Note: This is part 9 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
9. Where Do We Go from Here?
Trisha Kehaulani Watson dialog started August 4, 2009
Honolulu Advertiser featured blog He Hawai'i Au
Original essay by Trisha Kehaulani Watson
Where Do We Go from Here?
"Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten....America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness--justice."
Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.
Clearly, Hawaiian political issues and what the future of Hawaiians should be in Hawai'i remain a site of considerable disagreement and tension in here. I would like to know what everyone thinks:
Where do we go from here? How do we begin to resolve these conflicts? What should the goal for Hawaiians be?
I would like to hear suggestions from everyone.
** Reply by Ken Conklin
Where do we go from here?
Martin Luther King's 1967 book title seems especially appropriate: Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? If we follow the path of grievance, bitterness, racial separatism and ethnic nationalism, there will be chaos. I support community.
Therefore I support unity and equality. The unity of all Hawaii's people under a single sovereignty, the equality of all people in the eyes of God, and the equal treatment of all citizens by the government.
I endorse the statements of three people who wrote far more eloquently than I can.
What a beautiful and eloquently expressed concept was written in Hawaii's Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1839, which became the preamble to the Constitution of 1840, under Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III. This was the first sentence of Hawaii's first Constitution.
"Ua hana mai ke Akua i na lahuikanaka a pau i ke koko hookahi, e noho like lakou ma ka honua nei me ke kuikahi, a me ka pomaikai."
In English, it can be translated into modern usage as follows: "God has made of one blood all races of people to dwell upon this Earth in unity and blessedness."
In 1995, in a Supreme Court decision Adarand vs. Pena, Justice Scalia wrote:
"[U]nder our Constitution there can be no such thing as either a creditor or a debtor race. That concept is alien to the Constitution's focus upon the individual ... To pursue the concept of racial entitlement -- even for the most admirable and benign of purposes -- is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred. In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American."
In February 2000 Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion for the U.S. Supreme Court 7-2 decision in Rice v. Cayetano. Here is the final paragraph of that decision -- another eloquent statement of where we are now and where we should go from here:
"When the culture and way of life of a people are all but engulfed by a history beyond their control, their sense of loss may extend down through generations; and their dismay may be shared by many members of the larger community. As the State of Hawaii attempts to address these realities, it must, as always, seek the political consensus that begins with a sense of shared purpose. One of the necessary beginning points is this principle: The Constitution of the United States, too, has become the heritage of all the citizens of Hawaii."
** Reply by TITA INSIDE:
Ken Conklin -- do not profess to know our history!!!! It is because of you and people of your ilk that confuses people and makes them doubt. Although it makes me laugh to know that american history is now being deleated from the school's teachings-perhaps thats due to the lies/propaganda of the decades.
When justice is finally served to the hawaiians please do not even think that you would be included. You see, my "dream" position with the return of the real government, I would be the one to determine whom would be allowed to apply for hawaiian citizenship. I would carry two stamps -- would be on the lookout for your application -- it would be my absolute pleasure to label yours -- Request Denied
** Reply by Ryan:
Ken, that's great that you support unity and equality for all. It seems like you have your work cut out for you. Is there equality in our justice system or other areas in our government? Also, does your definition of equality only extend to certain people of a defined ethnicity, sexual orientation, and national origin? I've never seen your name or photo in any article relating to same sex marriage, religious issues or other race based issues. Only issues regarding Native Hawaiian rights seem to turn you on.
** Reply by Manoaborn:
It makes me sad to see the people divided so by race. I was born in Hawaii, my father was born in Hawaii. I am haole, though, and felt like a second class citizen most of my life. The anger expressed by people today because of wrongs committed decades (and hundreds of years) ago provide no benefit to anyone. It only keeps us apart and afraid.
** Response to Ryan by Ken:
Ryan: I'll respond to you point by point. Pardon the length of my reply. It's easy to ask a question in a single sentence, which might require many paragraphs to answer. I'm assuming your questions were not merely rhetorical put-downs, but were sincere.
R: Is there equality in our justice system or other areas in our government?
K: Of course nothing on this Earth is perfect. But I think it's important to have the goal of equality and work hard to achieve it. I favor equality of opportunity, which however does not guarantee equality of outcome. I favor equal rights under the law, but recognizing that wealthy people can hire better lawyers than poor people. The important issue for this blog is that government should not single out any racial group for special benefits or special detriments.
R: Also, does your definition of equality only extend to certain people of a defined ethnicity, sexual orientation, and national origin?
K: No, my support for equality extends to all people regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin, and all such categories.
R: I've never seen your name or photo in any article relating to same sex marriage, religious issues or other race based issues. Only issues regarding Native Hawaiian rights seem to turn you on.
K: Ryan, everyone is entitled to spout off on any topic, whether or not they have expert knowledge. I choose to talk about things I know about, rather than spout off about things where my opinion has no expert knowledge behind it. I also choose to focus on the most complex, difficult, and dangerous civil rights issue in the place where I live (Hawaii). I choose to concentrate my energies on what I consider most important. I prefer to be narrow and deep rather than wide and superficial. But I have spoken out on a few other civil rights topics (see below). Now let me further explain each part of that answer.
