Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Journalism and Communication


This study investigated how Native Hawaiians and Hawai'i are represented by the media, specifically in movies and their accompanying trailers. Thirty movie trailers from movies released between 1939 and 2016 were analyzed. These movies represented the various movie genres of romantic comedy, thriller, war, animation, drama, historical, and more. The aim of the study was to compile evidence of various themes such as stereotyping, white-washing and language pronunciation within movie trailers in order to validate or extend conceptually the theoretical framework or theory about the lack of accurate representation of Native Hawaiians. This is a feasibility study that could help set up a future study on the subject. There is extensive evidence that Native Hawaiians and Hawai'i are consistently stereotyped in Hollywood films and these stereotypes have damaging effects on others' perceptions of Native Hawaiians. While, white-washing of Native Hawaiians is not as prevalent a phenomenon as expected because whiteness is at the core of Hollywood films. Mispronunciation of Native Hawaiian words and over-use of common words to describe Hawai'i contribute to the negative influences of white-washing and stereotyping on movie consumers' perceptions of Hawai'i and Native Hawaiians.



Faculty Mentor

Candi Carter Olson

Departmental Honors Advisor

Cathy Ferrand Bullock