“There was a lawn dance with Aloha and Lanakila campers on Lanakila’s campus and two counselors were in charge of music and were playing songs that were censored. A song came on and the N-word was bleeped out and there was a second of silence during that part and it sounded like someone in the crowd had actually said the word. I looked at some of the black Aloha girls that were nearby and they looked at me, as if we had heard the same thing.

We waited for the next time the word came up and heard it again, a group of boys yelling a word that sounded just like the N-word.

I approached the group of boys and asked them if they said it. They froze and then one perked up and said, ‘no, we said neighbor.’
I then asked them why they thought that was funny to say ‘neighbor’ right at that part of the song and they had no answer. I told them not to say it again.

I go back to see a group of Black Aloha girls who were upset about the whole thing. They walked away from the dance and spent the rest of the night sitting outside by themselves.

I didn’t know how to handle it or how to even report it to because I didn’t know the campers names. I called the Lanakila office the next day and the conversation became more about the fault in rap music being played verses the comfortability of campers thinking it’s funny to say a word that sounded like a racial slur. The root of the problem was missed and I felt like it was easy for them to brush me off because I wasn’t part of that community, but aren’t we one Foundation family?”

—Aloha, Counselor, 2018

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