Race, class, and labor shaped Hawaiʻi’s multicultural society. Hawaiʻi has the highest labor union density in the United States and a labor history which includes poignant events--particulary when plantation workers rejected the racial divisions imposed by their employers. Workers united across ethnic and class lines for better wages, health care, and an improved standard of living.
But how does Indigeneity, Hawaiian Nationalism, and settler colonialism transform our reflections on Hawaiʻi’s multicultural labor history? Are there inequalities and segregations within and across indigenous, local, and immigrant communities that challenge the type of unity building employed during Hawaiʻi’s historic labor movements? Should there be new frameworks for unity?
This conversation took place on Wednesday September 2, 2020, 3:00-5:00 pm HST. We began with a brief overview of the labor history exhibit. Then, Ilima Long, Kealani Cook, Adolph Reed, Jon Okamura & Nandita Sharma spoke to the current political/racial inequalities within the theoretical distinctions of racial equality, social equality, & decolonial relationality. This discussion was moderated by Ikaika Hussey.