No Aloha for Obama in Hawaii

President Obama was born in Hawaii, something that under other circumstances would be considered a big deal for any state in the union. But President Obama is African American — Black — and Hawaii is very conservative, the hub of the remnants of the old Pearl Harbor military heritage. And apparently they don’t think too much of him.

By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania, City Hall Reporter, (1976-1992)

Ray Hanania, City Hall Reporter, (1976-1992)

Former President Ronald Reagan was born in Dixon, Illinois. The two-story, white frame building at 816 S Hennepin Avenue has been turned into a museum.

The homes of other former presidents have also been turned into national heritage sites, often proudly showcased not only by the local communities, but also by the states where they are located.

Maybe it’s still too early, but I had thought that when I traveled to Oahu, Hawaii recently, I would see the same kind of pride in the fact that the only president to be born in that state is President Barack Obama.

But, Hawaii, which is sold as the “Aloha State” — the word “Aloha” means many things from hello, love, “no problem,” to even pride – has no “Aloha” for Obama.

Obama was born in a Honolulu hospital, Kapi’olani Hospital, on August 4, 1961, six months after his mother, Ann Dunham, married his father, Barack Obama, Sr. Both were students at the University of Hawaii. Obama’s father was a foreign student from Kenya on a scholarship.

The home where President Obama lived when he was born in Hawaii

The home where President Obama lived when he was born in Hawaii

The couple lived at 6085 Kalanianaole Hwy, which is just 30 minutes east of Honolulu’s famous Waikiki Beach off the main road, and only one block from the Paiko Lagoon, and the Pacific Ocean.

They divorced less than three years later, and Dunham, who was born in Kansas, traveled with her parents living in four states. His mother remarried an Indonesian student at U of H, and they briefly traveled together and lived in Jakarta in 1967.

Obama returned to Hawaii in 1971, and lived with his mother’s parents, and the nation’s 44th President, spent 5th grade as a elementary school student at the Punahou School, also in Honolulu.

For some reason, I thought maybe Hawaiian’s would be proud to have an American President born in their state.

But that’s clearly not the case. Obama could also claimed to have lived in Kansas, Illinois and even New York, but his first home should be recognized.

Obama, the first African American to hold the country’s highest office, comes from a race that probably more closely identifies with the native Hawaiians, many of whom still hold a grudge against the White settlers who basically stole their heritage, destroyed their royalty and took most of their lands.

The state’s major newspaper, the Honolulu Advertiser, noted Obama’s birth in 1961 and cited his home address. But the property has no historical markings, and is surrounded by a six-foot tall white cinder block wall, short driveway, a one-car garage and a black gate.

If it were my home, I’d have the President’s Picture on a billboard above.

The Neighborhood where the Obama home is located in South East Honolulu

The Neighborhood where the Obama home is located in South East Honolulu

Zillow, the online real estate company, values the property today at more than $1 million. But possibly much of the value came after the 1960s and Honolulu’s wealth spread along its coastline.

Despite the clear and disrespectful snub, Obama vacations on Oahu’s north coast, in a large cove on the north end of Kailua Bay, leasing a property near the ocean-front villa of his rock-star friend, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.

There’s no doubt Hawaii has become a haven for hardcore conservatives, which is too bad. That’s not good for the culture of Native Hawaiians which continues to struggle to be identified.

Hawaii’s population has very few African Americans. It’s mostly White, Native Hawaiian but, surprisingly, majority Japanese. That’s an irony that makes me smile.

There should be a huge sign declaring that this is the home where Obama was born

There should be a huge sign declaring that this is the home where Obama was born

Obama's Home in Honolulu, Hawaii

Obama’s Home in Honolulu, Hawaii

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. Reach him at [email protected])

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley). And, Hanania is a stubborn and loud critic of the biased mainstream American news media.

Hanania Chicago political beats and Chicago City Hall at the Daily Southtown Newspapers (1976-1985) and the Chicago Sun-Times (1985-1992). He published the The Villager Community Newspapers covering 12 Southwest suburban regions (1993-1997). Hanania also hosted live political news radio talkshows on WLS AM (1980 - 1991), and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM, WSBC AM in Chicago, and WNZK AM in Detroit.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate. He has written for the Jerusalem Post,, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star of Lebanon, the News of the World in London, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, The Saudi Gazette, the Arab News in Jeddah, and Aramco Magazine.

Hanania's Chicagoland columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald, the Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News and the Palos Reporter newspapers.

He is President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

His personal website is Email him at: [email protected]
Ray Hanania