Stereotypes

Using one or more of the books or poems read so far this semester answer the question, how do stereotypes impact the work? You may consider any aspect of stereotyping for this paper. For example, but not limited to, your discussion may consider how the author disrupts the “white” narrative use of stereotypes, or how the use of stereotypes informs the action of the story, or how a stereotype functions in relation to a problem confronting a story’s protagonist. At the end of The Tattoo, Ken says: “I can say race, but it’s not that simple, especially in Hawaiʻi. It’s not just black and white, it’s Hawaiian, haole, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Samoan, Vietnamese. I could go on and on. Hell, look at you, you’re white, but you went through the same kind of shit…. It’s funny, I think about race and sometimes feel that it would be a lot easier if we were actually that different from each other. I ain’t here because of race, I’m here because I’m human” (236). The people of Hawaiʻi do not form one homogenous group. To say the “people of Hawaiʻi is a misnomer and is humorously depicted by Hawaiʻian comedian Andy Bumatai in his YouTube show Hawaiʻan Pidgin 101 – Ethnicities. Their diversity is stratified, occupied, and stereotyped. The Hawaiʻi represented in Chris McKinneyʻs The Tattoo contrasts the Hawaiʻi portrayed in the destination promotional material bringing many to the island paradise. The stereotypical categorizations found in destination promotional materials (aka tourist brochures) limits and reduces understanding native culture, and therefore undermines it. The theoretical approach labeled symbolic annihilation developed by scholar Gaye Tuchman, can examine the impact made on Hawaiʻian native cultures by trivializing, ignoring, or leaving out elements and aspects of culture and identity not perceived to be useful by tourism promoters to entice prospective visitors via mass media (Parker, 5). This brief analysis of the stratification of the Native Hawaiʻian culture and its people is not exclusive to this ethnic group. Similarly, texts read in this class can be analyzed by considering the view of those who commodify them for their own convenient purpose. Commodification by a colonizing people, either by slavery, occupation, or removal, is a common thread in the American experience for people of color. Stereotypes enable commodification and as a result people are viewed as a product or “other.” This in turn gives rise to ethnic identities constructed and reconstructed over time, internally by the groups themselves and externally by the dominant groups in the United States. Works Cited Parker, Margaret Penniman, “Ask the kumu: A qualitative study of Native Hawaiian perspectives on Hawai`i’s promotional images.” Travel and Tourism Research Association: Advancing Tourism Research Globally. 6. (2016). https://scholarworks.umass.edu/ttra/2009/Illustrated_Papers/6.

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