters to the Editor


Something has been missing in the discussion about the brutal beating of the young service couple in Waikele. Whether or not the attack meets the legal definition of a hate crime is a surface issue. The more important question is not whether the law malfunctioned, but whether our community malfunctioned.

It has been suggested that to stop hate crimes we must have more aggressive law enforcement, increased bail requirements and longer maximum punishments.

These options offer little help. Hate-crime offenders are not deterred by the possible consequences of their conduct. Considering the possible consequences of one's conduct requires rational thought. Even if an offender is aware of the possible consequences of what he is doing, hate and passion trump rational thought.

In governing ourselves, we should be looking for ways to live out the image we offer to the world — an integrated and harmonious multiracial community.

Yes, we should identify and celebrate our different ethnicities, but we should do so to enrich our community, not to divide it.

This means that ethnic cohesiveness should not morph into racial intolerance or separate camps seeking power and resources based on race. Let's stick with the American model of " nation, indivisible...."

Joe Gedan

Honolulu Advertiser, March 14, 2007, Letters to editor


Haole is a nice name given to Caucasians.

Hawai'i is a culture comprised of a multitude of ethnic groups. All confined and tightly integrated on a speck of land in the middle of the Pacific.

Each ethnic group has always had its own Hawaiian race descriptor.

We've all grown up since childhood to accept our cultural Hawaiian race description. We've never considered it as racial. That was just Hawaiian style.

It is just the group of Caucasians who find it displeasing to have a race description.

They are the only race that has difficulty accepting and integrating this name given by the Hawaiian culture.

This problem that they have had within themselves has been going on for decades. It is not racial, it's our culture.

Ed Lee


Cartoon by Pritchett, published in Honolulu Weekly of Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Cartoon URL originally was


2:45 p.m. HST March 15, 2007

Man Accused Of Attacking Soldier, Wife Indicted

HONOLULU - A grand jury on Thursday indicted a man accused of beating a soldier and his wife on two counts of second-degree assault. Gerald Paakaula is now charged with two felony counts. His bail was also increased from $20,000 to $50,000 because prosecutors said that Paakaula made threatening remarks to witnesses.

The incident happened in the Waikele Shopping Center last month.

Paakaula and his 16-year-old son are accused of beating the couple unconscious after a traffic altercation.

Though they reportedly used racial slurs, the prosecutor said they were not charged with hate crimes because they did not target the couple because of their race.

The attack was part of a national front-page story on USA Today questioning the aloha spirit that stirred strong reaction from Hawaii leaders.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 16, 2006

No racial motive for assault at Waikele, both sides say
Gerald Paakaula is indicted in the Waikele assault

By Debra Barayuga

An Oahu grand jury has indicted a Waianae man accused of beating an Army soldier and his wife at the Waikele Center over a traffic incident.

Gerald D. Paakaula, 44, was indicted on two counts of second-degree assault against Andrew and Dawn Dussell in the Feb. 19 altercation, which flared after the couple's car struck the Paakaulas' sport utility vehicle while parking. Paakaula is also charged with being an accomplice to second-degree assault.

The defense maintains that although Paakaula's son made some racial remarks, the incident was not racially motivated and that Dawn Dussell started the physical confrontation.

The attorney for a Waianae man charged in the vicious assault on a military couple at the Waikele Center maintains the incident had nothing to do with the couple being Caucasian.

To suggest the attack was racially motivated is not what occurred that day, said attorney Todd Eddins, who represents Gerald Paakaula.

"It's reprehensible that this has been portrayed as a 'local versus haole,'" he said.

An Oahu grand jury indicted Paakaula, 44, yesterday with two counts of second-degree assault on Andrew and Dawn Dussell and being an accomplice to second-degree assault, all Class C felonies punishable by five-year prison terms.

The Feb. 19 altercation flared after the SUV that Andrew Dussell was driving struck the Paakaulas' parked car.

Eddins said the Paakaulas regret the incident and are grateful that the Dussells are OK.

While Paakaula's 16-year-old son uttered a phrase referring to the couple's race before the physical altercation, it was a generic reference to their behavior and not to their race, he said.

The teenager, who is being adjudicated in Family Court for his role in the attack, regrets what he said and is basically a good kid, Eddins said, adding that the Paakaulas are a hard-working, churchgoing family.

The Dussells never viewed the incident as being racial in nature, said deputy prosecutor Franklin Pacarro. But they remain fearful and do not understand why the incident happened. Andrew Dussell does not remember anything except waking up at the Queen's Medical Center, Pacarro said.

According to witnesses, Paakaula punched Dawn Dussell in the face and slammed her to the ground, causing her to lose consciousness.

Paakaula then struck Dussell's husband in the face and head, causing him to fall to the ground and also lose consciousness.

As Dussell lay on the ground, Paakaula's son and Paakaula allegedly took a turn kicking him, causing one of Dussell's teeth to fly out. Witnesses said Dussell began to convulse and stiffen as he lay on the ground.

Paakaula allegedly made threatening remarks to bystanders who stuck around and gave statements to police, Pacarro said.

From the outset, prosecutors said that although there were racial remarks directed at the couple by Paakaula's son, the assault was not a hate crime and the resulting charges were based on the facts of the case. The fender-bender is what precipitated the violence, prosecutors said.

Eddins contends Dawn Dussell provoked the physical confrontation by striking Paakaula's son.

Gerald Paakaula, who was returning with ice cream cones for his family, saw his wife struggling with Dawn Dussell and jumped in, believing his family was under siege, Eddins said.

The public's reaction has "devastated" the Paakaulas, who have received death threats, phone calls where a shotgun clicking can be heard, and have had two attempted break-ins, Eddins said. They filed reports with police, who could not immediately confirm them.

Honolulu Advertiser, March 16, 2007

'I pray ... they know we are very sorry'

By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer

A father who was indicted by the O'ahu grand jury on assault charges yesterday in a Waikele beating case was not motivated by racial hatred, and his son regrets uttering a racial remark during the incident, the boy's mother said yesterday.

"He wished he used another word or didn't even use the word (haole)," the 16-year-old boy's mother, Joreen Pa'akaula, said yesterday in her first public comments since the Feb. 19 incident caused a firestorm of controversy over whether the beating was racially motivated.

She said the words were spoken out of frustration and anger by the son, who counts Caucasians among his closest friends.

"We're praying for them (the victims) every day, and so is my son," Pa'akaula said, choking back tears. "I pray that they heal quickly and they know that we are very sorry that this has happened."

Asked what she would tell the Army couple beaten at the Waikele Shopping Center parking lot, Pa'akaula said she would say her family is generous and loving.

"There isn't an inch of hate in our being, in our behavior, in our everyday living," she said.

Pa'akaula's husband, Gerald, was indicted on second-degree assault charges, accusing him of beating Andrew Dussell, 26, an Army man who served two tours of duty in Iraq, and his wife, Dawn, 23, a Hawai'i Pacific University student. The couple suffered broken noses, concussions and facial fractures.

The Pa'akaulas' son also was arrested, but because he is a juvenile, his case is being handled in confidential Family Court proceedings. A police affidavit said he referred to Andrew Dussell as a "f------ haole" after Dussell's SUV bumped the Pa'akaulas' car in the parking lot.

Gerald Pa'akaula's attorney, Todd Eddins, a former public defender, said the characterization of the case as Hawaiians versus Caucasians is "reprehensible."

"The family does not have one bone of prejudice in them," he said, adding that Gerald Pa'akaula is half Hawaiian and half Caucasian. "They certainly regret what has happened to the other family and is grateful the family is OK, but to suggest that there is anything racial about this family and this incident is totally at odds with what transpired that day."


Eddins said it was Dawn Dussell who threw the first blow after she and the teenager exchanged heated words during which the boy uttered the racial remark. Eddins said Dawn Dussell repeatedly struck the teenager.

"That doesn't necessarily excuse what later transpired, but it needs to be known that things did not start or get out of hand (because of) my client," Eddins said.

Gerald Pa'akaula, a truck driver, was released on $20,000 bail, but after the indictment was returned yesterday, Circuit Judge Derrick Chan granted the prosecution's request to increase the bail to $50,000.

Eddins said Gerald Pa'akaula will surrender to police today and post $50,000 bail to get released.

In asking for bail five times the normal amount for the two felonies, which each carries a prison term of up to five years, city deputy prosecutor Franklin Pacarro Jr. referred to Pa'akaula's 2002 conviction of abusing a household member for beating the son.

Pacarro also said Gerald Pa'akaula punched Dawn Dussell in the face and slammed her to the ground, causing her to lose consciousness. Gerald Pa'akaula also attacked the husband, punching him in the face and head, knocking him down and kicking him, Pacarro said. Pa'akaula's son also kicked Andrew Dussell on the ground, Pacarro said.

Andrew Dussell had a tooth knocked out and appeared to go into convulsions with his body stiffening and shaking, the deputy prosecutor said. Andrew Dussell also lost consciousness and the next he remembers is waking at The Queen's Medical Center, the prosecutor said.

Pacarro told the judge that Gerald Pa'akaula made "threatening remarks" to witnesses who remained at the scene to tell police what happened.

The prosecutor said the Dussells also fear retaliation.

