Tag Archives: Hawaii

“Hawaiian” American Girl? May I Nominate Lilo Instead?

3 Jan

Does the doll above look like she’s a native Hawaiian to you? Me neither. Yet, she’s American Girl’s doll of the year, Kanani. My spouse, Collateral Damage, has a few choice words on this today:

In Hawaiian Kanani means”the beautiful one.” Apparently the beautiful one in Hawaii is Haole. While her last name, Akina, may sound Hawaiian it is actually Japanese (another group known primarily for black hair and eyes and a distinctly non-Caucasian skin tone). So American Girl™®© just decided to appropriate some ethnic sounding names, put a flower in the doll’s hair and call it Hawaiian. Aznuts, as the Hawaiians say. Hell, even Disney – which has a very long history of messing up on ethnic issues — was able to do this right.

I’m surprised to not find more uproar about this on the interwebs. Instead, it would seem that the state is embracing the doll as a way to promote tourism. From USA Today:

The Kauai Visitors Bureau is doing a traditional blessing on the beach for the doll and I’m sure hoping this sparks more interest in the island. Back on the Mainland, girls can take part in Kanani-themed activities at AG stores, including hula lessons, learning about Hawaiian crafts and food. For more information, visit americangirl.com or call 800-845-0005.

If Kanani brings more tourism to the Islands, and creates greater awareness of indigenous Hawaiian culture to the Mainland, then more power to her. But I’m still creeped out.

Full disclosure: My grandparents retired to Hawaii in the 1970s, my parents own real estate there, and I’ve probably spent about a year there over the course of my lifetime. So I’m a Haole too, and a regular visitor, but the fact that I’ve enjoyed poi and spam maki doesn’t make me Hawaiian.

Why Wouldn’t Disney Sell DVC in Hawaii?

10 Oct

Okay Lisa, this one’s for you . . . if you’re still looking for ammo for your argument that Disney Vacation Club is a cult, you need to check out DIS News on why DVC can’t be sold in Hawaii (yet), reposted from the Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, I believe):

Disney, which paid $144 million for a 21-acre tract of oceanfront property for the project, said that it chose Hawaii as its first stand-alone hotel destination because Disney Vacation Club members showed strong demand for the islands.

But Disney will need to register with the state to sell memberships in that project, which is expected to break ground next year and is slated for a 2011 opening.

Hawaii, a top time-share destination along with California and Florida, enacted stringent restrictions on product marketing in the early 1980s that required companies to register and pay fees before doing business in the state. Inexplicably, Disney never did so.

Lori Beth Van Cantfort, the time-share administrator for the state of Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, said yesterday that although Disney has been registered in Hawaii since 1993 and can advertise its time-share plan here, it does not have a Hawaii escrow agreement on file with the department and therefore cannot conduct any sales activity in the state.

Apparently, in the current state of things, a Hawaii resident who wants to buy DVC will have to fly to the contiguous 48 US states to even get detailed information from Disney, let alone sign any paperwork. (Or perhaps they can get around this if they buy DVC points through resale? I’ll bet somebody reading this blog will know.) One Hawaii resident comments:

“I didn’t know that I had the option to go speak to them while in California, or I might have tried,” she said. “Most of my inquiries were for the info DVD or through e-mail. It was never mentioned to stop in and speak to them while on a trip there.”

Wow. Perhaps there’s a black market in Hawaii for some of those DVC DVDs that so many of us have sitting around our homes. Who knew?

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