Letters — Alleging The BIC Publisher Is A Racist

Aloha Tiffany,

I am writing to you after reading your Publisher’s note in the Big Island Chronicle where you write;

“Apparently, in Asian custom, which is pretty prevalent around here, hostess bars are sometimes the venue for business.” tiffany edwards

I’m not sure where you were educated as a journalist, so to begin, this isn’t “pretty” and for you to describe in a sentence that “apparently, in asian custom” reveals your ignorance and frankly, a racist view.

Mayor Kenoi is not “asian” he is full blooded Hawaiian, the appropriate description would be “pacific islander” or Hawaiian.

You use the word Asian as many uneducated folks would describe Latinos, there are many differences between a Mexican culture versus a Panamanian culture. Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese are of asian descent, but for you to lump them all together, along with their custom as you describe, is insulting.

I think you can find a number of people who might use a hostess bar as a venue for business, but for you to make a statement that this as an “asian custom” reeks of unacceptable racism and slander, especially coming from a publisher.

You owe the Asians of Hawaii, and mainland Asian Americans an apology for such a racist statement.

I don’t believe former Senator Daniel Inouye, present Governor Ige, Senator Hirono, Aaron Chung, Dennis Onishi, Barry Taniguchi, or many other asian americans are conducting business, as an Asian custom, in a hostess bar.

If you are circulating 6,000 copies of your publication perpetuating racism and slander towards asians, it is unacceptable in Hawaii, or anywhere else…

take responsibility and be accountable for what you write.

d post

18 replies
  1. Steven Offenbaker
    Steven Offenbaker says:

    What I’m offended by is people that throw around the word “racist” for dramatic effect while having no idea what racism really is.

    Could Tiffany have worded that better, probably, but was it racist? Nope. Prejudice? Possibly if taken completely out of context.

    Bottom line is anyone that has ever had a conversation with Tiffany Hunt knows she loves everyone and these kinds of unfounded attacks bother me.

    “racist” has become the new buzzword for people that can’t articulate

  2. James Weatherford
    James Weatherford says:

    btw, not that it matters, but, since the letter writer misrepresented the situation, saying “Mayor Kenoi … is full blooded Hawaiian: according to William P Kenoi (I’ve heard him say it multiple times), his mother is from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

    Too quick to shoot from the hip in ignorance.

    Agreed, the way the statement about hostess bars was made was less than informative.
    Still, it does not say that the Mayor is “asian”.

  3. punated
    punated says:

    Genuine hostess bars are Japanese and conducting business in them is basically a requirement for the salary man in Japan. They work all day and are expected to spend a couple hours every evening at hostess bars, mainly for business networking.

    Hostess bars in Hawaii are completely different from their Japanese counterparts. In Japan, the hostesses are more like professional psychologists, somewhere the extremely lonely salary man can talk to a woman that acts like she is interested. He knows she is acting, she knows he knows, but the game makes her money and relieves some of the stress for the overworked salary man. In Hawaii, there is the outside chance that sex may occur but it isn’t on the premises. People are really stupid if they believe that. If there was open sex, undercover police would be in there and the club would get shut down.

    What Tiffany means is what a lot of white people that move to Hawaii never seem to understand. Hawaii is more asian than it is white middle America. While Kenoi can’t be excused for his dumbness using a government credit card, the reason there are so many hostess bars on Oahu is because they are recognized as adult entertainment and a place for social networking. The white middle America equivalent is Hooters. Maybe there is more food and less alcohol but the sexual innuendo is there and many business men go to Hooters for lunch or after work because it is more an entertainment business than a restaurant business.

  4. Mike Middlesworth
    Mike Middlesworth says:

    Punated has it right. And while I left Oahu a number of years ago, I recall that it didn’t take long after I came in 1973 to learn there were bars–often referred to as “Korean Bars”–where a journalist could find off-duty cops, politicians and other movers and shakers. A lot of entertainment of contacts went on in those bars, and a lot of business was transacted. My first reaction to hearing that the Mayor had been at one of them was not so much surprise that he had, but interest in knowing who his companions were. I cannot believe that he went there alone just to spend all that money on some bar girl. My guess is there was political discussions involved.

  5. James Weatherford
    James Weatherford says:

    The Mayor is an adult and may go any where any other adult may go and do whatever any other adult may do there. Using a County account to do so in a manner as the Mayor is 100% inappropriate.

    The amount was substantial — $890 is about one week’s wages, before taxes, for plenty County employees who would have been terminated and prosecuted for such use of a County account. There was more than instance.