Judge Chan issued an order directing Gerald Pa'akaula not to have any contact with the Dussells or witnesses.

The Dussells testified in confidential proceedings before the grand jury, but Jim Fulton, executive assistant at the prosecutor's office, said both are declining to comment because the case is pending.

Because of the reported use of the phrase "f...... haole," some have called for the Pa'akaulas to be prosecuted for committing a "hate crime," which would double the five-year maximum sentence for each count of assault.

Pacarro outside of court echoed what prosecutors had indicated earlier in saying that the assault was not a hate crime, but a road-rage case. The police affidavit said the assault occurred after Andrew Dussell drove a Dodge Durango into a parking stall and accidentally hit the Pa'akaulas' green Chevrolet.

Pacarro said his office considered a hate crime prosecution, but under the law, the prosecution must show that the victims were targeted because of their race, and that was not the case here. "This thing happened because of a traffic accident," he said.

Eddins said he'll have to review the evidence before deciding on the best way to mount a defense.

He said the boy is not disputing saying "f------ haole" but is disputing the context in which the words were used. The boy was not referring to the Dussells, Eddins said, but the remark was "more generic" and the teenager meant the two were "acting like f------ haoles."

"I think anybody who has grown up here in Hawai'i realizes when somebody says somebody is acting like a f------ haole, it's not necessarily directed specifically at that person, but more as a generic type of definition of behavior," said Eddins, who was born and raised here.


On the issue of whether Dawn Dussell threw the first blows, the prosecutor, Fulton, would only say that the grand jury heard evidence and concluded there was "probable cause" for the assault charges against Gerald Pa'akaula.

Eddins said the Pa'akaula family has been "devastated" by the way the case has been portrayed.

He said the family reported to police that they received death threats and their home has been broken into twice. Eddins produced a tape of what he said was one voice message left on the Pa'akaulas' phone. The voice said the Pa'akaula home would be "attacked tonight and tomorrow night ... stay away from windows to avoid sniper fire."

"It's an incredibly demoralizing, devastating and scary thing for the family," Eddins said.

"While this incident, like any assault incident, is a regrettable incident, things have taken on a life of their own, and the only reason why things have taken on a life of their own is this whole notion of haoles versus Hawaiians, and that is not the case here," Eddins said.

He said the Pa'akaulas are strong members of a church. A service will be held at 7:30 tonight at the Holy Hill of Zion church in Wai'anae to "try to have everybody heal."

"These are good people who have really been run through the mud in this case," Eddins said. "Certainly they regret what happened, but when the real circumstances are brought forth, there is a lot more to this event than has been portrayed."

Joreen Pa'akaula, 43, who works at a resort souvenir shop and might be speaking at tonight's service, said the public has been "misled" about what happened at Waikele that day.

"At the end of all this, the truth will come out," she said.

Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hope 'we all learn from this'

Advertiser Staff

MA'ILI — More than 50 Wai'anae Coast residents last night prayed for community healing in the aftermath of a Waikele parking lot beating that sparked concerns about racial tension in Hawai'i.

Bishop Soara Tupua Jr. led the congregation of Holy Hill of Zion Full Gospel Church in a prayer for both families involved, and for each other. He said he hoped some good would come from the Feb. 19 incident.

"We know we're all responsible for our actions," he said. "Our actions bring consequences. ... Any one of our families could have been in that situation."

He reminded the congregation that Hawai'i is the land of aloha and should welcome everyone.

Others prayed emotionally for healing and forgiveness.

Gerald Pa'akaula and his 16-year-old son allegedly pummeled Dawn and Andrew Dussell with their fists and feet in the parking lot of Waikele Shopping Center after the Dussells' sport utility vehicle bumped the Pa'akaulas' car.

The Dussells suffered broken noses, concussions and other injuries that left them unconscious. Pa'akaula then made "threatening remarks" to potential witnesses who remained at the scene, according to prosecutors.

The incident has received lots of attention because of the severity of the beating and reports that the 16-year-old shouted "f------ haole" when the altercation began.

The Dussells are Caucasian; the Pa'akaulas are part-Hawaiian.

Joreen Pa'akaula, Gerald Pa'akaula's wife, last night said, "Thank you everyone for coming out. I appreciate the prayers that are being directed towards both families and the community."

Asked if she had anything to say to the Dussells, Joreen Pa'akaula said, "We stand united in praying for healing for them as well."

Pastor Annette Tupua said she hoped others would learn from the incident.

"We always say that sticks and stones will break our bones but words will never hurt us. A simple word as that word hurt both families," she said before the service began.

"Maybe it didn't have to happen the way it did, but it did. So now, the best way we can try to resolve it is spiritually," she said. "I just hope that other families, whether white, whether black, whether Hispanic or Hawaiian, we all learn from this."

Gerald Pa'akaula, a 44-year-old truck driver, was indicted by the O'ahu grand jury on assault charges on Thursday; his son's case is being handled confidentially in Family Court because he is a juvenile.

Pa'akaula's attorney said Thursday that Dawn Dussell had escalated the confrontation by throwing the first blow. Prosecutors have not directly addressed that allegation.

Though some observers have labeled the beating a hate crime, prosecutors contend that the assault stemmed from the fender-bender, rather than hatred of Caucasians.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 18, 2007, Letters to the Editor

Hawaii ignores reality of racial discord

The fact that the Waikele Center beatings are being prosecuted as simple assault rather than a racially motivated crime is another example of Hawaii trying to hide this unpleasant facet of island life for the sake of the tourist industry.

It was a decision motivated by politics and business, not by the facts of the case.

As long as Hawaii buries its head in the sand regarding local-haole relations, the violence will continue to get worse.

William Moake

Think about words used in front of kids

Regarding the Waikele assault case: Whether or not the Paakaulas committed a hate crime, one thing is for certain. Hawaii's dirty secret of institutionalized racism has been exposed for all to see.

Perhaps it's time for the parents of Hawaii to take this moment to think about the words they use and teach their children. It's long overdue for the "H" word to go the way of the "N" word. Just substitute the "N" word next time you hear someone use the "H" word and you'll get an idea of how it sounds to those to whom it's directed.

Wayne Kilthau
San Jose, Calif.
Hawaii native

Hawaii justice will let the accused off easy

So the bullies who are accused of beating the couple senseless in Waikele are sorry (Star-Bulletin, March 16)?

Sorry might cut it if you accidentally cause harm to somebody, but not if you beat a woman unconscious and kick a defenseless, unconscious man's teeth in. But just watch, all it will take is a tearful apology in court with the defendants surrounded by a bunch of weeping relatives and our gutless judicial system will let them walk.

Alan Fentriss

Honolulu Advertiser, March 19, 2007, Letters to editor


Re: Ed Lee's March 14 letter ("Haoles have trouble accepting race term"): No, we do not have any trouble.

If you are an adult and you still think of and judge people because of their race, then you have big trouble.

Jude Waterman

Honolulu Advertiser, March 20, 2007, Letters to Editor


I was born and raised in Hawai'i, and I am Caucasian.

I disagree with the following statement made by attorney Todd Eddins in the Pa'akaula case. He said, "I think anybody who has grown up here in Hawai'i realizes when somebody says somebody is acting like a f------ haole, it's not necessarily directed specifically at that person, but more as a generic type of definition of behavior."

Normally, the statement is not "you are acting like a f------ haole," it is "f------ haole."

No matter how you say it or where you were born and/or raised, it is derogatory and racial.

Tiana Marvel

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 21, 2007

A man who bullied neighbors is among 6 incidents last year
But the cases are "isolated incidents," a state official says

By Jim Borg

The case of a Windward Oahu man who terrorized his neighborhood ranks as the most serious of six hate crimes reported yesterday in the state attorney general's annual summary for 2006.

The six crimes were reported in Honolulu and represent by far the largest tally in the five years that the state has been preparing the report.

Two hate crimes were reported statewide in 2002 and one crime in each of the three subsequent years.

Jim Fulton, spokesman for the Honolulu Prosecutor's Office, said yesterday the increase is no cause for alarm bells.

Standing out among last year's crimes is the case of David Domingues, who is serving a five-year prison term for terrorizing his Ahuimanu neighborhood for more than a decade.

Domingues, 39, was convicted of first-degree terroristic threatening after neighbors complained that he routinely screamed at them and threatened to kill them and burn down their homes.

The case qualifies as a hate crime because he used anti-white, anti-Japanese and anti-homosexual epithets.

A hate crime is defined in Hawaii as arising from "hostility toward the actual or perceived race, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation" of the victim.

By that definition, there were six hate crimes in Hawaii last year, according to a summary released yesterday by the state attorney general.

While the number is higher than in previous years, officials emphasized that the overall numbers are so low that the increase has no statistical significance.

And only two of the cases qualify as "classic" hate crimes in which the offenders "deliberately and without provocation targeted their victims based solely on their biases," the report notes.

In those two cases:

» A group of young men shouted anti-white epithets at another group walking on a sidewalk in Waikiki. The first bunch included a 21-year-old Hawaiian who attempted to kick and punch one of the victims.

» After shouting anti-Arab and anti-Muslim epithets, two military servicemen assaulted three adult men leaving a bar downtown. Notably, the person perceived as Arab and Muslim was neither.

