On November 15, 2002 the student newspaper "Ka Leo" at the University of Hawai'i re-published an exchange of letters-to-editor that it had originally published in September 1990. The letter from Professor Haunani-Kay Trask was viciously anti-American and anti-white. Re-publishing it naturally provoked some responses. Indeed, the leftist editors of "Ka Leo" probably did the re-publication intentionally to encourage the sort of responses below. The first published reply was on November 25 from student Travis Barksdale, defending American patriotism and criticizing Professor Trask for being a bad role model for UH students. Barksdale's article provoked an onslaught of anti-American and anti-white replies from other students who have clearly fallen under the evil influence of Professor Trask. Reading those replies confirms how difficult it would be to maintain any semblance of academic freedom or balanced inquiry at UH on the issue of Hawaiian sovereignty.
For the articles from 1990 by student Joey Carter and Professor Haunani-Kay Trask, republished in November 2002, which elicited the following responses, see:
Trask doesn't realize her American privilege
Ka Leo Staff Columnist
November 25, 2002
Every night around eight o'clock I get in my car and drive to the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe. I lift weights for about an hour and then jog around the base for three to four miles. It's a beautiful run. It's quiet, peaceful, and the sound of the ocean with the wind at your back is all I need to realize how great my life is. At what cost do I have such a great life? The expense of my great life lies with the men and women whose houses I jog by every night. Tomorrow they can be leaving their homes and families to protect my everyday life in some foreign land. I wonder how many people ever think about that? I do not feel that many do.
How many people have stood at the docks and watched their loved ones, with their whole life packed in a duffel bag, load up on a ship and sail away? Watch, as Dad kisses his wife goodbye, his six-year-old son and four-year-old daughter embrace their father around his legs with tears in their eyes. When you have done that, come home and watch your mother pack her bags, too, because she might be on the next boat leaving as well. While she is doing that read the newspaper. When you come to the part where Haunani-Kay Trask, professor of Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, says that the United States is the axis of evil, let me know if your stomach turns.
Whether Professor Trask likes it or not, she is a role model in our community by virtue of her profession. She should not make such ignorant remarks based on emotion rather than fact. It is appalling to me because she is in a profession where many pay to hear her teach. Even if she is at a rally, Professor Trask is still a role model. Professor Trask has every right to say what ever she wants. Our U.S. Constitution gives her that right. She can say these things without fear for her own life because of the country that she is condemning. If Professor Trask thinks it to be so bad here I would ask her to go to Iraq. Have her stand there in her American attire and all her makeup and say that Iraq is an axis of evil. She would be executed. In Iraq, her husband can say she was having an affair, regardless if it was true or not, and she would be put to death. Here, she does not have to worry about people coming to her home late at night and taking her away. Professor Trask must have forgotten that in some places women are less than second-class citizens.
Today, the official count of illegal immigrants was announced on the news. Stating that 13 million people live in this country illegally. If America is so bad, why do others risk their entire life and everything they have to live here? I am sure by now everyone has seen the boat full of Haitians jumping off into the ocean swimming for the U.S. coastline. Did that look like a desperate attempt to flee this terrible nation? Quite contraire I think. I don't see people fleeing to Iraq or North Korea.
If Professor Trask and others are so disenfranchised with America and are that unhappy, then leave. Go live where you think it's better. Move to the countries where these people are fleeing from and let me know if you live the same life as you do here in America. I am not saying that you can't speak your mind. That is one of the great freedoms of being in America. Have you ever heard that cliche, "I don't agree with what you say but I will give my life defending your right to say it." But what Professor Trask says is wrong and appalling to the many men and women who defend this great nation.
We live in a fee capitalist society. You or I can walk down the street and wear what ever we want and speak our minds. We live in a society where citizens can get the best of educations, practice their own religions, and make as much money as they want. We have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have these rights today because of the great generations before us who fought to ensure that our lives would not end up like those in countries they fought against.
Right now, somewhere in the world a soldier is sitting in a sand-hole in the Middle East. Another one is walking the fence line that guards a border from a hostile nation. Somewhere today women like mother, an army nurse corps officer, are in a hospital providing care to those who need it. Because of all these people we will have our freedoms tomorrow.
