Contrary to popular belief, people from Hawaii do more than surf, spend time at the beach drinking Mai Tais, and playing the ukulele in our Hawaiian shirts. It’s time we put the following ten stereotypes to rest. And of course, we understand that there are many more misconceptions out there, but really, we don’t feel as though we need to explain – yet again – that we don’t all live in grass huts.
1) All people in Hawaii do is surf.
Yes, Hawaii introduced surfing to the mainland and Australia. Yes, many of the big names in surfing ultimately find their way to Hawaii. Yes, most people have at least tried to surf. But that doesn’t mean that everyone on the island is super into the sport – wait, scratch that – lifestyle.
2) Pineapples all come from Hawaii.
Actually, the state no longer grows pineapple for export. For the most part, the pineapples grown here, stay here.
3) Everyone wears Hawaiian shirts… all the time.
Actually, we rarely wear “Hawaiian” shirts period. You know, the ones with huge flowers, tiki gods, and hula girls? Yeah, those are worn almost exclusively by tourists.
4) People from Hawaii are called Hawaiians.
No. Not true. Hawaiian is a culture, a race, a language, a people. Many people who live in Hawaii are Hawaiians, but if you simply moved to Hawaii, or you were born without Hawaiian in your blood, you are a local.
5) All anyone in Hawaii eats is Spam.
While it is true that seven million cans of spam are sold here each year – more than any other state in the country – it doesn’t mean that it’s all we eat.
6) Everyone drinks Mai Tais and cocktails on the beach.
Surprisingly, the islands’ favorite alcoholic beverage isn’t a fruity cocktail with a cute little umbrella placed on top – its Heineken. But I mean, sometimes, what you really need is a drink that comes in a Pineapple.
7) Everyone in Hawaii “talks funny.”
One of the two actual creole languages in the United States, Pidgin English is a combination of various languages that arose during the plantation era. But it’s not what the majority of individuals in Hawaii speak… though you will often hear a few distinct words.
8) Everyone knows how to play the ukulele…
Some people can play the ukulele, and some people can’t. It's as smple as that, really.
9) And everyone can all dance a perfect hula.
Like many elementary students learn line dancing on the mainland, students here do learn the hula, but not just as physical education – as a history and culture lesson.
10) You have to be a millionare to live in Hawaii.
It is true, the Hawaiian Islands have an extremely high cost of living, but if you accept that you will be spending a little more – and living with a little less – to make your dreams come true in paradise, you can make it work. Besides, beaches are free.