The Filipino Girls Got All the Boys, and the Japanese Girls Hated My Guts

Na Ali’i OAiea days

We’re not supposed to get racial, are we? We can talk around race, put ourselves in little cubbyholes, like little children on the first day of school. But, we can’t name names.

In Aiea, I learned the prettiest girls got all the boys. They were Filipino and Japanese, and they were the Homecoming & Prom Queens every year.

The Filipino ones were nice, but you didn’t stand a chance if even one of them was in the same room with you, waving their magic wands around the star linebacker and the entire trumpet section of the pep rally band.

The mean girls were Japanese. Thank god I never went to Pearl City, where they made everyone else’s life a living hell. Japanese girls secretly made fun of you, because you didn’t fit in…standing on the outside, flat face pressed to their cosmetically-enhanced window gallery.

One of them called me a slant-eyed Jap Chink Gook etc., for just trying to go into the neighborhood pool at Pearl Ridge, circa the summer of ‘77. Her Polynesian friend made a fist and the universal symbol for fuck-off. “You like beef?” they asked, sneering and slanting their eyes even more at me.

Why me?

Why not me?

Late at night, I pretend I am someone, anyone else. The Wicked Witch of the West with Down Syndrome.

Anything to make sense of this.

Hawaii is not the Aloha State. That’s for tourists.


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