In determining a hate crime, the state relies on the same 14 benchmarks used by the FBI. The first is when the offender and victim are of a different race, religion, ethnic group or national origin, sexual orientation, or when one has a disability.

Other benchmarks include bias-related statements, gestures, drawings, symbols or graffiti, and the demographics of the community.

Paul Perrone, chief of research and statistics for the state Department of the Attorney General, said yesterday all six cases are unrelated, "isolated incidents" that signal no trend.

"Some of these could have just as easily been determined not to be hate crimes," Perrone said. "That determination is inherently subjective to a very high degree."

Does an ethnic epithet suggest a motive for a fight? Or is it merely something tossed off in the heat of the moment?

"It's difficult to dissect that sort of incident," Perrone said.

The six include the high-profile case of David Domingues, who terrorized his Ahuimanu cul-de-sac for more than a decade before his neighbors took action. Convicted of felony terroristic threatening, Domingues is serving the maximum term, five years. But the prosecutor did not seek enhanced hate-crime sanctions in the case.

The remaining cases, all misdemeanors, involve altercations and also possibly "mentally impaired offenders with somewhat nebulous biases and intent."

The single neighbor-island case, listed in the 2005 report, involved a melee at a Kona beach park in July 2004. A group of four white men and an East Indian male was approached and assaulted by a group of nine offenders, including six adult males, an adult female and two juveniles. The second group included five part-Hawaiians, a Samoan and three unspecified Asian/Pacific islanders.

The single case reported in 2004 involved Steve Van Ribbink, executive vice president of the Hawaii Medical Service Association, who was beaten up after he tried to save a dog that was being abused by its owner at Waimanalo Beach Park in March 2003. A Circuit Court jury convicted Manuel Kupahu Jr. of cruelty to animals and first-degree assault.

Earlier cases include:

» 2003: A black male, 45, was charged with harassment for verbally abusing and threatening a white customer in a grocery store.

» 2002: A male university student harassed another male student for "appearing homosexual" and then head-butted another male student who intervened.

» 2002: A mentally ill woman threatened a doctor and smashed objects in his office while expressing prejudice against whites and Japanese.


All six of Hawaii's hate crimes last year occurred in Honolulu, according to the annual summary released yesterday by the state attorney general:

1. A 45-year-old white male approached the victim, a stranger, on a public sidewalk and shouted anti-white, anti-black, anti-Jewish and anti-homosexual epithets before repeatedly punching him, causing minor facial injuries. He pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree assault and was sentenced to a short jail term followed by one year of probation.

2. A 26-year-old white male directed anti-black epithets against a man shopping in a convenience store and then attempted to punch him. The victim blocked the punches but hurt his arm in the process. The offender pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and received a deferred acceptance of guilt.

3. In a high-profile "neighborhood bully" case, David Domingues (unnamed in the report), a 39-year-old male of Filipino descent, threatened and otherwise terrorized many of his neighbors over a period of several years. He was ultimately convicted of two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening and sentenced to five years in prison. His threats included anti-white, anti-Japanese and anti-homosexual epithets.

4. A group of young adult males, including the offender, a 21-year-old Hawaiian, shouted anti-white epithets at a group of males walking in Waikiki. The offender then attempted to kick and punch one of the victims, who blocked the attacks but later complained of pain in his left arm. The offender was charged with harassment and the case was dismissed.

5. Two servicemen stationed in Hawaii approached a group of three adult males leaving a bar downtown and directed anti-Muslim and anti-Arab epithets at one member of the group, who, incidentally, was neither Arab nor Muslim. The offenders then assaulted the three, who sustained facial cuts, "cracked teeth" and bruises. The first offender, a 20-year-old white male, was charged with two counts of third-degree assault. He received a deferred acceptance of no contest and was ordered to pay restitution and submit to alcohol-abuse and anger-management assessments. Charges against the second military man were still pending at year's end.

6. A white male, 49, was trying to turn his pickup truck into a driveway in a business section of Honolulu when he got into an argument with two males riding double on a mo-ped. The truck driver directed anti-homosexual epithets against the mo-ped riders and smacked one of them on the back of the helmet. He was charged with third-degree assault, but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of harassment and was sentenced to six months' probation.

Honolulu Advertiser, March 23, 2007, Letters to editor


I found your March 16 article on the Waikele beating to be most enlightening, especially as it pertains to the attorney's statement that the military wife, not the teen, threw the first punch.

Wow! She must have been the size of an 800-pound gorilla to think she could win a fistfight; and yet, she came out of it with a broken nose, concussion and facial fractures.

I'm curious: How big are the father and son and what injuries, if any, did they suffer?

Gwen Heliker

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 23, 2007, EDITORIAL

Prosecutor wisely passes on hate crimes

The state attorney general has identified six criminal cases last year as having characteristics of hate crimes.

WHEN the Legislature enacted the state's hate-crime law six years ago, state Public Defender Jack Tonaki warned that it would unfairly punish those who "in the heat of the moment" utter slurs that do not constitute motivation for the crime. Fortunately, prosecutors have declined to apply the law in such cases, the most recent being the beating of a military couple at Waikele Center during which an assailant called the soldier a "f--ing haole." Victims of crimes suffer regardless of motive.

"If someone kills me because I am a man, that would be a hate crime," City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle once explained, "but if someone kills me because I am an obnoxious neighbor, it is not a hate crime, but I, as the victim, would have a hard time telling the difference."

Of six cases last year in which bias played a role, only two were "classic" hate crimes, according to a state attorney general's report, and prosecutors even then did not seek stiffer sentencing provided by the law. Those involved a Hawaiian who shouted anti-white epithets before attacking a white male, and two military assailants who, according to their slurs, mistook their victims as Arab and Muslim.

One case involved a "neighborhood bully" who used anti-white, anti-Japanese and anti-homosexual epithets in threats to kill his Ahuimanu neighbors. He was convicted of terroristic threatening and was sentenced to a maximum five-year prison term without use of the hate-crime law. The other four cases might have involved "mentally impaired offenders," according to the report.

The law covers crimes motivated by a victim's race, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin, sex or sexual orientation. Federal law allows prosecution of violent crimes motivated by a victim's race, religion or national origin, and Congress is considering the addition of sex, sexual orientation and disability. That would amount to meddling further into an area that states should have avoided in the first place.

Honolulu Advertiser, March 30, 2007, Letters to editor


I must extend an apology to the tourists who were in the vicinity of my vehicle last weekend. The people in the truck that tried to cut me off near Sand Island Road probably didn't make a very good impression of our island paradise as they used an obscene gesture.

I also apologize for their ignorant remarks — "Go back to where you came from, you f------ haole" certainly doesn't embody my idea of the aloha spirit.

I just hope that your small children were not able to hear or see this ridiculous display as mine did.

With all the exposure that road rage and violence have gotten in the news lately, I guess some people just don't get it. And for that I apologize.

Please do not let this childish and rude display taint your image of the residents of Hawai'i.

Greg Smith

Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, April 1, 2007

Waikele story is one where no one wins

By Mark Platte
Advertiser Editor

There's been no shortage of reaction to our stories on the Waikele beating, almost all of it negative.

The allegation that Gerald Pa'akaula, 45, and his 16-year-old son assaulted an Army soldier and his wife in the Waikele Shopping Center parking lot has brought many angry calls and letters to The Advertiser, but not in the volume that hit us after our March 16 article that, for the first time, told the Pa'akaulas' version of events.

The headline ("I pray ... they know we are very sorry") and the story, with a picture of the smiling couple brought a torrent of calls, e-mails, letters to the editor and posts to our Web site. Most of them could never be printed in a family newspaper, but the general tone was that we were wrong to print their side of the story.

We received more than a dozen letters, but only three were able to be published. Most were personal attacks on the Pa'akaulas, and the rest criticized the prominent placement of the story at the top of Page One, noted that the story was too sympathetic to the family or faulted us for using a picture of the couple.

I have come to the conclusion that this is one story where we cannot win. We were criticized for being slow to move on the story when it initially happened. We were faulted for not providing even more details in the seven stories we did write. And we were hammered for printing the Pa'akaula story.

What was perplexing about the reaction to the Pa'akaula piece is that it was the first time that the other side of the story had been told. Until this story appeared, we had to rely on the details of a police affidavit used to support the arrest of Pa'akaula and his son. That's where the inflammatory information surfaced that the son called Andrew Dussell a "f------ haole." Until this story appeared, it could be argued that media coverage unfairly maligned the Pa'akaulas because their side was never told.

It was not for lack of trying. Since the incident was first reported, we have been trying repeatedly to get the Pa'akaulas and the Dussells without luck. Both families have refused comment.

Longtime courts reporter Ken Kobayashi knew it was essential to figure out what had happened, and on the day Pa'akaula was indicted, Kobayashi managed to talk to Pa'akaula's wife, Joreen, in front of her husband. Their lawyer, Todd Eddins, was also present.

"In a high-profile case like this, fairness requires that we make diligent attempts to get all sides of the story, including the Pa'akaulas' viewpoint," Kobayashi said.

