Friday, October 7, 2016

Say Hapa, With Care


this piece was originally published June 2014 on (the now defunct site) AAPI Voices


by Sharon H. Chang

What does Hapa mean? One way to know is to look at the ways in which the word is used.

It’s a “Hawaiian word for ‘mixed-race’,” says Hapa Kitchen Supper Club, “coined to refer to people of East Asian and Caucasian backgrounds.” Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar calls it “a harmonious blend of Asian and American.” It’s a “slang term,” proclaims The Natural Hapa: Bamboo Bundles and Hapa Time: Style Inspiration chirps it’s “just one of the coolest words ever.” There’s Hapa Yoga, Hapa Ramen, Hapa Grill, Hapa Cupcakes, Hinode sells a “Hapa Blend” of brown and white rices and Hapa Culture sells…erasers?

Let’s talk about this word, Hapa.