San Francisco, California (The Adobo Chronicles) – The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), a national membership organization composed of Asian Americans working in mainstream media, has sent a strongly-worded letter to the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) demanding that the name ‘Chinaman’ be erased from all literature and references to Chinaman’s Hat, a famed attraction on the island of Oahu.
Located in Kāne’ohe Bay, Chinaman’s Hat, also known as Mokoli’i Island, is a scenic wonder resembling that of a cone-shaped straw hat often seen worn in several countries in Southeast Asia.
But the term ‘Chinaman’ is considered derogatory, according to AAJA and other Asian American groups. MediaWatch, AAJA’s watchdog arm, has been calling out news organizations that have printed or broadcast terms, phrases or statements that are considered racist, discriminatory or offensive to the Asian American community in the U.S.
In its stylebook distributed to newsrooms, AAJA has this to say about the term:
The Adobo Chronicles learned that HTC has yet to receive the letter which was supposedly sent by registered mail from AAJA’s headquarters in San Francisco. Nevertheless, HTC questioned why it has taken this long for AAJA to demand this change, when Chinaman’s Hat has been the name of this tourist attraction for many decades, perhaps even predating the journalist organization.
“Besides,” HTC said, “it will cost the state tourism body millions of dollars to make the change, having to update all tourism videos, brochures, and web sites, not to mention the cost of re-educating both Hawaii residents and tourists about a new name.”
What could that new name be? Perhaps, the island could be renamed after Hawaii’s state fish, humuhumunukunukuapua’a ? That would seem appropriate.