Global Vantage Point Lecture Series: A Comparative Analysis of the Historic Japanese and other Asian Migration to the Hawaiian Archipelago

Trinity sophomore Emma Schneck’s Global Vantage Point Lecture, A Comparative Analysis of the Historic Japanese and other Asian Migration to the Hawaiian Archipelago, investigated the political and economic factors that spearheaded Hawaii into a heterogeneous state.

Schneck begins the lecture by addressing rhetoric surrounding Hawaii’s racial and culture make up. She shows a news article claiming that Hawaii is less racist than other states. Her argument is that saying Hawaii is inherently less racist than any other state due to its racial mixing is disregarding its “racially segregated past.”

After the opening, she then gives an overview of the history of politics and sugar production in Hawaii, accompanied by a timeline that is imperative to the understanding of the socioeconomic composition of Hawaii.

Though she discusses several Asian groups that migrated to Hawaii in specific waves, she hones in on the Asian- Pacific migration due to its profound part of the cultural makeup of Hawaii.

There were not a copious amount of Hawaiians that worked on the plantations, so Americans received labor elsewhere. The capitalist plantation owners were meticulous in what countries they extracted labor from, which ties into her thesis that immigrant lives were shaped by racial policies to retain control of American sugar interest.

Emma Schneck finished her presentation by posing a question: why should we understand how the ethnic policies came about through capitalist structures? She reiterates that understanding Hawaii’s racially segregated past is paramount in understanding its harmonious structure today.