In his story, the reporter quoted Joreen as apologizing to the Dussells and praying they would heal quickly. She also admitted her son used the word "haole," Eddins agreed, though he argued that it was taken out of context. Eddins also said Dawn Dussell threw the first blow and repeatedly struck the teenager.

Kobayashi also reported that the prosecutor asked for, and received, a higher bail amount for Pa'akaula because of his 2002 conviction for beating his son. The prosecutor also said Pa'akaula made threatening remarks to witnesses who stayed behind to talk to police after the incident. He allegedly punched Dawn Dussell in the face and slammed her to the ground, where she lost consciousness. He also allegedly punched Andrew Dussell in the face and head and kicked him while he was on the ground, the prosecutor said. Dussell lost consciousness after his body stiffened and he appeared to go into convulsions.

Several readers called Kobayashi or e-mailed him. A couple said they were canceling their subscription or wouldn't be buying the newspaper in the future. I spoke to one woman who said the article was one-sided and that there was no attempt to get the Dussells' side. I told her that we had tried reaching the couple through the prosecutors' office, but they had declined to be interviewed. We also sought them out on the day they testified before the grand jury but were unsuccessful. She still was not satisfied with what she called "irresponsible journalism."

Kobayashi is scrupulously fair, and as he correctly points out, readers do not have a full picture of what happened in Waikele that day.

"There's been no preliminary hearing," Kobayashi said. "No public trial. No sworn written statements by witnesses. Simply an affidavit by police on probable cause. I told callers they are entitled to their opinions, but don't they feel more informed now that they know what Pa'akaula's position is?"

I got the feeling that most of those who complained had already made up their minds about the Pa'akaula family and are uninterested in hearing from them. Some of the calls and e-mails had a racist tinge, such as the man who was asked by Kobayashi why he believed the position of the prosecutors and police over the defendants?

"You know that Hawaiians like to settle disputes by fighting," he said.

I wouldn't judge everyone who complained by this one individual, but it's clear that many weren't looking to give the accused a fair trial. They had already rendered their verdict.

Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, April 1, 2007

What happened in Waikele?

By Virginia E. Hench

What happened in Waikele? We know that two families came to blows after a parking lot collision, that a husband and wife were severely injured, and that a father and his minor son have been charged with assault. The son's case is in Family Court because of his youth. But what happened? Was it road rage or hate crime?

The investigation is not complete, and there are differing accounts of what happened, and in what sequence. The prosecutor has made at least a preliminary determination that this was not a hate crime. I agree.

If the facts have been reported accurately, this was not a hate crime under Hawai'i law.

A small but vocal faction has raised an outcry, demanding that the prosecutor amend the charge to a hate-crime designation, which would have the effect of doubling the maximum potential sentence (in this case, five years for second-degree assault). A lot of this outcry is, I think, based on a misinterpretation of what a hate crime is — or as Will Rogers said, on "things we know ... that ain't so." The resulting public debate has generated a lot of heat but not so much light.

As a professor of criminal law and procedure and civil rights at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa's William S. Richardson School of Law, I can shed a little light on this topic by explaining what is and what is not a hate crime under Hawai'i law.

First you must ask: "What are the facts?"

If reported accounts are accurate, the facts seem to be that a husband and wife in an SUV tried to pull into a parking stall in the Waikele Shopping Center near Baskin-Robbins, and in the process, hit or scraped the vehicle in the next stall. Sitting in the damaged vehicle was the minor, now charged in Family Court, who was waiting for his father to return from Baskin-Robbins. An affidavit filed with the court reported that the son was "enraged at the damage to his (father's) vehicle." The boy came out of his vehicle, allegedly started kicking the SUV's doors, and witnesses said the boy yelled "f------ haole" in the process.

While there are differing reports on the sequence and details of the events, the husband and wife got out of the SUV, the boy's father emerged from Baskin-Robbins, and in the free-for-all that followed, the SUV's owners suffered severe injuries, which triggered the assault charges.

So — why wouldn't the racial name-calling trigger a hate-crime charge? The answer is that the hate-crime law is all about motive, not just name-calling. To understand how the law applies, we have to look first at what it says.

A "hate crime," under Hawai'i law, is "any criminal act in which the perpetrator intentionally selected a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that was the object of a crime, because of hostility toward the actual or perceived race, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation of any person."

In other words, a crime is not a hate crime unless the person doing the crime intentionally selects a victim, (or their property) "because of hostility toward the actual or perceived race," or other enumerated qualities. Name-calling, standing alone, doesn't transform an assault into a hate crime.

In the Waikele incident, no one was "selected." Based on the reported facts, the SUV's driver randomly chose a parking stall, and accidentally damaged the vehicle that happened to be in the next stall. Random. A boy who happened to be in the struck vehicle was enraged by the damage to his family's vehicle, and the tragedy exploded from there.

A hate crime is not about thinking (or speaking) ugly thoughts while committing a crime. It is about the motive for the crime, or in a sense, about using the crime itself to send a message or intimidate the targeted group, not just the targeted individuals. Pogroms, lynchings, the bombing of a Birmingham church, an attack on haole campers on the Big Island — all of these were hate crimes because the hate was the reason for the crime. It was not just expressed incidentally during the commission of a differently motivated crime.

It is not enough to speculate that "maybe" the parking lot incident would not have turned violent had the parties been of the same race. There are abundant examples of traffic incidents turning violent between people of the same racial (or other) background. To sustain a hate-crime charge under the law, the prosecution would have to show proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the SUV drivers' race was the reason for the rage.

Can anyone seriously suggest that father and son were on the lookout for people of another race to attack? Or that the attack was part of a racist effort to stop Caucasians from using Waikele Shopping Center? No — this encounter was random. Extreme, but random.

Hate crimes, like other crimes, do occur in Hawai'i, and the state Attorney General's Office keeps track of the numbers, the facts and the nature of the crimes. Sadly, all groups have been targeted at one time or another. Hawai'i is not paradise. Hawai'i is a real place, with real people, who sometimes commit real crimes. Real people who sometimes hate other people. Real people who occasionally commit hate crimes. That does not make every hateful crime a hate crime.

Yes, we have a race problem: the human race. Anywhere you find humans, you find bias and bigotry to a greater or lesser degree. Assault is a crime. Expressing bigotry through name-calling is hateful, and harmful, but standing alone, it does not turn a random act of violence into a hate crime.

"It ain't the things we don't know that hurt us, it's the things we know ... that ain't so." — Will Rogers

Hawai'i law based on motive: If reported facts are true, race did not trigger defendants' rage in parking lot incident — it was a random act of violence

Virginia E. Hench is a professor of criminal law and procedure at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai'i. She is the author of numerous legal articles and co-author of the book "Criminal Law, Cases and Materials." She wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.

Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, April 4, 2007
VOLCANIC ASH (regular column by Dave Shapiro)

No respect here for judgments based on race

By David Shapiro

Soon after I transferred into Hilo High from Los Angeles, the teacher was called out of the room and another student came to my seat and launched a barrage of pidgin at me that I understood little of except for "f------ haole."

It didn't particularly bother me; where I'd come from, I was used to being called a "f------ Jew," or worse, and I'd developed a pretty thick skin. At least in Hilo, those who knew what a Jew was didn't seem to care.

Like anybody else, I view the utterance of a racial slur in the vicious beating of a military couple in Waikele by a father and son through the lens of my own experiences.

I'm struck by the raw nerves exposed as the furor still rages well over a month after the fact, with two articles discussing the matter in this Sunday's newspaper.

The wide range of opinion is fascinating, from legalistic dissertations to passionate emotionalism.

Among Caucasians, some want to make a federal case of it, particularly those who exploit racial discord to fight against Native Hawaiian political rights in Washington. It's hard to take seriously haoles who think name-calling against them compares to apartheid in South Africa or the oppression of American blacks held in slavery.

On the other extreme, Caucasians who aspire to blend in with the local culture meekly shrug off racial insults as the price of getting by. Should they have to?

Reaction among locals ranges from a sense that haoles are overly sensitive and "ask for it," to a more benign view that, "Yeah, racial slurs are deplorable, but there are about 10,000 things in the world I find more deplorable."

That would be fair, except if a Caucasian uttered a racial epithet at a member of another ethnic group accompanied by that particular adjective, it would fly up the list of deplorable things.

To me, it's a very personal matter that has more to do with how I treat others than how they treat me.

I love Hawai'i's ethnic diversity and consider it worthy of celebration. I enjoy good-natured racial ribbing and self-effacing humor practiced by artists like Frank DeLima.

But any racial slurs intended to be hurtful are unacceptable to me, especially when they affect kids who suffer enough angst growing up without having to deal with ugly prejudice. Racial antagonism that results in people being beaten unconscious needs the sternest attention of the law.

I was raised in a family of Jewish immigrants forced out of Russia, Germany and Poland. My grandparents and parents worked jobs like horn players, hairdressers, taxi drivers, hotel maids and nannies to the babies of the rich. My family never oppressed anybody.

We were occasionally targets of racial and religious bile, but our ethic was that we learned from the hurt and never directed offensive racial remarks at others.

My grandmother's lectures on tolerance and respect, especially, took with me. As a young boy, I gave a severe tongue lashing to an adult relative who referred to Chinese food with a racially insensitive term. I went to the mat with a union leader who directed a racial slur at one of my supervisors (not a Caucasian). I took one of my favorite nephews to the woodshed for making a jungle reference about a black athlete.