    Agreed, Mike, that who the Mayor was with certainly is an interesting and relevant question.
    …”a lot of business was transacted” I do not doubt.
    Neither do I doubt that, as a taxpayer, I do not want my County’s business conducted there nor my tax dollars spent there.

  6. punated
    punated says:

    Korean Hooters

    Pornographic dancing, responsible business men acting irresponsible, probably politicians in there also, an American company bringing sinful western sex perversions to innocent Korea.

    There are hostess bars in Japan where the patrons pay $30,000 per night to *not* talk to the hostesses. The hostesses sit at tables with laptop computers, are paid to look like they are working, and will accept $100 fruit juice drinks.

  7. punated
    punated says:

    Billy is Nichiren Shoshu so he knew he was turning the wheel of Karma. The unenlightened believe the wheel only turns around. The enlightened know it turns in a spiral, up or down and it is our free will that turns the wheel.

    There is no excuse for what he did over a prolonged period. It was not a slight of judgment but a collapse of judgment. Billy was known to be a partying surfer and he likes to drink. That is why you go to hostess bars, you can get drunk. He got power drunk along the way. Hopefully, the finance director wasn’t a victim of bullying when she tried to warn him he was breaking the rules. And that is the bottom line, they are rules, ethics rules in the use of a government credit card. Personal use while paying it back is not illegal, but it is a clear violation of the ethics rule which training is provided prior to the issuance of a government credit card. He could still CYA a little by sending out a memo, without apologizing or admitting any guilt, that his inappropriate use of the pCard will not be acceptable in the county from now.

  8. Dave Smith
    Dave Smith says:

    Pretty ironic that the letter writer closes with “take responsibility and be accountable for what you write” and then doesn’t give his/her name (at least an identifiable one).

  9. Purplefireweed
    Purplefireweed says:

    I wouldn’t be so quick to call anyone at BIC racist, but using the term ‘Asian’ as a catchall is clearly ignorant. It’s like calling every inhabitant of North and South America ‘Americans’–which TECHNICALLY may be true, but is blind to the myriad of diverse cultural and national idiosyncrasies. Can you think of a parallel ‘American’ analogue that merits sloshing all cultures of North/South America together? Nope.

    If hostess bars are a Japanese cultural icon, call them Japanese, not ‘Asian’.

  10. Purplefireweed
    Purplefireweed says:

    Also, @Punated: personal use of the Pcard–even if reimbursed–is absolutely illegal. There is no legal provision for gov’t employees to use it as their personal petty cash fund, reimbursed or not.

  11. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    Allow me to continue to show my ignorance on the subject of hostess bars… Are they not also common among Koreans? And aren’t Vietnamese women working in the hostess bars common here in Hawaii?

  12. rj nadal
    rj nadal says:

    “Apparently in Asian custom, which is pretty prevalent around here…”

    That does sound awkward. And I can see how someone would interpret it to have racial undertones. An abstract connection, but definitely see it.

    Another way to possibly say it:

    “Apparently in some Asian customs, many of which are prevalent here…”

  13. Pikake
    Pikake says:

    I think the author of this letter is taking it far more personally than members of the said group of people would, here, in Hawaii.

    I think that a lot of the people who are new to Hawaii want to interject more hatred than what actually exists, and this letter is a reflection of that. They also choose to go to great lengths in an attempt to explain the differences between groups of people, yet they are complaining in a way that indicates people should be equal. It’s quite a contradiction. But, I see this a lot with people who tackle the semantics within social equality and justice.

    My argument is that, biologically-speaking, Homo sapiens can all successfully rear offspring and therefore are of the same race.

    I think that focusing on race as a social construct keeps us all chasing our tails, focusing on symptoms rather than causes.

  14. Puna Ohana
    Puna Ohana says:

    some people have too much time to waste on BS
    lame letter
    Caucasians use Asian* in lieu of calling a Korean, Japanese or a Chinese, Japanese or a Japanese Korean. Because to a lot of white people all Asians look pretty much indistinguishable. Blame it on the education system.
    So in a PC attempt to not hurt anyone’s feelings or thin skin the word is used. It’s only read wrong by those who don’t comprehend context.

  15. John
    John says:

    This isn’t about concerns for anyone’s feelings. It’s about progressives’ need to proclaim their purity and superiority to the unwashed and ignorant.
    I agree, Tiff. Using “Caucasian” or even worse, “white” is ignorant and “blind to the myriad of diverse cultural and national idiosyncrasies” among the various nationalities.

    I pity the young people, because the perennially offended who want to control what everyone says are only going to get louder.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *