Seeing as I’m haole, I sometimes feel threatened by locals who feel a sort of entitlement to Hawaii. The locals I’m referring to tend to be at least of 1 percent Hawaiian blood. If they are women, we call them titas. If men, they are labeled as mokes. Both of these words have negative connotations and bring to mind images of fierce, burly women and men. Of course, they’re not always burly but they are most definitely always fierce. Titas and mokes alike have reputations of being nasty towards people they do not approve of; almost always the most hated upon are the haole people. Titas generally take on perceived masculine qualities, such as the use of intimidation and forcefulness to more or less run the islands. The same goes for mokes. Sometimes they are still enraged at the white men who forced the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and pushed the annexation of Hawaii to the United States in 1897.
What’s the next best thing to taking out Lorrin Thurston himself? Hating on the many haole that live in Hawaii today. Even if we were born and raised in the islands, like myself, we as a group continue to be punished for what our “ancestors” did over 100 years ago. As cited in an article by Larry Keller labeled Prejudice in Paradise, “a 12-year-old white girl new to Hawaii from New York City needed 10 surgical staples to close a gash in her head incurred when she was beaten in 2007 by a Native Hawaiian girl who called her a ‘f****** haole.’” These are the sort of hate crimes that are commonly carried out by said titas and mokes. This isn’t to say that only girls are subject to this discrimination; many guys are privy to the same thing, if not worse. Much like on the mainland, most titas in their middle and high school years launch verbal and psychological attacks on haole girls. In contrast, mokes put on a over-exaggerated façade of aggression and intimidation, initiating physical contact. If a moke were to catch you looking at him the wrong way he would puff up like a peacock ruffling his feathers, give you stink eye, and say, “What, like scrap?” In pidgin, a creole of English widely used in Hawaii, the phrase acts as intimidation towards haoles. It shows that the moke is prepared to fight should you give him any sort of attitude back. This is a prime example of how titas and mokes use aggression to assert themselves over haole people.
This domineering attitude corresponds with I.J.’s article – Ladies and Gentlemen: Femininity, Masculinity, and Identity. With the onset of modern-day feminism, felt in Hawaii but most likely never recognized by locals, the lines are blurring between what are alluded to as specific gender traits. More often than not these titas are taking on "alpha-male" characteristics - aggression, dominance, assumed power - and are toughening themselves to thwart any competition by caucasians for social power. As I.J. says in the Bitch article, "Gender expectations are being reversed." I am not able to think of another first-hand experience where that statement is more true. The only solution that comes to mind that would end this prejudice against whites by a percentage of the native population would be to strike at the heart of the problem where it all starts: in pre- and elementary schools. The only way to take out the discrimination against coexisting races is to harness the power of education.