Haole

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Haole (pronounced /ˈhaʊliː/, Hawaiian [ˈhɔule]) is generally used to refer to an individual that fits one (or more) of the following: "White person, American, Englishman, Caucasian; American, English; formerly, any foreigner; foreign, introduced, of foreign origin, as plants, pigs, chickens".[1] in the Hawaiian language. It can be used in reference to people, plants, or animals. The origins of the word predate the 1778 arrival of Captain James Cook (which is the generally accepted date of first contact with westerners), as recorded in several chants stemming from antiquity. Its use historically has ranged from descriptive to racist invective.

Contents

History

Haole first became associated with the children of Caucasian immigrants in the early 1820s. It unified the self-identity of these Hawaii-born children whose parents were as much culturally different as they were similar.[2] For Haole children whose first language was Hawaiian[3] their parents were generally either religious missionaries or secular businessmen, and hailed from both Europe and North America, not necessarily speaking the same language or English dialect.[4]

With the first three generations of Haole playing key roles in the rise of the economic and political power shifts that have lasted through the current day,[5] "Haole" evolved into a term that was often used in contempt. It evolved further to racial meaning, replacing malihini (newcomer[6]) in addressing people of Caucasian descent who move to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland by the 1860s.[7] A 1906 phrase book sometimes translates it to "English (language)".[8] Today it is often applied to any who are of Caucasian ancestry, or to those who think or behave in a foreign manner.

Etymology

A common popular etymology claim is that the word is derived from ʻole, literally meaning "no breath". Some Hawaiians[who?] say that because foreigners did not know or use the honi (the Hawaiian word for "kiss"), a Polynesian and Hawaiian greeting by touching nose-to-nose and inhaling or essentially sharing each other's breaths, and so the foreigners were described as "breathless." The implication is not only that foreigners are aloof and ignorant of local ways, but also literally have no spirit or life within.

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