Media Stereotypes of Chuukese in Hawaii

Thesis title: Media Stereotypes of Chuukese in Hawaii.
University: Chaminade University of Honolulu (Honolulu, Hawaii).
Date: December 12, 2016.
Class: SO 498.
Professor: Richard Bordner.
Author: Lisa Marquez.
Link to full thesis: Media Stereotypes of Chuukese in Hawaii.

In Hawaii, discussing race and the construction of our identities is the cultural way of life. I enjoyed participating in deep, enlightening conversations about stereotypes and race almost on a daily basis. Unavoidably though, this led to some sharing negative perceptions of other people’s identities. These negative comments, in my experience, have largely been towards Micronesians-Chuukese, specifically.

I have held conversations with people in Hawaii who would blatantly make racist comments towards Micronesians. I also had conversations with people who identify as natives of the Island Nations of Micronesia who so comfortably blamed Chuukese for the negative stereotypes locals had towards Micronesians.

I have had the good fortune of befriending people from all over Micronesia. They were so welcoming and excited to share their beautiful cultures with me, so hearing these commonplace stereotypes of Micronesians in Hawaii was frustrating, which led me to want to better understand why locals in Hawaii had these stereotypes and how they came to be created. I also wanted to better understand stereotypes that are given to Chuukese within the Micronesian communities.

An approach I considered while working on my undergraduate research for this topic was to collect my data by conducting interviews. However, my adviser suggested I collect my data using online sources. He thought this method would be best because people tend to be more open and vulnerable behind the screen than the alternative of voicing their opinions in person. I agreed that this would be the most authentic route, so I gathered social attitudes towards Chuukese using social media and online media. I also utilized headlines of Hawaii news outlets. I categorized their headlines by positive, negative, and neutral categories.

The data I discovered measures the virtual stereotypes of Chuukese, and inevitably Micronesians in Hawaii. It explains how these stereotypes came to be created through research articles and other literature that provides a cultural perspective and differences that led to the creation of these stereotypes from people outside of the Chuukese communities and Micronesian communities respectively.