Note: This is part 4 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
["I see the world as being binary: Hawai'i (Hawaiians or Native Hawaiians) and haole (non-Hawaiians). ... if you can trace your lineage back to at least one ancestor who was here prior to western contact, then you are Hawaiian."]
Trisha Kehaulani Watson dialog started May 29, 2009
Honolulu Advertiser featured blog He Hawai'i Au
Original essay by Trisha Kehaulani Watson
I had not intended for the last blog to become a series, but not only did I get comments and emails – I also got phone calls from friends. I take this to be a sign that this issue of ancestry needs to be discussed more.
The most concerning email came from a former student who felt that somehow the blog was my qualifying him as not being "Hawaiian enough."
This deserves a response.
I see the world as being binary: Hawai'i (Hawaiians or Native Hawaiians) and haole (non-Hawaiians). If you have one single Native Hawaiian ancestor, you are Hawai'i (Hawaiian or Native Hawaiian). If you do not, regardless of your ancestry (i.e., I don't care where you came from), you are haole (non-Hawaiian).
I put as much judgment into my binary ancestral universe as one would a binary numeral scheme (which is where binaries are typical used), meaning I don't put any judgment into whether or not one is Hawaiian or haole. Is it what it is. We are who we are. My mother is haole. My father is Hawaiian. I love them both equally.
While I do think ancestry matters, I think it is most appropriate to judge a person based on their character and their actions, a point well made in a comment on the last blog.
There are at least two problems we face when discussing being "Hawaiian": first, this is an emotional issue, so it makes it difficult for people to discuss. Two, we (as a community) spend too long debating the threshold requirements for being considered Hawaiian that we can never get to the more nuanced discussion about resource allocation, like in my last blog.
In my opinion, if you can trace your lineage back to at least one ancestor who was here prior to western contact, then you are Hawaiian.
by Ken Conklin:
Responding to Ms. Watson's essay "Hawaiian Enough."
First, I reiterate my lengthy comment to her previous post on being Native -- Watson's essay is a confession of her Hawaiian religious fascism.
She sums it up well when she says in this newer essay: "I see the world as being binary: Hawai'i (Hawaiians or Native Hawaiians) and haole (non-Hawaiians)"
Yup. It's us vs. them.
Watson's attempt to create a continuum of Hawaiian-ness measured by percentage of blood quantum is both ludicrous and offensive.
Those ethnic Hawaiians who protest against Watson's use of percentage to quantify who is more Hawaiian than whom, should consider this: Yes, blood quantum is highly divisive inside the ethnic Hawaiian community. Very controversial. I agree with those who consider it to be grossly inappropriate.
And so I hope that those who object to distinguishing between 50%ers as more worthy and one-droppers as less worthy should please consider this: it is equally disgusting and divisive to distinguish between one-droppers and no-droppers.
How much native blood quantum should be necessary to qualify someone for government handouts? I say that even one drop is far too high a requirement. The blood quantum required for government handouts should be zero.
The title Ms. Watson gave to this new essay is "Hawaiian Enough."
That's exactly the concept explored in a series of one-minute audios, and accompanying videos, collected at
Better call out the Koko-Kops. Here are some no-droppers who are clearly entitled to be called Hawaiian: These are the audios/videos most directly on-point regarding "Hawaiian enough" (as focused on the Akaka bill)
Kamakakehau Fernandez is African-American by blood, born in Arkansas, adopted into a Hawaiian family on Maui. He grew up speaking Hawaiian and is a talented performer of Hawaiian language music. But according to the Akaka Bill he is not considered Hawaiian.
Keoni 'Olohana was Kamehameha The Great's closest military advisor. Kamehameha made him Governor of Hawaii Island. His son Keoni Ana was Kuhina Nui (second in command) to Kamehameha III. 'Olohana's granddaughter was Queen Emma. His burial place in the Royal Mausoleum is guarded with sacred kapu sticks. Yet the Akaka Bill says he is not Hawaiian.
Father Damien volunteered to live with and minister to victims of leprosy in Kalaupapa, Moloka'i, knowing he would catch the disease and die. He will be named a saint in Fall 2009. Nearly all those he helped were Hawaiian natives. Yet the Akaka Bill would refuse to recognize him as Hawaiian solely because of his race.
Mau Piailug is the Micronesian who taught today's Hawaiians the long-forgotten skill of how to navigate voyaging canoes using the stars and natural environment, as their ancestors did when first settling Hawaii. But according to the Akaka Bill Mau Piailug and other Micronesians would not merit equal treatment under the law in Hawaii.
by Jere Krischel:
Why not consider yourself "Tahitian" since the conquerors of the original Marquesans in Hawaii actually came from Tahiti?
Hawaii is a place, not a race, and anyone can be Hawaiian, no matter what their bloodline is.
My question to you is, once every "Hawaiian" by your one drop definition is 99.9999% white, and only .0001% "Hawaiian", is it going to be proper to give them special privileges over 100% micronesians, or filipinos, or chinese, or portuguese, who have lived in Hawaii for over 1000 years?
The problem with your binary definition is that it doesn't seem to have an expiration date. My assertion would be that given the multi-cultural and multi-racial mixture of Hawaii, that expiration date has already been passed.
Rebuttal by Molo:
Some things that Dr. Conklin and J. Krischel might consider.
First, koko, blood quantums were first imposed on Hawaiians during inactment of the 1920 Hawaiian Homes Act by the U.S. government. A government predominantly controlled by white males. members of Congress along with the sugar lobby wanted a requirement of 1/2 koko for eligibility for a Hawaiian homestead. Prince Jonah Kuhio, representing Hawai'i in Washington, D.C., wanted no blood quantum at all. By imposing a quantum, the U.S. government effectively reduced the number of Hawaiians who received homesteads on much coveted sugar land. This can be corroborated from records within the Dept. of Interior. Prince Kuhio eventually gave in and the HHA was passed. Quantums, which are dispicable, have continued and plagued Hawaiians as well as non Hawaiians to this day. They are divisive government instruments that are still being used in Colombia to control the natives.
Secondly, Krishel, for someone who doesn't believe there is such a thing as racial groups, to promote Tahitians as such a group is hypocritical. It matters not whether early settlers were Marquesean, Tahitian, Samoan, Menehune, Irish, whatever. What culture that finally developed from these people became uniquely recognized as Hawaiian. So, if your ancesters were part of this development, you can consider yourself Hawaiian. If your ancesters arrived later to contribule, you can call yourself whatever you like
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