It goes both ways… colorism. I’ve been told I’m too “pale” to be Hawaiian, despite very Hawaiian. Enough to attend and graduate Kamehameha Schools. But yes, I also agree Nani shouldn’t be scrubbed lighter. She is kanaka. And looks it.
But we as Hawaiians also need to have those hard discussions about gatekeeping, color, and what is cultural appropriation vs appreciation. The US overthrow of our Kingdom threatened our people’s language and culture, leading to things like grass skirt costumes and Elvis’ movies.
And even knowing all that, my own mother asked a friend I’d brought with me to visit the Big Island if he’d met a Hawaiian before he’d met my Dad 2.0. He replied; just the one that brought me. And my own mother said, Doesn’t count. Doesn’t look Hawaiian enough.
She isn’t the first one to say that. We code switch, pidgin to “proper English” both are valid. We need to fight for our culture, language and people. All of them. But yeah, Nani should be as she is drawn because she IS who we are. I’m still wondering why David wasn’t Kawika.