Columnist should re-think U.S. pride
By Keoni Bunag
November 27, 2002
It would be shameful of me if I do not address the article, "Trask doesn't realize her American privilege" that was published in Ka Leo on Nov. 25, 2002. Granted, there are many people who are very thankful for their American privilege, but do not be mistaken, there are also many people who aren't very thankful, nor do they consider themselves Americans. I'm sure that there are people who will agree with the article, and then there will be those who don't. Let's keep in mind, not all of us are as privileged as Travis Barksdale, the author of the article, that we can get in our car every night and drive to the Marine Corps Base in Kane'ohe for a workout.
This quiet and peaceful place that Barksdale describes is the final resting place for many of our ancestors. Yet, we are restricted from entering this place for traditional practices and beach access. This is also true with the rest of the military bases occupying Hawai'i, such as Pohakuloa, Bellows and Lualualei. I'm not sure how many years Barksdale has resided in Hawai'i, but what I do know is that through those years, whether it was one or 20, he has remained ignorant to the fact that he has not educated himself with the history of Hawai'i.
As for Dr. Haunani-Kay Trask and her comment "the United States is the axis of evil," my stomach does not turn; rather, it rejoices in hearing such a statement. From the beginning, the United States of America has committed acts of genocide, slavery and theft. Let me ask you, Mr. Barksdale, a few questions:
1. Did you find pride in America when they killed over 10 million Native American Indians to gain control of the land? (And this included orders by your country's founding fathers such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson to kill any Native American Indian that resisted their expansion).
2. Did you find pride in America when they dragged slaves away from their homes to come and work, as slaves, in another country? (And you called us Hawaiians lazy. What a joke!)
3. Did you find pride in America even when they illegally invaded the Hawaiian Islands, illegally overthrew their government, illegally annexed their home, banned their native tongue and suppressed the people?
If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions, I believe that it is you — not I, nor Dr. Trask, nor any other individual that stands in the same position as me — that is ignorant. You are the ignorant one, Mr. Barksdale. Next time you choose to take such a position on an issue, or even on a person that you know nothing about, I suggest that you save yourself the embarrassment and not write.
Before ending this, I must say, I could do an entire term paper refuting the inaccurate, the ignorant, the ill-researched and even the racist comments Mr. Barksdale has made.
Also, I would like to address just one more comment that Mr. Barksdale makes. He states, "If Professor Trask and others are so disenfranchised with America and are that unhappy, then leave." Wait a minute now, why should we leave?
Our families have populated this land long before the infectious-diseased Captain Cook set foot on these islands. You, Mr. Barksdale, should be the one to leave. Do not tell me to leave my home when my family, and many other families, have inhabited these islands long before Cook's arrival. There is no better place for me to be than home, here in these islands. If you, Mr. Barksdale, are so unhappy about the native people still being around, still believing in fighting for what is right, and, even more threatening, still getting educated, then YOU LEAVE!
Keoni Bunag is a Senior majoring in Hawaiian Studies
History of Hawai'i escapes the mind of clueless 'Patriot'
By Robert Wilson
November 27, 2002
In regards to the article, "Trask doesn't realize her American privilege," "The Patriot" blasts Hawaiian Studies Professor Haunani Trask, saying she doesn't realize the awesome privilege being bestowed upon her by living in America. He states that he was appalled by the anti-American comments made by Professor Trask. He also suggests that "if Professor Trask and others are so disenfranchised with America and are that unhappy, then leave." He also writes, "She should not make such ignorant remarks based on emotion rather than fact." Allow me to explain a little something to him about IGNORANCE.
Ignorance is when someone jumps head first into something they know NOTHING about, like what The Patriot has just done. He says Professor Trask and others are ungrateful for the wondrous gifts of freedom and protection given them by the United States. I ask, what freedom and what protection? Does he mean the freedom that was stripped from the peoples of Hawai'i in 1893, when the Kingdom of Hawai'i became a symbol of the United States' feeble attempt at colonialism? The overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai'i stood against everything America was built upon. When you invade a country and subject its citizens to your rule, you are not granting them freedom, and to think so is ignorant.
