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Today's second entry in racial politics comes from an unlikely source -- the 50th state and tropical paradise, Hawaii. Activists for native Hawaiians who can trace their geneaology to the time of the Hawaiian monarchy want to establish an autonomous reservation system on the Pacific archipelago, similar to those granted to Native American tribes in North America. Despite the decades of corruption and poverty these examples created for Native Americans, Lawrence Downes and the New York Times considers this a splenid idea:
Over decades, the islands emerged as a vibrant multiracial society and the proud 50th state. Hawaiian culture - language and art, religion and music - has undergone a profound rebirth since the 1970's. But underneath this modern history remains a deep sense of dispossession among native Hawaiians, who make up about 20 percent of the population.
Into the void has stepped Senator Daniel Akaka, the first native Hawaiian in Congress, who is the lead sponsor of a bill to extend federal recognition to native Hawaiians, giving them the rights of self-government as indigenous people that only American Indians and native Alaskans now enjoy. The Akaka bill has the support of Hawaii's Congressional delegation, the State Legislature and even its Republican governor, Linda Lingle. It will go before the Senate for a vote as soon as next week.
The bill would allow native Hawaiians - defined, in part, as anyone with indigenous ancestors living in the islands before the kingdom fell - to elect a governing body that would negotiate with the federal government over land and other natural resources and assets. There is a lot of money and property at stake, including nearly two million acres of "ceded lands," once owned by the monarchy; hundreds of thousands of acres set aside long ago for Hawaiian homesteaders; and hundreds of millions of dollars in entitlement programs.
Despite the sudden shift of control over millions of acres of land from presumably both private and public control to a reservation and access to hundreds of millions of dollars, both Senator Akaka and Downes promise that the bill will "preclude radical outcomes". How, exactly, does the shift of so much in real and financial estates fail to qualify as "radical"? Confiscating these lands and the federal assistance monies for the use of people based on racial classification appears quite a radical departure from the current philosophy of mainstreaming and integration that has guided the federal government over the past four decades.
Does anyone still believe that "separate but equal" constitutes anything except an oxymoron?
Creating another reservation system will only stoke the fires of a new racial divide, despite the suggestions that a new American apartheid and Bantustan system will somehow provide "reconciliation". As Downes himself noted, Bill Clinton included Hawaii and the 1893 removal of the monarchy in his Apology Tour, a gesture that at first brought acclaim but later encouraged the small group of separatists to demand reparations from the US government. This new bill continues to pander to these activists, most of whom won't be happy unless the US allows Hawaii to secede.
Let's quit accommodating those who want to live in the warm cocoon of the slights in the past. Separatist movements have no place in the United States. Given the track record of the reservation systems for maintaining viability for the Native Americans, we should avoid duplicating that system at all costs. As long as we keep creating new race-based public policies, we will never achieve true reconciliation or equality for Americans of all backgrounds and ethnicities. (via Michelle Malkin)Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Hawaii is American from Hoosier Illuminati
I thought we settled this in 1898. Anyone reading a history of the Hawaiian Islands (and I would suggest Gavan Davis's Shoal of Time for that purpose) has to come away with the idea that no modern government of Hawaii was ever native. You can g...[Read More]
Tracked on July 12, 2005 8:59 AM
» Da Kine Lolo Idea from Slublog
Spahk, da kine Daniel Akaka want Hawaiians run eriding. Da kine buggah wants foa pass junk bill making Hawaii brahs like kine Indian tribes. Boddah you? I have moa bettah idea. Nuff already wit da like kine identity politics. Okay,... [Read More]
Tracked on July 12, 2005 12:30 PM
» Political Correctness from ShrinkWrapped
The Gap: Political Correctness impairs one's ability to think and reason. When you are unable to call a thing by its name, you have no power over it; just as in magic, to name a thing is to have some [Read More]
Tracked on July 12, 2005 4:50 PM
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