My bottom line is that people who have nothing better going than to judge themselves and others by race and other superficial circumstances of birth have proven to be some of the biggest losers I've known.

Those who can't see the individual beyond stereotypes and generalizations seldom command my attention, and never my respect.

Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, April 6, 2007, Letters to the Editor


Virginia Hench's analysis of hate crimes (Focus, April 1) does not address "intervening cause."

The accident was random. The severity of the beating was not. There was an intervening cause motivating the severity of the beating: racial hatred.

We should not accept racial bigotry and violence, a sad part of our reality here in Hawai'i, as Hench suggests.

We will never effectively address violence in Hawai'i if we remain in denial about its underpinnings: racial bigotry, sexism, heterosexism, etc. Each of us must eliminate our prejudices and conform our behavior to the law.

I also want to respond to an earlier letter that whites should not be offended at the term "haole." I take no offense to "haole," it is the "f------" that so often precedes it to which I take exception.

Jo-Ann M. Adams, Esq.


The important issue illustrated by the incident in Waikele is not whether it was a hate crime, but the perception by persons of European descent that they are all a minor incident away from having someone screaming "f------ haole" at them, or worse.

Asian and Polynesian roots are celebrated; European roots are tolerated at best.

Martin Luther King Jr. said that individuals should be judged on their character, and that still seems like a good idea to me.

T.A. Miller

Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, April 12, 2007

Son gets year in Waikele beating

By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer

A 16-year-old boy has been ordered to serve a year at the youth prison for his role in the controversial Waikele beating case. The youth also was ordered by Family Court District Judge Jennifer Ching to perform 100 hours of community service, pay the state for his anger management classes and write a letter of apology to an Army man and his wife injured in the Feb. 19 incident.

The finding was handed down after a trial Tuesday in confidential Family Court proceedings in which Ching found that the teenager violated the second-degree assault law. City prosecutors had asked that the teenager be sent to the Hawai'i Youth Correctional Facility in Kailua until he turned 19. The one-year prison term took into account the youth's admission that he stole a bag on the beach from a tourist about a year ago.

The teen's lawyer, Jeffrey Hawk, had asked that the boy be placed on probation. The boy's aunt, Leina'ala Baker, who was appointed by the judge as the boy's guardian because his mother was a witness in the case and could not sit in on the proceedings, criticized the judge's findings and said he should have gotten probation.

"They threw the book at him," Baker said. "They made him into a monster."

Jim Fulton, executive assistant at the city prosecutor's office, said he cannot comment because the case is being handled in confidential Family Court proceedings.

Andrew and Dawn Dussell, the couple beaten in the Waikele Shopping Center parking lot, could not be reached for comment.

Hawk declined to comment on the reaction of his client to the case, but Todd Eddins, attorney for the father, said the parents are "devastated that their child is going to be locked up for a long period of time."

If convicted of second-degree assault in adult court, a defendant could face up to five years in prison.

Dussell, 26, who served two Army tours in Iraq, and his wife Dawn, 23, a Hawai'i Pacific University student, were assaulted in the Waikele parking lot after the Dussells' SUV scraped the Pa'akaulas' parked car, according to police. The teenager's father, Gerald Pa'akaula, was charged with assaulting the couple. His son was charged with assaulting Andrew Dussell.


In an earlier hearing involving Gerald Pa'akaula, prosecutors said the father punched Dawn Dussell in the face and slammed her to ground. He also punched the husband in the face and head and kicked him when he was down, according to prosecutors. His son also kicked Andrew Dussell when he was on the ground, prosecutors have said.

Both of the Dussells lost consciousness with Andrew Dussell getting a tooth knocked out and appearing to go into convulsions, prosecutors said.

The boy has been in custody since his arrest the day of the assault but will not get credit for his seven weeks in custody. His one-year term starts this week.

The youth was charged in Family Court with assaulting Andrew Dussell, while the father is awaiting trial on charges of assaulting both Dussells. Pa'akaula's trial date is scheduled for May 29.

The case drew widespread attention because the youth was accused of calling Andrew Dussell a "f------ haole" before the assault took place.

City prosecutors declined to file hate crime charges, saying the assaults were a road rage case that did not fit under the state's hate crime law that covers assailants targeting victims based on race or ethnicity.

Baker, 38, a Wai'anae resident and a supervisor of sales for a food distribution company, said she was speaking out because the incident has been mischaracterized as pitting Hawaiians against Caucasians. She said both the father and her nephew are part Caucasian.

Her nephew was upset because the Pa'akalulas' car was scraped by the Dussells' vehicle as it drove into a parking stall, and again as the Dussells pulled into reverse, Baker said. She said that when her nephew approached the Dussells to ask what they were doing, they started laughing at him. The nephew thought that the SUV was going to leave, Baker said. That's when words were exchanged and the boy uttered the "haole" remark, she said.

"This is not their characteristic," she said of assertions that the family is racist. "They're a loving and caring, tight family who would never do this, unless provoked."


Baker said the altercation occurred after Dawn Dussell hit the youth.

The Dussells had not only their 3-year-old child with them, but they were accompanied that day by Andrew Dussell's friend, another Army man, Baker said.

She said her nephew was only trying to protect his father, who was being held by a passerby. The boy thought Andrew Dussell was getting up when the teenager kicked him in the face, she said.

Baker, who said the boy was remorseful and apologized, believes probation for the single kick would have been more appropriate.

The boy's mother, Joreen, who was at the scene, earlier acknowledged that her son made the "haole" remark and said he regrets it.

Juvenile court proceedings do not have terms such as guilt as in adult courts. Rather, the minors are found to have violated laws.


Here are some comments posted by the public in the "Story Chat" accompanying the online version of the February 24 Honolulu Advertiser news article. There were probably more than 200 comments published from late February through late March.


This illustrates the need for concealed handgun permits in this state. Should anyone try that kind of crap against myself or my family, the consequences would be immediate and severe. Hawaii is a horribly irrational place, and I arm myself to protect against the madness of the masses found here.


I am amazed at the total lack of regard in Hawaii. I have visited there many times and I always wondered why the people had to tell me that they are 1/3 this, 1/2 that and a 1/4 of something else.... why is that necessary? Why can't you be taken at face value, that value being a human being. We all bleed "red", does that not make all of us humans with souls and other place have I experienced this and actually WHO CARES. On another note all the ads say Welcome to Hawaii, the Land of Aloha...but look under the covers.. Hawaii is NOT the land of aloha, that is only used to lure people, especially Japanese who spend lots of money and try to dance your hula, to these islands -- full of racist attitudes. Is it not true that you also have a "nickname" for people of African descent.... popoli or something like that. Yes, it all looks wonderful, peaceful, beautiful ocean, great looking ads.. but peel back the undercoating and there is very little aloha, no, but a hotbed of prejudice and racism. These poor people are getting beat up for the color of their skin, didn't this country already experience the same thing before the Civil Rights Bill? Look into your history, did not your Queens, some of them marry Caucasian men...your Queen Lili'uokalani had a white husband, did she not? What about the Bishop Museum.... wasn't Mrs. Bishop's husband a white white people didn't take all your land away, they married your women and inherited it, had half white children with them and look at your Kamehameha schools....most of them walking the halls look white. Get over it Hawaii and learn how to live in a world where there are people of all colors......... Now wouldn't that be something if Barack Obama, who grew up in Hawaii and experienced racism from it's rainbow people, became the President of the United States... you would then be saying that he is a ka'maina or whatever the hell you call a child of the land. It's time for you to look at yourselves because for sure, the world is looking at you and putting their money back in their pockets and going to the Bahamas!


This act is very heinous and just punishment should be handed out to these THREE individuals! I thought earlier reports said that when Mr. Pakaula came out of the ice cream parlor, his wife told him that the woman attacked her. His wife should be prosecuted for helping to provoke what took place.


I had a similar incident happen to me a few weeks ago while in Mililani. I was even called a F****** Haole (I’m Hawaiian Portuguese).

A man (who was driving drunk) and his son decided to get out of their cars in the middle of Kam Highway and approach my car because I shook my head at the fool who was throwing bottles from his car while driving. However in my incident these self proclaimed Hawaiians regretted getting out of their vehicles.

What sickens me is that they stood their pounding their chest (after the police came) screaming about Haoles not being welcomed in Hawaii. These people are an embarrassment to our state and culture and represent nothing but the bottom dwellers that seem to be multiplying at an alarming rate in our state that was once a melting pot made up of proud people who had respect for our community as well as themselves.

Without knowing the details of what happened and not being there myself I cannot pass judgment on the Paakaulas, however I will say that any man who would attack a woman or allow his son to assault one either verbally or physically is an embarrassment to the Hawaiian people and it saddens me to see that he carries a Hawaiian last name.

Now what would have been settled by two insurance companies at no cost to Mr. Paakaula is going to cost him thousands of dollars and has put another scar on the face of Hawaiians everywhere.