You are correct that the area of civil rights I have focused on most intensely is Hawaiian sovereignty. That's because my area of greatest expertise is Hawaiian sovereignty. I am very knowledgeable about Hawaiian history, the ancient Hawaiian religion, some aspects of Hawaiian culture, and I speak Hawaiian language with moderate fluency. My Ph.D. is in Philosophy, and M.S. in Mathematics. Those degrees, and numerous publications in academic journals, certify that I know how to think logically, write clearly, and have expertise in those areas.
But scholars often select particular specialties for deeper study after completing their degrees. For the past 17 years, since "retiring" and moving to Hawaii permanently in 1992, I have devoted full-time to studying Hawaiian sovereignty -- far more than any other topic I previously studied. I spent the first five years reading, listening and learning, without writing or saying anything on the topic. In addition to being the best customer at the library, I have talked with hundreds of people informally in their homes and "on the street" about Hawaiian sovereignty and history, and attended hundreds of sovereignty forums, rallies, and marches. I think my clear expertise is the reason why some people make such ridiculous and intense personal attacks on me -- they know that I know my facts and I thoroughly understand what they are thinking and feeling even if they are sometimes not very good at saying it; and they know they cannot match either my expertise or my genuine desire for unity and equality.
Why do I focus on Hawaiian sovereignty and usually do not deal with other civil rights issues or other ethnicities? Because the only ethnic group some of whose leaders are seeking a race-based government of its own is ethnic Hawaiians. There is nothing like the Akaka bill to give governmental authority on a racially exclusionary basis to any other ethnic group. As soon as the acronym OHA comes to mean Office of Haole Affairs, you will see me opposing it. The only ethnic group having large and powerful racially exclusionary institutions is ethnic Hawaiians. That's why the targets of my civil rights activism are those ethnic Hawaiians who operate, or advocate in favor of, these illegal and immoral proposals and institutions. I have no quarrel with ethnic requirements for Narcissus queen or Cherry Blossom queen, or the See Dai Doo Society, etc. because those are small institutions that neither exercise nor seek government powers.
To that vast majority of ethnic Hawaiians who do not support such illegal or immoral things: I have no quarrel with you and I wholeheartedly love, respect, and support your cultural heritage. I have only moderate fluency in Hawaiian and do not claim to be an expert in the language, but what I do claim is that the time and effort I have spent learning the language and culture are clear evidence of my love and respect.
To those ethnic Hawaiians who accept benefits from such racially exclusionary programs: I ask you to reconsider the morality of what you are doing. Just as some white people on the mainland, who formerly belonged to racist organizations or lived in racially exclusionary communities eventually figured out that what they were doing was wrong, and changed their behavior; I hope ethnic Hawaiians will step away from such programs (although I do understand that some programs provide great benefits to some people who are truly needy and who will have difficulty making the moral choice to step away from them).
To those ethnic Hawaiians who are leaders in such racially exclusionary institutions, or who actively work for racial separatism or ethnic nationalism: you are my political enemy, and it should come as no surprise that I attack your ideas.
Finally, Ryan asked whether I have spoken out on other civil rights issues. Ryan mentioned same-gender marriage. I provided 5 pages of testimony on the civil unions bill in the 2009 Legislature, which anyone can look up on the Legislature's "testimony" webpage for that bill. A too-quick summary of my opinion, as expressed in that testimony, is this: I believe that government should stay out of both religion and the bedroom. I believe the only kind of relationships that the government should certify are civil unions under a concept similar to corporate partnerships, where partners have both rights and responsibilities enforced by law (and such partnerships might include more than two people, regardless of gender, and regardless of their sexual activities or non-activities). I believe that marriage should be solely a matter of religion, where two or more people who feel themselves to be spiritually unified may declare themselves to be married and may, if they wish, ask a church or other religious organization to bless their marriage as a union of souls in the eyes of God. People might be married and then either seek or not seek a government-recognized civil union; or people might have a government recognized civil union and then either seek or not seek to be married. I believe government should not provide any special benefits, such as tax breaks, to people who are merely married, because marriage would be a religious commitment outside of any regulation or supervision by government. I have not yet reached any conclusion regarding whether society should provide special benefits (such as tax breaks) to people who have a civil union -- on one hand people who have a legally enforceable civil contract to support each other financially (and to support children) are relieving the government of the need to provide such support, so perhaps they should get tax breaks. On the other hand, maybe every individual should be taxed on the same basis as every other individual regardless whether they are a partner in a civil union or not, and regardless whether they have children. I'm open to persuasion on these issues, but in any case they are beyond the scope of this blog, so I'm a little unhappy that Ryan asked about them. I hope to figure out my views on civil unions and marriage with greater clarity and logic later this year in order to be more effective in influencing the legislature (as though they listen to us anyway!).
On other civil rights topics: Just a couple days ago I posted a new webpage entitled "Abortion and civil rights -- A woman's right to terminate her pregnancy does not necessarily conflict with the right of an unborn baby to live." And a few years ago I posted a webpage entitled "Life and Death -- Moral Shades of Gray" in which I linked together and discussed the logical and moral interconnections among contraception, abortion, suicide, euthanasia, capital punishment, etc. It's all on my website. Go all the way to the bottom of the front page to look for the subpages on "scholarly essays" and/or "other topics." Enjoy!
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