What about protection? Does The Patriot say America is protecting Hawai'i? More like Hawai'i is protecting America. It doesn't take a military genius to see the value of a Pacific buffer zone that would protect the Western Seaboard of the United States. That is exactly what Hawai'i is.
And if America is protecting Hawai'i, might I ask from what? The United States sure didn't do too much protecting on Dec. 7, 1941, when they managed to let an entire Japanese naval fleet slip "undetected" into Hawaiian waters and decimate the U.S. naval forces at Pearl Harbor. Then, during the attack, U.S. soldiers managed to kill and injure hundreds of local citizens when anti-aircraft shells from U.S. guns fell back into Honolulu, causing much of the civilian damage during the attack. Is that The Patriot's idea of protection? Perhaps it is to the ignorant.
And finally, to ask that Professor Trask and her supporters leave their homeland, which was invaded by America, is ignorant. May I remind The Patriot that Hawaiians were here first. Maybe I should go to Podunk, Iowa, or wherever The Patriot is from, take the town by force and then tell all the inhabitants to leave if they don't like it. Perhaps if he took a Hawaiian Studies class he would then understand where Professor Trask is coming from.
Instead, The Patriot, "appalled" by the comments of Professor Trask, decides to inform everyone of why the Professor has it all wrong. He, just like the United States, has become what they set out to destroy. The Patriot should not make such ignorant remarks based on emotion rather than fact.
Robert Wilson resides in Kane'ohe, HI
Trask a role model for change, equity
By Kawika Baker
November 27, 2002
I was simply astonished at the level of Travis Barksdale's ignorance and stupidity regarding his Ka Leo column (Nov. 25, 2002). Had he studied anything about Hawaiians since his haole ass got here, he would have become aware that he and his beloved U.S. military have done much worse than Trask's so-called name-calling.
Had Barksdale's haole ass studied anything related to Hawaii's history or people, he would have realized that, for one, he was an idiot. Secondly, realizing that he was an idiot, he would not have submitted his ill-prepared and idiotic piece on Haunani-Kay Trask because he, the idiot that he is, would have discovered the following:
1. Kane'ohe Marine Base sits on native land, the land of my ancestors, not his. Since taking control, the Kane'ohe Marines have criminalized swimming, surfing, fishing and traditional gathering rights. In place of these ancient and traditional practices, Travis gets to jog.
2. The mere fact that Barksdale can drive into Kane'ohe Marine Base at night is truly remarkable in itself. People who lived on that land for thousands of years can't even walk there anymore, not even in the daytime. However, Hawaiians would not want to go on there now. Not with the military abusing the land like it does its wives.
3. Haunani is a role model. She's just not a role model to white people that share your narrow view of the world. All the same, she is definitely a leader to Hawaiians. The 500,000+ Honolulu Advertiser readers voted and declared her Hawaii's most revered female leader last year.
4. Haunani has shared her view with indigenous people worldwide for more than 30 years and has been the recipient of numerous death threats. Her life was considered to be in mortal danger many times. As a result, numerous law enforcement agencies have been called in countless times to the Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies. Nevertheless, her message of Hawaiian independence and her commitment to her peoples' welfare is unfaltering and has won her praise from Nelson Mandela, Ngugi Wa Thiongo, Winona LaDuke, Angela Davis, the United Nations, etc. Who praises Barksdale for his actions? What's more, what has Travis done for Hawaiian people since coming here? Nothing, 'cept bitch and moan.
5. Haunani does not wear "American attire," nor does she wear makeup. She travels the globe with indigenous leaders from around the world in her native attire, a simple native-woven pareo. She gives lectures to standing-room crowds at the University of California-Berkeley, UCLA, UC-Santa Barbara, Stanford, and is set to open Spain's Legislature in three weeks — all in her native garb. She also attended the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa — in this same attire. In case Travis was wondering, this was the conference that Travis Barksdale's military leaders walked out of because they could not accept the world telling them of their racist policies towards people of color. Maybe if Travis attended one of these forums he would have noticed that Haunani does not wear "American attire" (whatever that is). But that is not what idiots do. They just whine — like Barksdale.
