Note: This is part 8 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
8. A Little History on Statehood "Celebrations"
Trisha Kehaulani Watson dialog started July 25, 2009
Honolulu Advertiser featured blog He Hawai'i Au
Original essay by Trisha Kehaulani Watson
I may deeply regret posting these videos. This will surely outrage the pro-military crowd, that isn't my intent. I cannot change things have I have said or done, but perhaps they can be used now so we can all learn from them. I simply think it's important to show that the conflict that are manifesting here on this blog are not new - nor are the players. Perhaps what is new is my somewhat tempered response, as you will see from the videos below. And I will explain my reasons for that below.
I'm starting with Aunty Terry Kekoolani's video, to show how these days always start calm and with very good intentions. Yet, as those of us have been to more than one protest know - you can just never know where the day will take you.
I went that day, because I found the idea of having the event at the palace offensive. It just didn't seem appropriate to have it at the palace. Why not have it at the Capitol? Of course, that question is neither here nor there at this point.
I will say that in retrospect it felt like the Hawaiian protesters were setup. This is purely my opinion and not something I've ever discussed with anyone. I say this because the "who's who" of the anti-Hawaiian movement were there - and though I went only to watch and support others, I found myself quickly pulled into the fray. That had not been my plan. I actually had a very big event that night for a number of various political candidates, including Senator Akaka. The last thing I needed was a big fight on my hands. A big fight I nonetheless got.
To be perfectly honest, I actually don't remember how I got pulled into the fighting. I remember one woman tried to stab one of our friends in the eye with an American flag, that got a bunch of us involved. Plus, people from the anti-Hawaiian movement were saying the most horrific things. Things I never wanted to have to hear in my lifetime. Things I certainly wish I could forget. And even when we were able to not respond; they would just say something worse. I think the episode in the video started when I made the mistake of trying to reason with the group - we simply wanted the "celebration" moved to the capitol. It escalated from there.
I will say this: I believe the yelling has its purpose. No, it's not pretty, nor ideal, but perhaps what I understand about my people is that we have been insulted so much and for so long that being able to release that frustration is cathartic. I am thankful for the time I took to be angry. I'm not angry anymore. I'm not even angry at those who fight against Hawaiians. I'm simply sad for them, even a little thankful to them. Having those anti-Hawaiian movement leaders there, constantly taunting me, helped drive me. They continue to drive me. We saw Ken Conklin with his website and PhD and said to ourselves: We can do that too, and do it so much better. And we have.
I recently had a conversation with a dear friend of mine (who also recently finished his PhD and is now finishing his first book with Duke University Press) about how we find great satisfaction in the fact that the very same anti-Hawaiian activists that we constantly had to respond to as students are now responding to us. It is a sign that our movement has grown and is gaining ground. Hawaiians have a whole new generation of bright, brilliant, educated leaders. Those who fight us cannot say the same.
Back to that day three years ago, and the "Muslim" comment. As you can see, I actually had no idea how to respond. Clearly, she was trying to insult me. I didn't find it insulting. I had to actually watch the video to remember what I said. It literally all became a blur.
The bottom line is this: I don't yell anymore. It's exactly what they want. They want us to scream and look crazy. I saw this video and hated the fact that I was shouting (although I clearly remember from the chaos that there was no other way to be heard). I hated that a small snipet could be taken out of an event that lasted hours and twisted to misshape everything that happened that day. I hated that the media twisted everything the next morning. I don't yell anymore. I don't insult. They are undeserving of that energy. They want us to behave in ways that are not reflective of who we are. And I won't give them the satisfaction.
** Reply by Ken Conklin
First let me say how sad I am that Trisha Watson continues to try to stir up anger and bitterness by repeatedly using the term "anti-Hawaiian" or "fight against Hawaiians." She uses those terms to describe patriotic Americans (including ethnic Hawaiians) who are working to protect equal rights under the law and to protect the unity of Hawaii under the sovereignty of the United States. Here are 4 times she used that term in this one message:
 " ... the "who's who" of the anti-Hawaiian movement were there ..."
 "Plus, people from the anti-Hawaiian movement were saying the most horrific things."
"I'm not even angry at those who
 fight against Hawaiians. I'm simply sad for them, even a little thankful to them. Having
 those anti-Hawaiian movement leaders there ..."
Let me be very clear -- this is not about being anti-Hawaiian or fighting against Hawaiians. I firmly believe that most ethnic Hawaiians hold pretty much the same views I hold regarding partiotism toward the USA. We support the unity of Hawaii with the U.S. and therefore we oppose the independence movement. We support the unity of Hawaii under a single sovereignty and therefore we oppose the Akaka bill. We believe all people are equal in the eyes of God (Constitution of 1840 "God has made of one blood all races of people to dwell upon this Earth in unity and blerssedness") and we believe our government should treat us all equally under the law; and therefore we oppose racial entitlement programs and all proposals for independence which would create first-class citizenship for "indigenous people" and second-class citizenship for everyone else.
I know that many readers of this blog will disagree with me on the beliefs I have expressed in the above paragraph. Go ahead and disagree all you want. The point I'm making here is that there is nothing "anti-Hawaiian" about those beliefs. There is nothing racist about working to support those beliefs. Racism is the belief that people possessing a specific ancestry should have special rights solely on account of that ancestry. Racism is the attempt to set up a government to exercise power over people to relegate most of the population to second-class citizenship solely on account of race. I am fighting that racism.
To call this "anti-Hawaiian" is absurd. Many important leaders and members of "Aloha For All" are in fact ethnic Hawaiians. Perhaps the most famous of them is Kumu Rubellite Kawena Kinney Johnsom, Professor Emerita of Hawaiian language and literature, for whom I created a webpage to include her testimony against the Akaka bill, and including portions of her resume. I am proud to have her as a very dear friend. See
Another important leader is Sandra Puanani Burgess. In addition to Ms. Burgess there have been several other ethnic Hawaiians among the plaintiffs in various lawsuits to desegregate candidacy for OHA trustee and to dismantle OHA. Bill Punini Prescott, a Hawaiian homesteader in Nanakuli, has posted replies to some entries on this blog to defend the use of Makua for military training and against the Hawaiian separatists who harass the military for secessionist political purposes (and he speaks on behalf of numerous military veterans including ethnic Hawaiians).
So please, Ms. Watson, cut the hate-speech using terms like "anti-Hawaiian." First because it's false. And second because the primary purpose of such hate speech (or at least the primary outcome of using it) it to turn a political issue into a racial one and to stir up anger.
Regarding what actually happened at the Palace on Statehood Day 2006: see a compilation of news reports and commentaries at
Regarding the fact that Iolani Palace is exactly the right place for a Statehood Day celebration because it is the place where the transition to Statehood took place in 1959, see a compilation of news reports, photos, and commentaries from 1959, at
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