About Race Relations in Hawaii.

I’m never surprised when people I meet on one of my long-distance train rides ask questions about life in Hawaii. Over lunch in the dining car on my most recent trip, I was asked what it was like for a Caucasian moving to Hawaii and suddenly finding himself in a racial minority?

First, it was a very perceptive question. My answer—speaking for myself only, of course—it has never been an issue.

For almost ten years, I worked in the Mayor’s office in Honolulu running the Office of Information and Complaint.  Looking back, to the best of my recollection, this was the ethnic make-up of my staff of ten.

Portugese  1

Caucasian 2

Korean 1

Chinese 1

Hawaiian  3

` Samoan 1

Japanese 1

Generally speaking, I think people are more friendly here. I’ve heard one reason for that—and it makes sense—is because everyone who lives in Hawaii belongs to a racial minority. Even if, as the 2020 Census did, you lump all asians into one category—something the asians themselves would never do—no one group even comes close to having 50-plus percent of the state’s population.

For the record, here’s the racial breakdown of the State of Hawaii’s population from the 2022 census:

Asian–36.53% Hawaiian, Samoan, Tongan, Guamanian, etc.–10.24% White–21.60% Hispanic and Latin–9.55 % Two or more races–20.06% Black and Native American–1.66%

Roughly three quarters of our state’s population isn’t white. For some people from the U.S. mainland, getting accustomed to being in a racial minority takes a little time. A few can’t deal with it and leave. Me personally? I have no doubt that my life has been more interesting and is richer because of it.

People—all kinds of people from all kinds of different backgrounds—really can get along. It may take a little effort at first, but in a rather short time, for most people racism in Hawaii, is simply not a factor.

* Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Guam, etc.


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Just Released!

A New Book by

Fifty stories from life and 350,000 miles of train travel.

  • Across the U.S. and Canada by train.   
  • London to Paris at 187 mph.      

  • An unexpected performance of Cats in Mongolia.
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  • Spotting wild camels in the Australian outback.
  • Finding real cowboys in Hungary.

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This new book by Jim Loomis is a quick and easy read, full of interesting information about Hawaii that most people don’t know and are surprised to learn:

• There were actually two attacks by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor during World War Two

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All Aboard: The Complete North American Train Travel Guide

Fifty stories drawn from 300,000 miles of train travel. The latest version of Jim Loomis's acclaimed All Aboard: The Complete North American Train Travel Guide (4th Edition, 2015) is available in stores and online in both printed and electronic formats.
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