Aloha literacy

Amritas fisks the heck out of the argument that Hawaiian schools aren’t really underachieving because island children can’t be expected to read, write and calculate like the haoles.

Don’t judge the kids by their s-s-s-scores. Sickening. Only ice people could be so obsessed with numbers. We Lokoz are sun people — innumerate, illiterate, but at least aware of the value of literacy for our Great Leaders™, the Demokret Daynasti (Democrat Dynasty) that we vote into office decade after decade. How could our beloved tribal chiefs function without the white man’s script? How can we select them without recognizing the sacred symbol ‘D’ and the satanic symbol ‘R’?

. . . I feel really sorry for the pigment-deprived creatures who only think they have ‘achieved’. You think you’re so hot with your 1600 SATs and straight 5s on your AP (Advanced Placement) exams? You are NATING by our infinitely more rigorous, paraliterate Loko standards! Can you haole elites spray graffiti designs in seconds before da polis can catch you and judge you by alien laws!? Can you negotiate an ays (crystal meth) deal in fluent Pijin? Ay no tingk so (I don’t think so)!

If Hawaiian children are content to be isolated from American culture and poor for the rest of their lives, then English literacy doesn’t matter. But ay no tingk so.

Update: Peter at EyelineMatch describes Hawaii’s “fluid, complex, robust and sophisticated” culture, and argues that Hawaiians can learn about things they don’t see.

I grew up at the foot of a tropical mountain range in a yard filled with hibiscus and guava trees; I still managed to conceptualize what life in Norway might have been like. The Commonwealth of Virginia was a quarter-globe away; I still managed to become acquainted with the ideas of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Most of da time bumbye I wen’ talk all kine funny pidgin stuffs li’ dat, bully; I still managed to read (and enjoy) Shakespeare. Get the point? The notion that a local kid couldn’t possibly conceive of concepts like “nightgown” or a “meadow” is is not merely condescending, it’s downright loony (for one could easily glimpse cows a-pasture alongside Kam Highway out past Laie and could easily purchase quality evening dress at Honolulu’s biggest department store, Liberty House). The notion that a Kalihi teenager is incapable of conceptualizing math problems unless they’re set using “plate lunches” instead of integers is, in my estimation, somewhat evil.

What he said.

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Comments

  1. I going to be a little crude here, but this is another example of a do-gooder, white (an assumption), liberal damning a whole bunch of students to a life of lower-caste economic status.

  2. Every time I saw the word haole I kept reading it like a piglatin version of a__hole. I feel so unworthy, being an ice person and all.

  3. Frank’s right. This is no different from African Americans claiming that standardized tests are biased against them. (Or Hispanic kids, etc. ad infinitum.) If that were true, then minorities would have higher college graduation rates than non-minorities with the same SAT scores.

  4. Spencer Harris writes:

    What many people fail to understand is the fact that in Hawai’i, most students do not wear “nightgowns” to bed, and because we live on an island, there really is no “meadow” for children to see and play in. Asking our students to be able to comprehend these terms is similar to creating a test to administer to the mainland with terms like, “You pau hana?” and “hey, it stay your kuleana.”

    Is that really an accurate analogy? I certainly don’t know the answer but don’t most Hawaiians speak English?

    By his logic, I shouldn’t know what a “lei” or “volcano” are having lived in NY all my life.

    Basically, he’s suggesting that these kids shouldn’t know words. Right?

  5. Basically, (s)he’s arguing that Hawaians shouldn’t be exposed to anything from other cultures, or can’t be expected to know things about other cultures.
    Its called expanding your horizons. I’ll admit that Hawaii probably has large horizons (dang I miss the plains), but a refusal to learn aspects about the dominant culture of the country one belongs to is provincial.
    In the south, they call them rednecks.

  6. Sean Kinsell says:

    From the article Amritas quoted:
    “Considering that America is made up of different cultures, there needs to be a better method of assessment before we stigmatize a school as “underachieving” because culturally speaking, some students show academic achievement in various forms other than a paper based test.”

    Splendid. Since many people in Hawai’i are of Japanese descent, why don’t we test them with, say, the more culturally-appropriate entrance exam for the Waseda law department? That ought to, you know, ease the burden to achieve.

    And what is with that “[B]ecause we live on an island, there really is no ‘meadow’ for children to see and play in” drivel? Um, dude? The country in the world most famous for its meadows is England. If memory serves, that’s not a landlocked central Asian country.

  7. Maybe it’s Harris who doesn’t know what a meadow is.

  8. Frank,

    I suspect you’re right. There’s a subspecies of “foreigner” that comes to Hawai’i to “help” us poor wittle natives. All I can to say to them is “No thanks.”

    chett,

    Never thought of “haole” that way before. I don’t think I’ll spread that meme here. It’d be too catchy.

    Seriously, nobody seems to know the etymology of the word. It’s commonly claimed that haole Frank,

    I suspect you’re right. There’s a subspecies of “foreigner” that comes to Hawai’i to “help” us poor wittle natives. All I can to say to them is “No thanks.”

    chett,

    Never thought of “haole” that way before. I don’t think I’ll spread that meme here. It’d be too catchy.

    Seriously, nobody seems to know the etymology of the word. It’s commonly claimed that haole

  9. I wrote above:

    “Seriously, nobody seems to know the etymology of the word. It’s commonly claimed that haole”

    which got cut off. I have no idea why. Here’s the rest:

    It’s commonly claimed that haole is from ha “breath” plus `ole “without”: i.e., it means “breathless.” But such a compound would have resulted in “ha`ole,” not “haole.”

    ” ` ” is a full-fledged consonant in Hawaiian; its inclusion or omission is as important as adding or dropping a “k” in English. (In fact, ” ` ” historically is the remnant of an ancient “k” sound in pre-Hawaiian.) ” ` ” is the “glottal stop” sound between “uh” and “oh” in “uh-oh.”

  10. A little over a century ago a Hawaiian princess put forth in her will the establishment of a school for boys and a school for girls that would help the aboriginal people of Hawai’i learn to compete and thrive in western society. It has been quite succesful and graduated quite a number of leaders. All of its students are of hawaiian descent and I’d put money on all of its graduates knowing what both a nightshirt and a meadow are (especially since both exist in the Hawaiian Islands).

    The Kamehameha Schools, founded by the princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, has continually proven that hawaiian children run the gamut of intelligence as anyone else, and that they can learn to operate succesfully (and even thrive) in western society without losing their “hawaiianess.” It has proven that they can learn to speak proper english, program computers and speak Hawaiian, play slack key guitar, make fishhooks from bone, and cord from coconut husks.

    I find it quite insulting that a failure to learn, or more likely to teach, is being excused in this manner. Disgusting, pilau a me hupo.

    Kal

  11. School performance? In Hawaii? It’s bad. It’s real bad.

    http://www.greatschools.net/modperl/browse_school/hi/38/

  12. Check my blog, I responded to Spencer Harris condenscending editorial

  13. Blogscotching? It’s becoming the world wide wander.