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Native Hawaiian Victimhood Claims - Bad Statistics for Bad Purposes (a short summary for easy reading)

[ Following is a short summary of the issues, based on an article with the same title published by Ken Conklin in "Hawaii Reporter" online newspaper on September 15, 2005, at: ]

How many times have we heard it said?

Native Hawaiians are at the bottom among all Hawaii's ethnic groups. Low income, poor education, high rates of cancer, diabetes, drug abuse, incarceration, etc. There are hundreds of Hawaiian racial victimhood claims; often vague, but occasionally accompanied by percentage figures that make them look scientific.

In most cases the methods of gathering data and analyzing them are not disclosed. The "studies" are usually not subjected to peer review (outside experts judging the work) of the sort that would be done for similar studies prior to publication in a scientific journal. It is often impossible to evaluate these "studies" for validity (relevance of the data to the claim) or reliability (mathematical correctness of statistical analyses and sufficient specificity to make it possible to do a parallel study to replicate the results). The sheer number of claims, and the amount of data necessary to prove or disprove them, make it impossible for any individual or small group to deal with them effectively.

A typical example is a listing of numerous "Native Hawaiian" victimhood claims published by David Ingham in Hawaii Reporter online newspaper on September 14, 2005. Ingham's article was entitled: "Akaka Bill May Not Be the Answer, But Native Hawaiians Do Need Help -- The Educational, Social, and Health Conditions of Native Hawaiians are a Dismal Disgrace to All but the Willfully Blind and Ignorant" and can be seen at:

In the same week the two Hawaii Reporter articles were published, the Honolulu Advertiser reported that Kamehameha Schools will eventually publish a monster Hawaiian grievance book containing 450 pages of old victimhood claims. But the "executive summary" just happens to be available already, at exactly the right moment to lay it on the desk of every Senator just before they vote on the Akaka bill. We get the slick propaganda booklet now (all form and no substance), never mind the facts (which are old, dubious, and incredibly complex). Download at

A new webpage provides details of some very simple explanations why most "Native Hawaiian" victimhood claims are bogus.

Here's a summary written for easy reading.

(1) "Native Hawaiians" on average are 14 years younger than the rest of the population. Their average age is only 25. Of course young people have lower income (actually only about 9% lower), lower ranks in the companies where they work; and higher levels of unemployment, drug abuse, family instability, criminal activity, and incarceration.

In Census 2000, the median household income for "Native Hawaiians" was $45,381, and their median age was 25.3. In Census 2000, the median household income for the population of Hawai'i as a whole was $49,820, and the median age was 36.2. That age gap of 11 years gets 3 years added to it if we exclude from the total population the 20% who are "Native Hawaiian." Also, 12% of all "Native Hawaiians" had household income ABOVE $100,000. And that income was back in 1999! Surely those wealthy people should not be eligible for government handouts based on the racial profiling of "Native Hawaiians" as poor and downtrodden. The sources of these data are provided in the detailed version of this analysis at

(2) Most "Native Hawaiians" are mostly not of Hawaiian native ancestry. Perhaps 75% of all "Native Hawaiians" have more than 75% of their ancestry from Asia, Europe, and America. But when someone with 1/16 Hawaiian native blood quantum is diagnosed with breast cancer, the Hawaiian grievance industry chalks up one full tally mark. That's clearly wrong.

First of all, individuals with problems who cannot solve the problems without government help should get that help regardless of race. But if we're going to play the game of putting people into racial groups and tallying victimhood counts, then there needs to be a more honest way to determine which group wins the tally mark.

One way is to count each person as belonging to the one racial group which is his highest percentage of blood quantum. A better way is to allocate a fraction of a tally mark to each race, equal to each victim's percentage of blood quantum of that race.

The lady who gets breast cancer with 1/16 Hawaiian native blood quantum racks up 1/16 of a tally mark for the Hawaiian category, while the Irish victimhood account wins 1/2 tally mark for her 50% Irish blood.

This method would also let us find out whether women with higher Hawaiian native quantum get breast cancer at a higher rate than low quantum Hawaiians -- clearly an important way to prove whether "being Hawaiian" is correlated with or perhaps causative of breast cancer.

Some activists say being Hawaiian is not about race, it's about culture. Fine. Then to do the data analysis properly, you must create a taxonomy of cultural behaviors and ascribe each one to some particular culture. Then for each individual determine the fractional portion of his cultural identity to be ascribed to each racial group. One thing is very clear -- it's absurd to award a full tally mark to "Native Hawaiians" for a victim who has only 1/16 native quantum of blood or culture.

(3) Everyone eventually dies. Shocking, but true! And nobody dies more than once. So when the Hawaiian grievance industry says that "Native Hawaiians" have the highest mortality rate for breast cancer, isn't it obvious that they must also have the lowest mortality rate for some other disease? There are only so many Hawaiians, and each one can only die once. Furthermore, for whatever diseases "Native Hawaiians" have comparatively low mortality rates, it must be true that some other ethnic group has comparatively high mortality rates for those diseases. So, in order to protect the interests of white people, there should be a Papa Ola Lokahi Haole funded by millions of federal dollars to gather and analyze the data for all those diseases for which white people have comparatively high mortality rates. Likewise Papa Ola Lokahi Kepani to do the job for people of Japanese ancestry. How silly. But fair is fair. Live by playing the race card, die by playing the race card.

