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Watson part 2 -- Who is Trisha Kehaulani Watson, and why did the Honolulu Advertiser give her such prominence as a featured blogger?

Note: This is part 2 of a larger webpage. The larger webpage is entitled "Dialogs with a racist -- Bringing to public awareness the explicit, enthusiastic, and unapologetic racism of Trisha Kehaulani Watson, a featured blogger on the public website of the largest circulation newspaper in Hawaii." To see that larger webpage, go to

2. Who is Trisha Kehaulani Watson, and why did the Honolulu Advertiser give her such prominence as a featured blogger?

One example of a high-level Hawaiian racist theoretician (and also community organizer) is Trisha Kehaulani Watson, Ph.D. and J.D.

Watson writes a blog hosted on the Honolulu Advertiser website. The Honolulu Advertiser has by far the largest circulation of all Hawaii's newspapers. In recent years the newspaper's website has been expanded in scope and coverage. Some of the newspaper's well-known reporters and commentators have individual blogs hosted there. Dozens of ordinary members of the public also have personal blogs there. But only one person who is not employed by the Advertiser has a blog that is "featured", meaning it is highly publicized on the website. There are other blogs by members of the general public who are not newspaper employees, but it is very hard to find them.

At the time this webpage is being written (mid July 2009), and for at least a couple months previously, anyone who visits the Advertiser website and clicks on the section for "local news" will always find the same four "featured blogs" on the front page. At least three of these four are primarily focused on opinion and should be in the "editorial" section, but they are given maximum visibility (and heightened credibility) by being in the "news" section.

The four blogs are all featured with equal size and stature (and accompanied by thumbnail headshot photos), as follows:

Derrick DePledge: The Notebook
Get a behind-the-scenes look at government and politics.

David Shapiro: Volcanic Ash
A totally independent, slightly irreverent and hopelessly idealistic view. That's David.

Jerry Burris: Akamai Politics
Jerry is blogging on the politics and events of the day.

Trisha Kehaulani Watson: He Hawai'i Au
Dr. Trisha Kehaulani Watson addresses current issues in the Native Hawaiian and environmental communities.

Watson is the only featured blogger whose middle name is included and whose entire name is mentioned twice, the only one whose blog title is not in English, and the only one whose blog title is a racial self-description ["He Hawai'i au" means "I am racially Hawaiian]; and she has the longest topic description.

Derrick DePledge is a longtime news reporter both locally and in the Advertiser's Washington D.C. bureau; David Shapiro is a former editor at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin who has now worked as an Advertiser commentator for many years; and Jerry Burris is a long-time political commentator for the Advertiser who often hosts televised panel discussions on controversial current issues. And then there's Trisha Kehaulani Watson.

Who the heck is she?

Watson's J.D. comes from the University of Hawaii law school. Her Ph.D. came from the (anti)American Studies department at the UH. In that department books by Howard Zinn are required reading. That's the department which sponsored a guest lecture by fake-Indian anti-American radical Ward Churchill who was flown to the UH campus at UH expense just days after the height of his publicity for inflammatory statements about the 9-11 destruction of New York's World Trade Center. She has taught courses at UH in American Studies and History from Fall 2005 through at least Spring 2009. Student evaluations of Dr. Watson published on the internet show that her highest rating is a perfect 5 for "hotness" (she's beautiful) and her next-highest rating is for "easiness." Student comments indicate that [like most leftwing instructors] she appears to be very knowledgeable but comes to class unprepared, teaches disjointed lessons, does not give much written feedback on student writing, and gives grades of "A" even to students who do little work and have poor attendance. Comments also indicate she treats politically conservative or Caucasian students harshly. She is also a community organizer and executive director of a group called Hui Kako'o 'Oiwi (Group Supporting the Hawaiian Race).

On her Honolulu Advertiser featured blog, Watson often writes essays which are explicitly, enthusiastically, and unapologetically racist. But her racism is written in a tone which sounds deceptively sweet and polite. Innocent readers no doubt believe she is simply describing ethnic Hawaiian grievances about disproportional poverty, drug abuse, incarceration, etc; caused by a history of American colonialism and oppression of ethnic Hawaiians. Watson's analyses of the problems, and proposals for solutions, are phrased very gently as might be expected from a beautiful 40-ish woman with a Ph.D. and J.D. But her ideas are like poison. Small doses of arsenic in sweet-tasting cake or tea might not be noticeable, but can be fatal when repeatedly administered over a period of many months.

Everyone is entitled to freedom of expression -- especially a blogger and especially a newspaper. But the open and flagrant racism of this particular blogger is greatly magnified by the fact that among dozens of ordinary members of the public whose blogs are hosted on the Advertiser website, hers is the only one to be publicized with equal prominence to the blogs by three well-known long-time reporters and commentators employed by the Advertiser.

Watson's brief self-description on her blog says: "Trisha Kehaulani Watson was born and raised in Manoa. She is a graduate of Punahou School. She has a J.D. and Ph.D. (American Studies) from the University of Hawai'i, Manoa. She is Native Hawaiian." Like many ethnic Hawaiian activists, she suppresses her non-native name when in the company of other activists and calls herself Kehaulani or, more simply, Kehau.

