Weekly Whack: We Are the World
We Are the World
October 6, 1996

This past Tuesday we had off from classes at my school due to what is called Multi Cultural Awareness Day. Basically what Multi Cultural Awareness Day entailed was a bunch of speakers and workshops about racism, tolerance, etc. However for me Multi Cultural Awareness Day became Get to Sleep-In Late Day. I figured I don't need to go to any workshops, I'm already aware of other cultures. It's not like I see an Asian guy and freak out and scream, "What the hell is that?!!!" I realize there are people out there that are different from me. However, after doing some thinking, I realized that maybe I didn't know as much about other cultures as I thought I did. I've met many different people here at college from many different backgrounds, and my eyes has definitely been opened. Many of my preconceived notions of people of various cultures and backgrounds have been shattered. It has been a real educational experience, and I would like to share some of these experiences in this Whack to try and educate other people also.

One of the first people I met when I moved in at school was a fellow by the name of Scott Ikeda. Scott is of Japanese descent and a native of the state of Hawaii. I never really knew anybody from Hawaii, and being curious, I wanted to talk to him to find out what it was like. The first thing I found out was that people from Hawaii are really sensitive. Like when I asked Scott whether it was true that all Hawaii is, is a bunch of people living in grass huts, he got real offended. And I only thought I was doing him a favor by explaining to him what a car was. I was like, "You see Scott, this is a car, it's kinda like those donkeys you ride in Hawaii, but faster." But I don't think he was too grateful for my lesson. It seems my previous views of what Hawaii was like, were in the most part incorrect. I guess I should of paid a little more attention when I watched Hawaii Five-O, instead of just admiring Dan-O's dashing good looks. Surprisingly, Hawaii actually is civilized. They have buildings, cars, electricity, indoor plumbing, the works. They even have corn there! That really surprised me. Now when you think of Hawaii do you think of some cornfield? Hell no, you think of beaches, coconuts, and hula skirts; not corn stalks. But sure enough, people in Hawaii can actually get fresh corn.

Now while I definitely learned a lot about Hawaii from Scott, Scott is certainly learning a lot about New Jersey from everybody here. One example is what a scarf is. Apparently it doesn't really get too cold in Hawaii. In fact, Scott was hiding under his covers shivering when the temperature dipped below sixty. Anyway, we were asking him about what he was going to do during winter, and how he was going to survive. He didn't own any snow hats or gloves, nor did he have a pair of boots. As we were discussing other articles of clothing that he might need, he asked in his innocent Hawaiian accent, "What's that one thing that goes around your neck?" "Excuse me." I responded. "You know, the thing you put around your neck to keep you warm." Scott replied. "Do you mean a scarf?" Someone else suggested. "Yeah, I guess that's what it is called. I saw one on TV once." Scott answered. Now here's someone that is not going to be a happy camper when the wind chill starts dipping below zero. I guess I always assumed that something as basic as a scarf was universally known. But apparently people in Hawaii don't know what scarves are. A group of us have already decided that we better keep an eye on Scott when it starts snowing. The kid never saw snow before, we're afraid he's gonna run around screaming that it's an omen from Miki the Cloud God. Also, one of the first things he did when he got here was to ask our RA, at a floor meeting, what the procedure was for a volcano eruption. He has a stockpile of food ready and everything. Can we say, culture shock?

Another interesting thing about Hawaiians is that they are very confused about who they are. I was discussing Hawaiian politics with Scott, and we ended up having this exchange:

Me: Who's your other senator besides that Inouye guy?
Scott: Oh, it's Senator (some weird name). He's nice, he's Hawaiian.
Me: Well I would hope so, you kind of got to be from Hawaii to be their senator.
Scott: No, you don't understand, only ten percent of people living in Hawaii are Hawaiian.
Me: What the hell are the other ninety percent, Nebraskan?
Scott: Well I'm not Hawaiian, I'm Japanese.
Me: Were you born in Hawaii?
Scott: Yes.
Me: Are you a Hawaiian citizen?
Scott: Yes.
Me: But you're not Hawaiian?
Scott: No.
Me: Who's on first.
Scott: I don't know.
Me: Third base!

Pretty weird if you ask me. So I guess I learned the hard way that we can all use a little Multi Cultural awareness.

Well it's time to say adios to this Whack, so to conclude for this week, there are very few Hawaiians in Hawaii; there are very few volcanoes in Northern New Jersey; and Miki the Cloud God is not responsible for snow.

Now for this week's special feature, the top ten nationalities that make up Feff:

10. Russian
9. English
8. Polish
7. German
6. Irish
5. Italian
4. Apache
3. Eskimoan
2. Byzantine
1. Falkland Islander