Lastly, Barksdale would have realized that Hawai'i is a nation that was illegally taken by the United States. The Apology Bill 105-107 affirms this and recognizes that due to the ignorance and greed of white folk, like Barksdale, Hawaii's Queen was illegally dethroned and imprisoned in 1893. Thus, the Hawaiian nation was stolen by none other than ... U.S. Marines! Since then, Hawaiians and the United States have moved forward with different forms of recognition and political relationships in the hope of returning Hawaii's land to her people — the kanaka maoli.
That being said, Travis Barksdale should read Haunani Trask's "From a Native Daughter." Then he should read "Native Lands, Foreign Desires" by Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa, followed by Jon Osorio's "Dismembering Lahui" and Noenoe Silva's dissertation on the "Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom." Afterwards, when he is done contemplating his stupidity, he should take the next continental flight out of here. His ignorant haole ass is not welcome on our 'aina — per kanaka maoli!
Kawika Baker is a Senior majoring in Political Science
Lock your doors
I am writing in response to "Trask doesn't realize her American privilege," written by Travis Barksdale.
Why does Barksdale feel he has the right to invite a Native woman to leave her own homeland? She is not the settler. She is not the colonizer. She is not the thief. Where does Barksdale live? Can I go to his home, take over, tell him it's better now that I am there, then tell him that if he doesn't like my regime, he can get out? Does that sound like freedom to him? Gosh, I hope his house is nice!
December 03, 2002
Travis Barksdale has balls. I would like to kick them, make him writhe in pain until the ignorance that clouds his mind clears up. Where do I begin in response to his article about Haunani-Kay Trask?
First, Mr. Barksdale, Professor Trask has far surpassed the infantile act of making comments based on emotion rather than truth, as you suggest she does in paragraph three. She has been a leader in the struggle against american oppression and has researched this topic throughout her entire career as a PROFESSOR!! I believe she just turned 53 if that puts things into perspective. Furthermore, you need to analyze your own comments in regard to emotion. It seems that the whole of your article is based on the emotion you feel toward the american government and military. You neglect all of the factual details that oppose your opinion, i.e. your emotional connection to the subject. Moreover, you are urging your readers to feel this same emotion and condemning them if they do not. You contradict your own assertions!!
Second, Mr. Barksdale comments on the safety Professor Trask should feel here in the illegally occupied state of Hawai'i in the good 'ole U.S. of A. Well, of course had he done some research, Barksdale would have easily found that Professor Trask's life has been threatened countless times, often by people on this very campus, for speaking her mind and elucidating otherwise closeted issues. Bomb squads, federal agents, local police officers have all been called to the Kamakakuokalani for fear of Haunani-Kay Trask's safety. This is in addition to the death threats she has received at her own home.
Mr. Barksdale also questions whether Professor Trask is aware of the "less than second-class citizen" status that women in other places endure. As an educated woman who wrote her dissertation on Feminist theory, I think it's safe to assume that she is well aware of the situation. And Mr. Barksdale, were you suggesting that the second-class citizen status of women in america is acceptable?
To address Barksdale's military stance more specifically, I strongly recommend that he pick up a book and read a little bit about Hawai'i's history and relationship to then american military machine. If he does so he will discover that the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom and subsequent loss of sovereignty, language, and land experienced by Kanaka Maoli, was only successful due to the illegal (under international law) action taken by the american military.
I find it typical of a uniformed arrogant continental haole to assume that he and his ilk have the right to tell the disenfranchised native people to leave their homeland if they are unhappy. Barksdale, get a clue this is OUR home, not yours — you leave, that would alleviate some of our disenfranchisement. To quote a favorite of Professor Trask's, "Ten flights a day, United..."
Professor Trask's "american privilege" (as Barksdale calls it) is embodied in genocide and the theft of native land and government. This is a shared experience of native peoples all over the world who suffer under american oppression. I dare to ask, would Mr. Barksdale exchange the "american privilege" he incurs as a white heterosexual male, for the "american privilege" Haunani-Kay Trask and all native peoples suffer?
Luukia Archer is a Senior double majoring in Hawaiian Studies and Political Science.
I am responding to Travis Barksdale's article. It is true that America's freedom has come at a price; but what he says to those who never asked to be swallowed up by the vast "greatness" of its colonialism? Barksdale spews forth his ignorant opinion, taking cheap shots at a respected figure in the process.
