Native born Hawaiians have been begging tourists to stop coming to their islands for years.
Objections to tourists have typically centered on their lack of respect or care for the land, ecosystem, and culture—which is odd since those are the things many of those same tourists say they came to experience.
Hawaiian islander Dominique has thrown her voice in with the #DontVisitHawaii movement, but she is shining her spotlight on tourists who express a different kind of entitlement.
Yes, the damage to the environment and to sacred spaces is atrocious - but she wants to talk about the damage to the people themselves and the entitlement tourists feel to use them as props rather than treat them as humans.
Like many Hawaiians, Dominique is no stranger to the beach. Neither are her children. It's common for her to sit in the sand while the children play nearby, well within her line of vision.
On a recent beach trip, she noticed a group of tourists hovering near her children and pulled out her phone to record. Dominique didn't start recording because she was worried about a kidnapping or anything.
She started recording because she had a good idea of what was coming next - and she was right.
One of the tourists approached the children while they played. That tourist, a woman who was a complete stranger to the two young kids, squatted down right behind one of the kids and struck a pose.
The man she was with nonchalantly snapped a picture.
The children, feeling unsafe and uncomfortable with the family-style portrait with Auntie Who Are You and Uncle Stranger Danger, ran back to their mother for comfort.
Dominique says this happens a lot, and it ties back to that entitlement and lack of respect from tourists.
In Japanese culture, it's considered perfectly normal to take pictures of everything that strikes you as beautiful. Dominique understood the gesture was, in a way, a compliment.
Her children are gorgeous, the Japanese couple - and many Japanese tourists before them, were so moved by the beauty they saw that they wanted to capture it.
Unfortunately, that's very not normal for Hawaiians. For Dominique, having people in your kids face like the paparazzi making them feel fearful of life on their home island is just too much.
To be clear, the issue isn't just Japanese tourists - this just happens to be a particular cultural quirk.
A quirk which, if you understand it, is honestly kind of cute.
The issue is tourism in general and the way it is literally damaging the island and its people.
Sacred spaces are being destroyed, the loss of natural resources is astronomical, native islanders feel uncomfortable outside of their homes.
Cause it's weird. Like really weird.
How would you feel if this kept happening to you and your kids? Would you feel okay with it because you understood it as a cultural compliment? Or would it irritate you since it obviously made your kids uncomfortable?
What are your thoughts on the push for tourists to stay away from the island?