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Waves of ResistanceSurfing and History in Twentieth-Century Hawaii$
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Isaiah Helekunihi Walker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834623

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834623.001.0001

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Hui in American Media

Hui in American Media

“Terrorists” on the North Shore

(p.153) Chapter 7 Hui in American Media
Waves of Resistance

Isaiah Helekunihi Walker

University of Hawai'i Press

As the popularity of Hui surfers spread, they became a subject of interest in American media since the late 1970s. In movies and television, they were portrayed as tough guys who beat up haole surfers for no reason, but more seriously, various newspapers often, and outright, deemed them “terrorists.” This chapter trace the history of media representations that labeled Hui surfers “thugs” and “terrorists.” It argues that such stereotyping served a distinct function and revealed motives. Labeling Hawaiian activist groups like the Hui as savage, radical Natives (or even terrorists) in the 1970s and 1980s undermined burgeoning voices of resistance during an era of Hawaiian empowerment. While Hui members were defined as aggressive terrorists, they were simultaneously cast as aberrant and savage Natives. Their disillusionment was thus reduced to hatred, their resistance to barbarism. This process provided a means to undermine Native resistance and preserve the status quo—one in which the haole dominates and the Hawaiian is marginal. However, by appropriating the hypermasculine trope when advantageous, Hui surfers often liberated themselves from previous stereotypes—those historic and emasculating representations that previously cast Hawaiian men as submissive, unmanly, and transparent.

Keywords:   Hawaiian surfers, Hui surfers, media representations, resistance, haole

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