Senior Theses

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy



Faculty Advisor(s)

Kaarina Beam

Subject Categories



Finding identity is difficult for mixed race and culture Polynesian Americans because there is no full integration into either racial/cultural side. For many Polynesian Americans (mixed race or not), finding an ethnic, cultural, and philosophical identity is a life-long struggle that constantly toils in matters tied to their souls and well being: issues of right and wrong, gender roles, morals/ethics, acceptance, and what it means to be human. For Polynesians and mixed race Polynesians, tribulation and alienation stem from the assimilation model that is present in the world today. “American Consumerist Cosmopolitanism,” as descended from colonialism, has impacted the well-being of Polynesian Americans (mixed race or not) for the worse. I will argue that the values of Polynesian culture are best preserved by a reevaluation of racial categories and ethnic practices in light of the unique colonialist history of Polynesians and that we need to move toward a model of Pluralistic Cosmopolitanism, which promotes true multicultural autonomy and both inter- and intra-cultural acceptance, rather than elitism. To explain and back this, I give brief histories of the Samoan and Hawaiian people, as well as some background in Polynesian philosophy, relevant sociological issues, assimilation/acculturation models, and look at racial philosophy, particularly in how these issues impact the continuation of Samoan and Hawaiian culture.

Included in

Philosophy Commons