How could this type of attack not be categorized as hate crime? These two people viciously attacked 2 other humans that they considered "others" or "them" after working themselves into a rage over the haole's hit the car- attacking a woman in front of her child? Would these people have been attacked so viciously if they were the same race as the attackers? this is not just a push or a shove - this is a vicious attack with hate from something far beyond the fender bender


A a brutal beating by a group of thugs using obscenities and racial epithets is NOT a hate crime? Only in Hawaii. Only when a haole is the victim. Aloha.


Hey, this is just the beginning. The rage of losing our Queen is just now coming out and it's about time. If the Haoles don't want this to happen to them they need to go back where they came from. If the Akaka Bill doesn't pass this year then Akua help all you haoles you're gonna see some serious ass kicking everywhere.


"Hey, this is just the beginning. The rage of losing our Queen is just now coming out and it's about time. If the Haoles don't want this to happen to them they need to go back where they came from. If the Akaka Bill doesn't pass this year then Akua help all you haoles you're gonna see some serious ass kicking everywhere."

To the idiot wrote that: You are part of the problem.

Haole is a derrogatory term. Much like nigger is. The Akaka bill will not pass, as it is KAKA. Hawaiians deserve nothing. They did nothing but help Hawaii become a state. Don't blame caucasians cause of history, Hawaiians had a hand in it.

There is a lot of predjudice here in Hawaii. Wake up people. This needs to stop. The guy in the article was fortunate that Marines were not there.


The paakaula's are lucky they live in hawaii. They will probably get a very light slap in the back of the hand for doing this. Not because it was just road rage, but because they did it to some Haoles.

Just the fact that "THE LAW" will not file this as a hate crime should tell us something. I can just see "THE LAW" discusing this case. "They were just Haoles, what's the big deal" and "the Haole lady started it, if she didn't get out of the car, nothing would have happened". The people of hawaii should not be outraged or suprised that this happened. It happends everyday. Locals against Haole's, Chinks, Japs, Ni...., ect. Just wait, things will get worse. As for the post kalli sr. made. Stupid is as stupid does, or says. I'm suprised he even has a computer. Probably stolen.


Of course this was a racist hate crime. Anyone who looks white in Hawaii, and especially someone who has grown up here, knows this happens all the time.

It's the dirty little secret no one wants to talk about.

Hopefully the U.S. attorney will see fit to file hate crime charges against these people under the federal civil rights laws and they will be facing federal prison.

We need to send a message that violence against Caucasians cannot be condoned any more in Hawaii.

p.s. I'm a Native Hawaiian who gets mistaken for haole, so I've seen it plenty firsthand.


If the situation were reversed, and it was the caucasians who beat up on a local family, I'll bet it would have been classified as a hate crime.


This story makes me sick - sick enough to make a stink and try to do something about it.

I'm a fifth-generation local Chinese girl married to a haole - I always have to warn my husband about hate-filled Hawaiians (yes, there are quite a few). The Queen would be appalled and grief-stricken to know that her children have come to this. The REAL Hawaiians need to step up and show that they are not going to sit back and have people like Kalli Sr. and Paakaula define what being Hawaiian is (racist, bitter, stupid). I have a thread of Hawaiian blood and several cousins who went to Kamehameha, but I am utterly ashamed of being Hawaiian. A girl I once worked with (who went to Kamehameha and now teaches at the UH Center for Hawaiian Studies) told me to go back to China! Auwe! There is hate in Hawaii...these ignorant people like Kalli Sr. and Paakaula should read the paper. There was just an article the other day that said the Hawaiians might have originated from Asia!


The one ray of hope in the story of the brutal assault at Waikele Center was the 65 year old Hawaiian lady who said, "It's really sad to see. You would think that we, as Hawaiians, would have outgrown that." We need calming words like hers from the aunties and other respected Hawaiians; and firm words from the Prosecutor and the U.S. Attorney that such behavior is not pono and will be prosecuted swiftly and with the full force of the law.


Professor Van Dyke is no expert on criminal law, has apparently not investigated the facts and is certainly not impartial. His assertion that the brutal assault, “occurred primarily because of the car accident” is nothing more than the off-the-cuff, slanted view of a man who, with his wife, has made millions of our taxpayer dollars advocating entitlements and status for Hawaiians superior to those of all other citizens.

The public defender’s assertion, “The defense can say they blew up because of the circumstances (the car accident).” is similarly slanted. The defender’s duty, of course, is to defend the wrongdoers.

The duty of the Prosecutor and the U.S. Attorney, however, is to protect the public by vigorously prosecuting, to the full extent of the law, persons accused of crime under State and Federal law respectively.

It is surprising to read that the Prosecutor is thinking this “won't qualify as a hate crime" because "This guy wasn't sitting on the side of the road chasing victims down because they were white." Does that mean a Skinhead whose car is accidentally bumped by a non-Aryan is free to stomp and kick away without worrying about the Hate Crime law? The Prosecutor’s ambivalence is beginning to smell like the Reconstruction South when justice depended on your race. In Hawaii, no racial group, Hawaiian or any other, should be given a pass. The Paakaula’s, son, father and mother, are a public menace and should be prosecuted to the full

Kudos to U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo for having the FBI investigate. His respect for equal justice and the rule of law is just what Hawaii needs..


It is interesting to see that antagonism against haoles is still prevalent in Honolulu. I am a third generation island haole (born in Hilo) who grew up in the Islands and attended public schools in Honolulu in the 1940s and early 1950s. I faced this kind of invective almost everyday in junior high school (RLS) and high school (RHS). I was even dropped from my high school JV football them because, as the assisitant coach, who was Hawaiian, put it so succinctly, "The Coach don't want no f*** haoles on his team." Somebody in that family needs to learn that kind of behavior is reprehensible.


Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, September 14, 2007

Plea may change in assault at Hawaii mall

By Jim Dooley

The man charged with assaulting an Army couple this year at the Waikele Shopping Center will likely avoid a trial by changing his plea in court this morning.

Gerald D. Pa'akaula, 45, was charged with two counts of second-degree assault in the beating of Andrew Dussell and his wife, Dawn. A conviction of second-degree assault carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Pa'akaula had pleaded not guilty, but court officials said he will change that plea and avoid a trial.

The Feb. 19 incident in the shopping center parking lot began as a minor fender-bender that quickly escalated into an alleged assault with racial overtones after Pa'akaula's 16-year-old son allegedly called one of the Dussells a "f------ haole."

A range of pleas could be available to Pa'akaula under Hawai'i's criminal code. They include a plea of guilty as charged, guilty of reduced charges or a plea of no contest.

Pa'akaula is scheduled to change his plea in an 8:30 a.m. hearing before state Circuit Judge Steven Alm.

Defense and prosecution lawyers yesterday declined to discuss details of the plea change.

"I can't discuss it. It's not finalized," said Pa'akaula's lawyer, Todd Eddins. He said his client has been instructed not to speak publicly about the case.

James Fulton, spokesman for the Prosecuting Attorney's Office, also refused to comment on today's hearing or the terms of any plea agreement. "It's an ongoing case. We can't discuss it," Fulton said. The Dussells likewise could not comment because they are witnesses in a pending case, Fulton said.

Whatever today's outcome, it likely brings an end to the case.

While the boy's mother, Joreen, was at the scene, she was never charged with a crime.

The younger Pa'akaula was charged in Family Court and was earlier sentenced to a year in a youth detention facility.

In the incident, the Dussells' car struck Pa'akaula's parked vehicle. The elder Pa'akaula allegedly punched Andrew Dussell, 26, in the head and face and kicked him while he was on the ground. Pa'akaula also allegedly punched Dawn Dussell, 23, and slammed her to the ground. Injuries to the couple included broken noses, concussions and facial fractures.


Although some members of the community branded the incident a "hate crime," the prosecutor's office said the incident was motivated by "road rage" and not racial resentment.

"This thing happened because of a traffic accident," Deputy Prosecutor Franklin Pacarro Jr. said after an indictment was returned in the case.

Pa'akaula's wife, Joreen, said in March that her family deeply regretted the incident. "We're praying for them (the victims) every day, and so is my son," she said then, choking back tears. "I pray that they heal quickly and they know that we are very sorry that this has happened." She said her son was sorry he directed a racially charged phrase at the Dussells. "He wished he used another word or didn't even use the word (haole)," Joreen Pa'akaula said. The words were spoken out of frustration and anger by her son, she said.

Pa'akaula's lawyer, Eddins, said in March that the Pa'akaula family "does not have one bone of prejudice in them," adding that Gerald Pa'akaula is half Hawaiian and half Caucasian. "They certainly regret what has happened to the other family and is grateful the family is OK, but to suggest that there is anything racial about this family and this incident is totally at odds with what transpired that day."

Eddins said Dawn Dussell threw the first blow after she and the teenager exchanged heated words. "That doesn't necessarily excuse what later transpired, but it needs to be known that things did not start or get out of hand (because of) my client," Eddins said.


Pa'akaula, a truck driver, has been free on $50,000 bail while awaiting trial in the case.

Jonathan Okamura, an ethnic studies professor at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, said he's not sure a trial in the case would help ease any racial tensions that might exist in Hawai'i. "Even if it might have led to some discussions, (it's) not necessarily true that these kinds of issues get resolved through this kind of media publicity." For that to happen, he said, "it takes a much larger discussion ... about providing access to employment and educational opportunities for disadvantaged minorities like Hawaiians, Samoans and Filipinos. The resentment comes from the marginalization of those groups in Hawai'i."