Her blog is entitled "He Hawai'i Au" which means "I am Hawaiian." In other states anyone who lives there might be a Californian or New Yorker or Hoosier (Indiana); and anyone who was born and raised there would be a "native Californian" of "native New Yorker" or "native Hoosier." But in Hawaii the only people who are customarily allowed to call themselves "Hawaiian" are those who have at least one ancestor who lived in Hawaii before the white guys arrived in 1778. In other words, the label "Hawaiian" should only be used as a racial designation. "Hawaiian" has identical meaning with "Native Hawaiian" or "ethnic Hawaiian." One drop of Hawaiian native blood is both necessary and sufficient for someone to call himself "Hawaiian."

Watson's self-descriptive sentence "He Hawai'i au" in Hawaiian language is not merely a statement of fact. In today's highly racialized environment in Hawaii that sentence is a proud, arrogant, defiant statement of primary identity, somewhat like people 30 years ago saying "I'm black and proud." Nearly everyone who has a drop of Hawaiian native blood also has other racial components to his identity. Indeed, most "Hawaiians" are mostly something other than Hawaiian if blood quantum is the decisive factor. But other ethnicities aren't important and are often not mentioned by people who call themselves "Hawaiian" and especially by those who say "He Hawai'i au."

Watson is executive director of Kakoo Oiwi, a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose name means "support native Hawaiians" but which seems to have few accomplishments and little real-world presence. Her Myspace page seems focused on race and gender, and a sad personal history of divorce and single parenting, describing herself [including the parentheses] as "Kehaulani (more importantly... Kawika's Mommy)." For her Myspace page address she chose the racial descriptor "nativegrrrl" emphasizing her native racial heritage and cutely infantilizing her 40-ish womanhood by calling herself "grrrl."

The following information is not intended to be a personal attack on Watson or her boyfriend; indeed, the boyfriend's name is not provided here in order to protect his privacy (although she wrote it on her Advertiser blog). The reason for giving the following information is to show that racial identity and racial advocacy is the primary focus of her life.

In her Advertiser blog Trisha Watson gave the name of her "boyfriend" -- it is a clearly Hawaiian surname -- and said that the boyfriend worked for 17 years for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (where homestead leases are awarded only to people with at least 50% native blood quantum). She further described him proudly this way: "Only one person in my boyfriend's family was ever not full Hawaiian. His great-great grandmother on his father's side married (and had children with) the son of a foreign diplomat. So when you do the math, he is technically 96.875% Hawaiian and 3.125% French." [actually, those percentages are valid only if the genealogy is restricted to the five generations before her, where 1/32 = 3.125 %. But what about 1500 years of native Hawaiians before that?]

Further research on the boyfriend discloses that he is approximately 50-ish, and recently worked as membership chair for the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, and also currently as Government Relations Manager in the Office of the Chancellor at University of Hawaii. Most significantly, the boyfriend was an elected member of the 'Aha 'Oiwi Hawai'i "Native Hawaiian Convention" -- a group restricted to ethnic Hawaiians, elected entirely by ethnic Hawaiians throughout the world (but primarily in Hawaii), whose expenses were paid with tax dollars, and whose purpose was to reach agreement on a process leading to race-based sovereignty and to create a Constitution. Other internet sources show that in August 2002 Trisha Kehaulani Watson obtained a marriage license for a marriage to the man who is presumably the father of her cherished boy, but whom she subsequently either divorced or separated from. That man has a Portuguese name.

Thus, Watson in effect traded in a man with apparently low native blood quantum (or none) who presumably fathered her child, and replaced him with a man who is nearly "pure" Hawaiian and strongly involved in racial entitlement programs and race-based sovereignty. The trade-in seems to have occurred because of the radicalizing of her attitude as a student at UH Manoa. See a webpage describing at attack on academic freedom at UH Manoa in Fall 2002, when Watson had just married her first husband and was presumably an undergraduate student there: "University of Hawai'i and Hawaiian Sovereignty -- A Case Study in Political Correctness Run Amok"

Why does the Advertiser give her blog such prominence? The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Bishop Estate (Kamehameha Schools) spend tons of money on media advertising, so the media naturally want to please their patrons. During the past ten years at least hundreds of thousands of dollars (probably millions of dollars) have been spent on advertising in the Honolulu Advertiser by The Office of Hawaiian Affairs to promote the Akaka bill and the Kau Inoa racial registry, and by Kamehameha Schools, etc. The Advertiser returns the favor by repeatedly editorializing in favor of the Akaka bill and Kamehameha Schools' racially exclusionary admissions policy. The Advertiser's "news" reporters repeatedly slant the news by the kind of stories they choose to report and the small amount of space given to opposing views. One especially outrageous example was a so-called "news" report by Gordon Pang entitled "Forced assimilation may hurt Hawaiians" -- a typical combination of junk history and junk science fueling the Hawaiian grievance industry, whose absurdity is analyzed and refuted in a 33-page webpage at

Ms. Watson writes well, is highly intelligent, and has outstanding academic credentials with both a Ph.D. and a J.D. So she's a credible representative to write on behalf of an ethnic group. Why does the Advertiser choose to give a prominently featured blog to ethnic Hawaiians and not to any spokesperson for any other ethnic group? Besides the need to please the newspaper's largest advertisers, perhaps the most important reason is because ethnic Hawaiians are Hawaii's most highly favored racial group -- the darlings of entertainment and the media, and often treated as having special rights. It's politically correct for media to support Hawaii's plethora of racial entitlement programs for this particular group, and to support the Akaka bill to create a racially exclusionary government. See "Native Hawaiians as the State Pet or Mascot: A Psychological Analysis of Why the People of Hawaii Tolerate and Irrationally Support Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism" at


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(c) Copyright 2009 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved