Based on Race

In 1962, I lived on Chun Hoon Lane, which was right across Frog Lane, School Street dividing the two. Everything below School and Vineyard, and between Kauluwela Stream and Liliha Street, had been condemned for redevelopment, urban renewal, which was to take place soon after the bridge over the new freeway (H-1) was completed. Chun Hoon Lane, Kauluwela Lane, Aloha Broom Factory, the Kishaba family store and all the other small businesses in the area, plus the small, cramped, camplike family houses were to be torn down and replaced by the bridge, a new road, as well as tall, new apartment buildings.
During the three years that I lived there with my ex-husband's family, people congregated in small groups to talk story, leaning against the cars or fences along the dirt road, or over coffee in the cramped kitchens, many frightened about the coming changes, but most of all, to reminisce about what life had been like for them while living in the area where nobody was white.
Too, people had long memories about incidents of powerlessness made more profound by their evictions, land being taken away again, talking about this injustice or that or the prejudices they felt for one group or another. But what was said was often coded, filled with innuendo because this was a small place and you didn't know who was related to whom or who knew each other. I heard stories about the Massie, Fukunaga, and other cases, much of the dislike for the haole in town compounded because many of the accused had come from the same areas. In addition, the people of these "slums" felt that justice was frequently too swift and unequal in their eyes, the implication being that the perpetrators were not white, but "other," therefore treated differently. Many people, I believe, felt subliminally a kind of hatred they did not fully understand in all of its many facets. Still do.

Talk story

  1. Jean Toyama says:

    This one was a hard link to follow. You'll notice that I almost took the full two weeks. On the other hand, the last line ending with "without charges" made me think of how and why people can be put into jail without charges.

    The word "charges" also made me think of "charge", in other words, weight. When you use "light weight" to describe someone, it's an insult. Then there's "counter weight."

    In the end, I think Juliet gave me a good start.

  2. Jean Toyama says:

    I forgot the most important part of my link! The importance of a name. There were so many prominent names attached to Thalia Massie and her own name exudes class. Greek in origin, the name of one of the three muses, meaning flourishing (just googled that!), the muse of comedy.

    But she was related to several famous people, though her father didn't live up to his own name. He was said to be a moocher, living the high life at the expense of others. But he had friends and relatives who could support him and his family.

    I loaded my link with names to give the weight that must have been on the Massie side. But the weight on the other side was the weight earned by work and study.

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