Noel Kent, also a UH-Manoa ethnic studies professor, said it's hard to envision how the larger community would react to a trial, noting that it would likely depend on how the trial itself went. "It's hard to know how the trial would have played out," Kent said. "The trial may have been even more polarizing in some ways. It was very hard to unpackage what really went on with this assault."

Advertiser staff writer Gordon Pang contributed to this report.

Honolulu Advertiser, breaking news, Updated at 12:10 p.m., Friday, September 14, 2007

Waikele beating suspect pleads guilty to assault

By Peter Boylan

The man charged with assaulting an Army couple this year at Waikele Shopping Center pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault this morning. Gerald D. Pa'akaula, 45, was charged with two counts of second-degree assault in the beating of Andrew Dussell and his wife, Dawn.

By pleading guilty, Pa'akaula will be sentenced to five years in jail by Judge Steven S. Alm, but Alm and the city prosecutor will recommend that Pa'akaula serve two years.

Pa'akaula had pleaded not guilty, but he changed his plea to avoid a trial.

The Feb. 19 incident in the shopping center parking lot began as a minor fender-bender that quickly escalated into an alleged assault.

Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, September 15, 2007

Beaten Hawaii couple approved plea deal

By Peter Boylan

As Gerald D. Pa‘akaula consoled his wife, Joreen, after yesterday’s proceedings, attorney Todd Eddins addressed the media on the family’s behalf, saying that Pa‘akaula was taking responsibility of his actions.

Admitting that he assaulted an Army man and his wife during an altercation that began with a fender-bender at Waikele Shopping Center earlier this year, Gerald D. Pa'akaula agreed yesterday to serve five years in prison.

However, prosecutors — with the approval of the couple who were beaten — agreed to recommend to the Hawai'i paroling authority that Pa'akaula serve two years and then be released on parole.

Pa'akaula, 44, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault. Second-degree assault carries a five-year prison term. Third-degree assault is a misdemeanor.

Deputy city prosecutor Franklin Pacarro Jr. said he consulted with Andrew Dussell and his wife, Dawn, before offering the plea agreement and received their endorsement.

"He pleaded guilty, he wasn't forced, he's going to get a five-year jail sentence and the paroling authority will decide his fate," said Pacarro, speaking outside of court yesterday.

In a statement released through the city prosecutor's office yesterday, Andrew Dussell, an Army staff sergeant who served two tours of duty in Iraq, said: "I am very pleased with the outcome of this case. I want to thank the Hawai'i justice system for bringing a speedy end to this case.

"This has been a very emotional experience for my family and me. We now wish to move forward and put this incident behind us. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us through this difficult time. I wish to say that I know this incident is the result of a few individuals and is not indicative of the good people of Hawai'i."

A police affidavit filed in support of Pa'akaula's arrest states Andrew Dussell, 26 at the time of the assault, suffered facial fractures and a concussion from the beating. The affidavit stated Dawn Dussell, 23 at the time of the beating and a nursing student at Hawai'i Pacific University, suffered facial fractures, a wrist fracture and a concussion.

Yesterday Pacarro said the Dussells are fully recovered from their injuries.

Pa'akaula changed his original not-guilty plea to avoid "putting his family through the rigors of a trial and avoid putting the Dussells through the rigors of a trial," said his attorney, Todd Eddins.

"Today a humble, hard-working, shirt-off-his-back type guy decided to take responsibility for his actions. He acknowledged what he did was wrong," said Eddins, speaking outside of court while Pa'akaula and his wife, Joreen, stood behind him, embracing. "He hit each of the victims one time and he was unable to harness his emotions after seeing his wife bloodied on the ground."


The Pa'akaulas declined to answer questions after yesterday's proceedings. Joreen Pa'akaula said "thank you" before walking off with her husband.

Sentencing is set for 10:30 a.m. Dec. 2 before Judge Steven S. Alm.

The Feb. 19 incident in the shopping center parking lot began as a minor vehicle accident that quickly escalated.

Dussell's Dodge Durango accidentally hit Pa'akaula's green Chevrolet while attempting to pull into a parking stall next to it, according to the police affidavit.

Pa'akaula's juvenile son, "extremely angry that his vehicle had been struck," stepped out of the Chevy and began yelling obscenities toward Andrew Dussell, who was the driver, while kicking the driver-side door, according to the police affidavit. The police affidavit stated the son called Dussell a "f------ haole."

Dawn Dussell got out of the car, confronted the teen and attempted to push him away from the vehicle, the affidavit said. Joreen Pa'akaula then intervened and "initiated a physical altercation with" Dawn Dussell, it said. Joreen Pa'akaula was never charged with a crime. It was during this contact between the two women that Joreen Pa'akaula was "bloodied," according to Eddins. That information is not contained in the police affidavit.

Gerald Pa'akaula then punched Dawn Dussell in the face, picked her up and slammed her to the asphalt, the affidavit said. Andrew Dussell got out of the car and was punched in the throat by Gerald Pa'akaula, it said. Dussell fell to the ground, and while on the ground, he was kicked by Pa'akaula's son, it said.

The younger Pa'akaula was charged in Family Court and sentenced to a year in a youth detention facility.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 15, 2007

Beating case plea deal satisfies all
Prison time is likely for a man involved in the Waikele assault of a military couple

By Debra Barayuga

A plea agreement that averted a trial in the widely publicized Waikele beating of a military couple in February was in the best interests of all concerned, the parties say.

Gerald D. Paakaula, 44, of Waianae pleaded guilty yesterday in Circuit Court to recklessly causing bodily injury to Dawn Dussell and causing serious bodily injury to her husband, Staff Sgt. Andrew Dussell, by punching him in the head. The trial had been set for Monday.

"With his acceptance of responsibility today, it brings closure to this case, and that's what Gerald wanted," said defense attorney Todd Eddins.

Paakaula accepted the plea agreement to avoid having to put his family and the Dussells through a trial, said Eddins, who described his client as a "humble, hard-working, shirt-off-his-back" guy. Under the plea agreement, Paakaula pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and a reduced charge of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

The state carefully considered the evidence it could present at trial, conflicting witness statements and the victims' concerns in making the agreement, said Deputy Prosecutor Franklin Pacarro. "We believe the resolution is in the interest of the people of the state of Hawaii."

The Dussells endorsed the decision, Pacarro said.

In a written statement, Sgt. Dussell said he was pleased with the outcome of the case and thanked the Hawaii justice system, for bringing a speedy end to the case, and everyone who has supported them. "This has been a very emotional experience for my family and I," he wrote. "I wish to say that I know this incident is the result of a few individuals and is not indicative of the good people of Hawaii."

According to witnesses, the Dussells were pulling into a parking space at Waikele Center when their Dodge Durango struck the Paakaulas' Chevy in an adjacent stall. Paakaula's 16-year-old son, Alika, got out and began screaming at Dussell, 26, who was driving, calling him a "f---- haole."

From the beginning, prosecutors did not characterize the case as a hate crime because the fender bender was what precipitated the violence, not the racial slurs. But Dussell's wife, Dawn, objected to the way the teen was addressing her husband and, according to witnesses, got out and tried to push the teen away from her husband, who remained seated in the car, prosecutors said.

The teenage Paakaula is 6 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds. Dawn Dussell is 5-foot-3, 125 pounds.

The defense maintains that Dawn Dussell provoked the confrontation. "We're not excusing what later transpired," Eddins said, contending that the incident escalated through the actions of both the Paakaulas and the Dussells.

In her written statement, Gerald Paakaula's wife, Joreen, said that after she inspected her car and noted a long scratch, she tried to calm down her son, telling him the damage was not bad. But her son continued yelling at the driver, and that was when Dawn Dussell yelled out, "Don't talk to my husband like that," and exited the SUV.

Paakaula told police Dussell "punched" her son and would have punched him a second time had she not grabbed Dussell's hair.

Paakaula, who is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs more than 240 pounds, said Dussell then punched her in the jaw, causing her to fall back with Dussell's hair stuck in her nail.

She said as they wrestled on the ground, she heard her husband come out of Baskin-Robbins saying, "What the hell is going on?"

Paakaula said her husband "hit and shoved" Dawn Dussell to the side and then "punched the driver of the Durango," Sgt. Dussell, who was walking toward them.

The defense said Gerald Paakaula's reaction when he came upon the scene was to protect his family. "He hit each victim only once and was unable to harness his emotions. He should have handled things in a different way," Eddins said.

The defense disputes three witness reports that Paakaula slammed or threw Dawn Dussell to the ground.

Witness Veronica Fajardo, who parked her car one stall over from the Dussells, said Dawn Dussell landed under her parked Toyota and "lost consciousness for about 10 seconds or so."

Sgt. Dussell went down after he was hit, and witnesses said the Paakaulas' son kicked him as he lay on the pavement. Dussell began bleeding at the mouth and aspirating blood with each breath. Soon he began having a seizure. Paramedics arrived to find bystanders trying to assist him.

After the couple was examined at the hospital, doctors concluded that Dussell suffered a fractured eye socket and concussion. He also lost a front tooth from being kicked.

Circuit Judge Steve Alms said he was inclined to accept the plea agreement when Paakaula is sentenced Dec. 2. He faces a maximum five years in prison. Paakaula also was ordered to write a letter of apology to the Dussells.

The state is expected to ask the Hawaii Paroling Authority to order that Paakaula serve at least two years before he can be considered for release.

Because of his age, Alika Paakaula, the teen, was prosecuted in private proceedings in Family Court.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 4, 2007

Waikele beating nets 5-year term
A man will be sent to prison for his role in a parking lot fight

By Debra Barayuga

A Waianae truck driver was sentenced to five years in prison for an assault with racial overtones on a military couple at Waikele Center that made national news earlier this year.

Gerald D. Paakaula, 44, admitted in Circuit Court in September just before trial to recklessly causing serious bodily injury to Staff Sgt. Andrew Dussell, 26, and causing bodily injury to Dussell's wife, Dawn, 23.

The altercation began as a fender-bender Feb. 19 when Andrew Dussell accidentally struck Paakaula's parked car as he tried to pull into an adjacent parking stall.

The case took on a racial slant because Paakaula's son screamed at Dussell, calling him a "f---- haole" several times, and Paakaula himself used the same expression later. But prosecutors said the accident was what precipitated the assault, and did not classify the case as a hate crime.

Circuit Judge Steven Alm accepted the plea agreement yesterday, which called for Paakaula to plead guilty to second-degree assault and a reduced charge of third-degree assault and agree to the five-year term.

Alm acknowledged Paakaula's acceptance of responsibility and the numerous letters of support the court received from Paakaula's family, friends, co-workers and members of their church and the community. But he said the case has been "troubling" from the start.

The letters describe Paakaula as a kind, considerate, humble, "shirt off his back" kind of person known for helping anyone in need, Alm said. "But we're complicated people, and there is another side to you -- and it's a violent side."

Paakaula had appeared before him back in 2002 and pleaded guilty to beating his 11-year-old son repeatedly with a belt and punching him in the head for misbehaving in school.

The boy suffered bruises and swelling to his face, arms and back. Paakaula was sentenced to two weeks in jail, which he served on consecutive weekends.

The Waikele attack elicited emotional responses from residents and nonlocals, some of whom denounced the Paakaulas' actions.

The letters from friends and family appeared to view Paakaula as the "victim" in this incident and that he was justified in his actions, Alm said.

But they need to understand that Paakaula took responsibility for attacking the couple and that he was guilty of the assault, Alm said.

Alm told Paakaula that when he saw his wife on the ground in a tussle with Dawn Dussell, "You had a choice," adding, "Given your size and presence, you could have stopped it right there. You could have frozen the scene and sorted it out."

Instead, Paakaula chose to hit Dussell, a woman half his size, and throw her to the ground before hitting her husband, Alm said.

Paakaula's son, now 17, who emerged from their car and yelled at Dussell for hitting them, also kicked Dussell in the head as he lay on the ground, according to witnesses.

"There is no excuse for that," Alm said.

Dawn Dussell suffered a nose cartilage injury but no fractures. Andrew Dussell was knocked unconscious and suffered a fractured eye socket and concussion. He also lost a front tooth. He has no recollection of what happened.

As a parent, Paakaula bears some responsibility for his son's actions as well as his racial comments, Alm added. While Paakaula's son wrote a letter to the court saying he loved his father and looked up to him as a role model, "What he saw you do that day -- hit a woman, and one-half your size -- sends a terrible message about violence."

While Paakaula's family will suffer hardship while he is in jail, "their hardship is because of your actions," Alm said.

The defense contended it was Dawn Dussell who precipitated the violence when she pushed the Paakaulas' son away from her husband. Dawn Dussell was telling the teen to leave her husband alone and was objecting to his obscenities. Joreen Paakaula jumped in to defend her son and was tussling with Dawn Dussell when Gerald Paakaula appeared on the scene.

Paakaula gave a brief statement yesterday, saying he promised to redeem himself and become a better person.

Defense attorney Todd Eddins said Paakaula is not proud of what happened and hopes the Dussells will forgive him.

At the time, Paakaula was unable to control his emotions after walking out of the store with ice cream cones for his family only to see his wife, her lip bloody, sprawled on the ground with Dawn Dussell, Eddins said. Paakaula felt he needed to protect himself and his family, and he "recklessly" reacted. "He hit each victim once and knows he hurt them," Eddins said.

Paakaula's son was adjudicated in Family Court for his participation in the assault and is serving a year at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Center in Kailua, where his parents visit. "They're trying to make a bad situation good," Eddins said.

The Dussells, who have declined to attend any of Paakaula's court hearings, are relieved that the matter was resolved quickly. They want to stay and live here and just want to move on with their lives, said Deputy Prosecutor Franklin Pacarro.

The couple submitted a statement to the court about how they were affected by the incident, and Alm noted that they remain afraid in parking situations and likely will suffer future psychological repercussions. The couple's son, then 3, was seated in the car during the assault.

Joreen Paakaula left the courtroom in tears, flanked by family and friends after her husband was taken into custody. She declined comment.

The state is expected to recommend a two-year minimum term to the Hawaii Paroling Authority.


Charles Memminger writes a regular humor column for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. On Sunday December 23, 2007 his column was devoted to multiple-choice offerings of lyrics for popular Christmas songs. It was entitled "O isthmus fleas, o isthmus fleas." See:

Memminger's item #3 was the following:

3. Deck the halls with: a) bowels of haoles b) balls of folly c) jowels of Wally d) boughs of holly

Among all the spoof songs offered, the newspaper editors selected #3(a) to be the subject of a large cartoon by Dave Swann which occupied about a half page of space. Perhaps the brutal attack at Waikele, and other anti-haole hate crimes, have become such an integral and widely acknowledged part of Hawaii's culture that it now seems quite appropriate to create a cartoon which the newspaper's editors imagine will be seen as legitimate humor. Is this really funny? Would any mainstream newspaper in America publish a cartoon showing African-Americans sitting under a tree with nooses dangling from the branches?

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 27, 2007
Letters to the Editor

It's wrong to joke about racial violence

The "Deck the Halls with Bowels of Haoles" cartoon that accompanied Charles Memminger's Dec. 23 "Honolulu Lite" column was outrageous beyond words.

With interracial tensions here increasing noticeably, the last thing we need is a supposedly serious newspaper making a joke of racial violence.

Tom Macdonald

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 6, 2007

Honolulu Lite
Charles Memminger

‘Haole’ is NOT a 4-letter word

Amazing how what I perceived would be a warm, fuzzy and possibly funny Christmas Honolulu Lite column managed to irk more people than actor Will Smith saying Hitler probably wasn't born evil.

The column was simply a quiz to see if readers knew the key lines to various Christmas carols. Like, "Don we now: A) our cousin Darrell B) a gray sombrero C) a baby squirrel or D) our gay apparel. OK. It's not quite as difficult as "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" but I thought people would have fun with it. Apparently many did until they came across this item: Deck the halls with: A) bowels of haoles B) balls of folly C) jowels of Wally or D) boughs of holly.

That is when the holly, or at least the haole, hit the fan. In several letters and e-mails I was accused of encouraging violence against Caucasians and using offensive racist language. One outraged reader said he considered the term "haole" the same as the N-word, which is absurd.

This guy, like most of the letter writers, weren't brought up in Hawaii and didn't understand that A) haole is not an offensive racial term but a Hawaiian word for Caucasian and B) ethnic humor has been part of island culture for generations. I pointed out that ethnic humor has been the back bone, or at least funny bone, for comedians like Andy Bumatai and Frank DeLima forever.

"Ethnic humor is nothing more than racist hate speech disguised as humor," one of the more excitable correspondents wrote me. He added: "Maybe that's why Andy doesn't do it anymore."

Andy got a good laugh when I told him that. He doesn't do ethnic humor anymore? Andy Bumatai? The guy who says, "My dad was Filipino-Hawaiian ... he liked to work in the yard but he didn't have any land." Andy? Who posed next to a swimming pool sign that said, "No flips in pool" doesn't do ethnic humor?

"The trouble with these kind of people," Andy said, "is they say, 'That's not funny.' They don't say 'I don't think that's not funny.' "

That's a good point. Not to mention these self-appointed deciders of what is funny often seem to have no humor lobes in their brain cavities.

But there is an ongoing debate over whether the term "haole" is a racist term. I often point out that haole isn't racist or hate speech unless it's preceded by a modifier, like the "F-word." Just about any word becomes hate speech in that case: "f-ing haole ... kanaka, ... pake ... etc." Kanaka, pake, haole ... these aren't insulting terms, they are Hawaiian words that mean Hawaiian, Chinese and Caucasian.

The angry gentleman quoted above also thought the phrase "deck the halls with bowels of haoles" was encouraging violence against white people. I pointed out, maybe the bowels were donated. (OK, bad joke.)

"How about a punch line that says, "Deck the halls with bowels of kanakas?" angry man wrote.

I'll let Bumatai -- professional comedian and self-admitted kanaka -- answer this one: "Because it DOESN'T RHYME!"


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(c) Copyright 2007 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved