HILD 12 Medium Post 1 — Sarah Fan

I believe paying attention to sound/soundscapes helps us think of the ways that capitalism destroys our relationship to each other in that it depicts the history undertaken by settler colonialism especially with America overtaking Hawai’i from the natives and prohibiting them from becoming naturalized citizens and granting them equal representation in government and citizen affairs. As shown in Dean Itsuji Saranillio’s narrative, “Settler Colonialism” (2015), “…Asian groups were prohibited from naturalization or voting by the 1887 Bayonet Constitution” (p. 289). It is from this point that we can recognize aspects of White supremacy at play. By bolstering the soundscapes from the nineteenth century, we can see a shift in style as native tribes went from being the oppressed/oppressor to all unilaterally subjugated to colonial whims.

Soundscapes may also influence people with forming new relationships with each other based on capitalism with reflection and a heightened sense of awareness. Even as capitalism continues to make its way into indigenous peoples’ lives, many have relinquished all ideas to decolonize and instead are adapting to the new form of life and changes. Sarnillio explains the concept concisely in the excerpt “…Japnese plantation laborers submitted a petition that did not oppose of Hawai’i by White settlers but rather demanded their electoral participation in the new settler government…” (p. 290). Though citizens by nature, many indigenous were barred from voting or expressing their rights as outlined by the constitution. Instead, they would have to wait until their children come of age to gain representation. I think that the point Saranillio tries to make is that settler colonialism does not necessarily equate to White supremacy, and rather than dismantling the entire system, settler colonialism rests on, the Hawai’ians are trying to establish a compromise to implicate themselves in this new form of government and modify it through a gradual process.

I believe our understanding of Honolulu’s Chinatown will change if we engaged this question of sound by resulting in a more introspective glimpse into the poor and swamped conditions that plagued the city and led to the devastating effects of the fire that displaced thousands upon thousands of Chinese immigrants (“Shaken by an Earthquake”, Isabelle Seong-Leong Quintana, 2010). According to Quintana, “Despite the great loss that Chinatown residents experienced with this series of anti-Chinese activities, the arsonists were never penalized” (2010). The indifference and blind eye taken by the authorities proved the rife taken towards Asian Americans and indigenous people.