Perhaps he has never met a displaced American Indian, who feels like a foreigner on his own land. Disenfranchised and reduced to a stereotypical image of laziness, the American Indian has little to celebrate in the "great white power" of America. Has he ever told an American Indian to leave?
Perhaps he has no idea that Hawai'i was overtaken illegally, and that a sovereign monarch was overthrown and imprisoned with "proper justification" by white Americans. Did he bother to check the facts before he criticized Trask? Or did he simply ignore reality, which is that Hawaiians have been living on these islands for millenia, whereas whites have only stumbled onto Hawaii's shores within the past 200 years?
What is obvious is that it is Barksdale who is disgustingly ignorant. In writing his poorly researched critique, he insisted on dragging along his colonialist, sexist baggage. How dare he suggest that Trask, a native to this land, go to another country! How dare he demand her thankfulness that she, as a woman, not be treated as a "second-rate citizen!" He has shown himself to be ill-informed and insensitive to any idea other than that of the racist white man.
I do not attempt to speak for Trask or anyone else of Native Hawaiian descent; as a non-native it would be severely inappropriate for me to do so. However, I think it is crucial to be aware that I am only a visitor to ancestral lands, and I want to show nothing less than utmost respect for the land and its people.
Amber Staicoff is a senior in English.
December 04, 2002
Let me practice my inherent HUMAN right to free speech, instead of the American-granted right (which, by the way, America didn't allow when they banned my native tongue and beat my great-grandparents who fluently spoke Hawaiian), and say that Travis Barksdale epitomized ignorance with every sentence he wrote in his article, "Trask doesn't realize her American privilege." How ironic that in trying to color Haunani-Kay Trask as ignorant, Barksdale becomes the picture-perfect example of it via his own patriotic spiel and homage to the oppressive American military.
The fact that Barksdale tells "Professor Trask and others (who) are so disenfranchised with America" to leave America shows just how shallow his understanding of history is. If he had bothered to read a history book about how the Hawaiian government was illegally overthrown by this same U.S. military he thinks we should be thankful for, he would know that Hawai'i is still being illegally occupied by America and that he is the intruder, he is the one who should leave. My disenfranchised self is exactly where I belong.
Does he not know that the American government enthusiastically supports a perpetual war economy? Perhaps, if he were aware of this arms business he wouldn't be so quick to justify the need for such a military. He'd have a different perspective on why he weeps over the shipping out of those "men and women whose houses (he jogs) by every night," and he'd realize that he should be writing an article supporting Professor Trask instead.
Furthermore, is Travis aware of a statement made by Madeline Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State? In responding to the deaths of a reported 500,000 Iraqi children during the Gulf War by the bombing and boycott of Iraq by the United States, Albright claimed it was "worth it." These were CHILDREN. Five-hundred thousand! Perhaps it is because of circumstances such as these that people risk dying to get into the United States.
Now, we speak of Hawaiians. Hawaiians did not try swimming to the continent to get into the United States. Hawaiians did not risk their lives to join the oppression of American "democracy." Americans came here! Americans stole our nation! Barksdale, if America is so great, why don't you go back to it and leave Hawai'i?
I believe that in elementary and intermediate schools the teachers tell their students to read the book before they write the book report. Unfortunately for Mr. Barksdale, he must have been sent directly to high school where the teachers assume students know that basic rule because he obviously did absolutely no research on the history of Hawai'i and its people. Nor does he know a thing about racism and how, though the American military does protect "(his) great life," America continues to oppress my people, the Hawaiians, the kanaka maoli of this land.
Finally, I'd like to invite Travis to take any class down at Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies and educate his ignorant ass. In fact, he should take a class from Haunani and see exactly how ignorant he is — I'm sure she'd take special interest in covering EVERY aspect of the American "axis of evil." Maybe then he'll stop believing all the myths he's been indoctrinated with, like "There's no racism in Hawai'i," or "America is the savior of all nations," and certainly his beloved myth that everyone has "the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." If not, I'd like to say, "Aloha, Mr. Barksdale!" American Airlines and United Airlines, we have them both — choose one and leave, no one will miss you!
U'ilani Keli'ikuli is a senior majoring in Hawaiian Language.
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