“Politics - the blind are showing movies/in the plaza/so the deaf are gathering/in the plaza/so the mute can debate/in the plaza/the fate/of one beloved nation.”
Chapter 27. Haunani-Kay Trask (Hawaiʻi/US)
I got involved with Kahoʻolawe and the whole archipelagic idea of bombing ranges when I came back from college [in the mid-1970s from the University of Wisconsin Madison]. My mother, who was very straight, said you better come home, these people are going out there [to Kaho‘olawe] and getting arrested, and some of them are dying. It sounds like something you’d like. So that’s how I got into it. I did come home, and I didn’t write my dissertation for two years because I was so engaged in this process.
The color of violence, then, is the color of white over black, white over brown, white over red, white over yellow. It is the violence of north over south, of continents over archipelagos, of settlers over natives and slaves.
Shaping this color scheme are the labyrinths of class and gender, of geography and industry, of metropoles and peripheries, of sexual definitions and confinements. There is not just one binary opposition, but many oppositions.
Within colonialism, such as that now practiced in my own country of Hawai'i, violence against women of color, especially our Native women, is the economic and cultural violence of tourism and of militarism. It is the violence of our imprisonments: reservations, incarcerations, diasporas. It is the violence of military bases, of the largest porting of nuclear submarines in the world, of the inundation of our exquisite islands by eager settlers and tourists from the American and Asian continents.
Colonialism began with conquest and is today maintained by a settler administration created out of the doctrine of cultural hierarchy. It is a hierarchy in which Euro-Americans and whiteness dominate non-Euro-Americans and darkness.
white people are the dominant group, Christianity is the dominant religion, capitalism is the dominant economy, and militarism is the dominant form of diplomacy and the underlying force of international relations. Violence is thus normal, and race prejudice, like race violence, is as American as apple pie.
In a racist society, there is no need to justify white racist behavior. The naturalness of segregation and hierarchy is the naturalness of hearing English on the street, or seeing a McDonalds on every other corner, or assuming the U.S. dollar and United Airlines will enable a vacation in Hawai'i, my native country. Indeed, the natural, everyday presence of the "way things are" explains the strength and resilience of racism. Racism envelops us, intoxicating our thoughts, permeating our brains and skins, determining the shape of our growth and the longevity of our lives.
Racist White WomanI could kickYour face, punctureBoth eyes.You deserve this kindOf violenceNo more viciousTongues, obsceneLies.Just a knifeSlitting your tightLittle heart.For all my peopleUnder your feetFor all those yearsLived smug and wealthyOff our landParasite arrogantA fistIn your paintedMouth, thickWith moneyAnd piety.