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Exotic Hawaii: where Obama's racial outlook was forged

While Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was awarded his law degree in the Northeast (at Harvard) and has been a community organizer and legislator in the Midwest (Chicago), his attitudes about racial inclusiveness may be most influenced by having grown up in the melting pot that is Hawaii. As an African-American, he was in the minority while he lived there. But the white/black dichotomy is less pronounced in Hawaii than in other regions of the US and the ethnic mix more reflective of its unique mid-Pacific location. Hawaii easily has the lowest percentage of non-Hispanic white residents of any state: just 23.5 percent. Hawaii's population breakdown, by percentage of race and ethnicity, according to infoplease.com:

  • White 24.3%
  • Japanese 16.7%
  • Filipino 14.1%
  • Native Hawaiian 6.6%
  • Chinese 4.7%
  • Other Asian 3.5%
  • Korean 1.9%
  • African-American 1.8%
  • Samoan 1.3%
  • Other Pacific Islanders 1.3%
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