Since the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States in 1898, American cartoonists, advertisers, authors, filmmakers, and others have promoted racist, sexist, and hyper-sexualized versions of Native Hawaiians to the American public because of their deeply ingrained colonial attitudes. Although Native Studies is a growing area of interest in many fields of study, research on Native Hawaiian media representation and the impact of stereotypes on both Native Hawaiian identity and public views of Native Hawaiians is scarce. This essay uses primary source documents to bring to light the most prominent stereotypes of Native Hawaiians and explore how the origins of these stereotypes can be traced back to American colonialism. Unlike pre-existing works, this essay scrutinizes various examples of Native Hawaiian media representation from a gender viewpoint, a sexuality viewpoint, a racial viewpoint, and a viewpoint that considers exoticization instead of focusing on only one of the aforementioned approaches. By outlining the fallacious stereotypes of the Native Hawaiian community and explaining their origins, this essay provides readers, especially those in the media industry, with the necessary tools to create more culturally competent media content.

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