|Previous Page||Next Page|
If antagonistic sentiment prevails in some group of less influence and if its members feel free to give expression to such antagonistic sentiment only within the intimate group of like-minded and under conditions that more or less imply that it is confidential, such sentiment may be important in some ways but it is not public sentiment. In Hawaii a man or woman is free to marry out of his or her race so far as public sentiment is concerned. 92/
Adams feels that the large number of interracial marriages in Hawaii is a consequence of this freedom. 93/
Interracial marriage became an acceptable phenomenon in Hawaii very quickly after the arrival of foreigners. There were many factors contributing to this acceptance. First, the Hawaiian family system at the time was not rigidly organized. There was much freedom in interpersonal and sexual relations, except for the ali'i. Little or no ceremony was associated with either marriage or divorce. Marriage to one partner did not prevent marriage to another at the same time. The practice of giving away children to friends or relatives to raise (hanai) further increased the freedom of women. Adams concluded that:
- The freedom of the Hawaiians in relation to marriage was an important factor in the early interracial marriage. Had there been a strictly organized and regulated system among the Hawaiians it would have operated to prevent marriage with foreigners because the foreigners who came to Hawaii could not readily conform to the requirement of such regulations. 94/
Other factors also contributed to this phenomenon. Since Hawaiians had had no contact with outside groups, they were free of an antagonistic bias against them or against marrying them. At first, most interracial marriages were between native women and foreign men. The explanation for this is obvious: the white men who arrived as traders brought no women. Later, when immigrant laborers began to arrive, only the Portuguese required that women accompany the men. Thus, there were disproportionate numbers of males over females for ethnic groups such as the Japanese, Chinese and Filipinos.
Another factor to be considered in this connection was the rapidly declining population of native Hawaiians throughout the nineteenth century. Kings, chiefs, and missionaries alike were concerned, and the government of the kingdom consciously searched for cognate racial groups to strengthen the Hawaiian stock. Intermarriage was not only accepted, for native Hawaiians it was necessary to save the race. Chart 6 confirms this fact, showing as it does the steadily declining full-Hawaiian population and the rapid increase in the part- Hawaiian population after 1920.
Table 41 shows the percent of marriages for each ethnic group that involved a partner of another ethnic group for the period from 1912 to 1981. The high percentage of such "out-marriages" for native Hawaiians is evident throughout the interval covered by the table.
World War II, with the attendant increase in military personnel, had an important effect on race relations in Hawaii. The large influx of white males brought a form of racial prejudice to Hawaii that had not been prevalent before. Nevertheless, there was an increase in out-marrlages, especially of Caucasian males and non- Caucasian females. 95/
The result of this extensive interracial marriage has been the creation of a population of considerable racial and cultural diversity. The extent of racial harmony among groups throughout
|Previous Page||Next Page|