Racial stereotyping should be avoided

Recently, while lawfully sign waving on a public sidewalk, I was accosted and threatened with violence by two men who did not like my sign.

I left the scene and called 911. The dispatcher asked whether the men were “local or Caucasian.” I said I don’t know what that means since many people are both local and Caucasian. She sounded irritated and asked what race the men were.

It is time for the police and dispatchers to understand that Maui is a cosmopolitan place with people of many origins and ethnic backgrounds, often mixed. Some are local (they live here) and some are visitors.

Asking whether a person is local or Caucasian is like asking whether a vehicle is red or a Ford. It’s nonsensical. It implies that white people cannot be local and that nonwhites are local even if they just got off the plane.

Dispatchers should ask for a description of the person – age, build, skin color, clothing, accent and so on – and avoid simplistic racial stereotyping.

Kurt Butler