(4) Recent Census data from other states show that "Native Hawaiians" in those states are actually doing better than average for the populations of those states. This is stunning news. Why do ethnic Hawaiians outside Hawaii do spectacularly better than ethnic Hawaiians inside Hawaii? It seems clear that no good has resulted from the large number of race-based handouts given over a period of many years by the State of Hawaii -- handouts given only to those ethnic Hawaiians who live in Hawaii. A logical conclusion is that ethnic Hawaiians in Hawaii have actually been harmed by the race-based welfare programs. Perhaps the harm is caused because many ethnic Hawaiians get handouts which make it unnecessary for them to struggle for success like everyone else -- they are robbed of motivation, knowing their basic needs will be met by government handouts even if they do nothing to earn a living. Of course there are many ethnic Hawaiians in Hawaii who work hard. There are many who earn or inherit great wealth, and can easily pay for the best quality of housing, healthcare, and education. But at the lower end of the scale ethnic Hawaiians can do in Hawaii what they cannot do in other states, and what other ethnic groups cannot do in Hawaii -- kick back; enjoy a heavily subsidized lifestyle with low but acceptable income, healthcare, and housing; and spend their time complaining about historical grievances while agitating for even more handouts.

(5) Darwinian "natural selection", or evolution, might explain why "Native Hawaiians" have bad statistics (both physically and culturally). This is not as silly as it might sound. "Native Hawaiians" have had perhaps 100 generations of inbreeding, with perhaps no outside additions to the gene pool between the Marquesan invasion of 1200 AD and the European arrival in 1778. The arrival of Europeans, Americans, and Asians produced tremendous changes in the physical environment of these islands, and also the social/cultural environment. It takes many generations before an organism can adapt to a changing physical environment. Thus "Native Hawaiians" may simply be physiologically (genetically) unable to cope with the radically changed physical and cultural environment of modern Hawai'i. The solution envisioned by the Akaka bill and other models of "indigenous self-determination" is to give "Native Hawaiians" the power to exercise racial supremacy in re-shaping the physical and cultural environment of Hawai'i to make it more hospitable to their inborn needs, even if that means making Hawai'i far less hospitable to everyone else. Awarding political power based on race is very dangerous. A different solution would be to re-engineer the obsolete Hawaiian gene to make it compatible with today's environment. Both solutions are horrendous.

Hawaiian victimhood claims are part of the Hawaiian grievance industry, which has four main purposes: (a) to support requests for huge grants of government and philanthropic money to study and treat these problems on a racially exclusionary basis; and (b) to allegedly justify the existence of powerful racially exclusionary government and private institutions (such as Kamehameha Schools, OHA, DHHL, Papa Ola Lokahi, Alu Like, Native Hawaiian Leadership Program, etc.); and (c) to allegedly justify demands for race-based political power (such as would be authorized by the Akaka bill); and (d) to arouse in the public mind feelings of sympathy and compassion for these allegedly poor and downtrodden victims of history, so there will be political support for purposes (a), (b) and (c). A webpage describes "Native Hawaiians as the State Pet or Mascot: A Psychological Analysis of Why Hawai'i's People Tolerate and Irrationally Support Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism" See:

Hawaiian victimhood claims are not put forward merely to solicit sympathy and hand-holding. Rather, these are the kinds of statements made by a beggar who not only holds out a tin cup but who chases you down the street, grabs you by the collar, and shakes you while yelling in your face the reasons why he is begging and why you owe him money. No matter how much you give, it's never enough.

David Ingham gave us a perfect example in the laundry list he published in Hawaii Reporter on September 14 -- dozens of claims, some of which included impressive-looking percentages. Ingham tries to shame us so we'll feel embarassed to ask any questions; he demands we believe his bogus claims without any evidence or any way to get the specific evidence for specific claims.

Ingham merely says at the end: "The statistics in this article are collected from information compiled by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Department of Health, CDC, the U.S. Census, NIH, Ahahui o na Kauka and private data banks."

So, David, where exactly do we look to verify the five claims that "Native Hawaiian males have the highest cancer mortality rates in the State for cancers of the lung, colon, rectum, and colorectum, and for all cancers combined"?

Ingham did not gather the data himself. He did not do the statistical analyses. He did not comb through hundreds of individual reports and "studies" to create this compilation by himself; because if he had done so, he would have provided a citation for each item telling where it came from so that a scholar could find the actual study and independently analyze the data. If I were his professor and this was his term paper, I would strongly suspect plagiarism.

Even if true, most of Ingham's claims are easily dismissed because of the explanations above.

(1) The 14 year age gap accounts for relatively youthful "Native Hawaiians" having the worst statistics for income, drug abuse, instability, and incarceration.

(2) Start over and analyze the data by allocating a fractional tally mark to each race, equal to each victim's fraction of blood quantum of that race. Chances are, "Native Hawaiians" would no longer be at the bottom on more than 20% of the items if we correctly identify who is really "Native Hawaiian" (and how much).

(3) Remember that everyone dies, but only one time. Therefore, for every disease where "Native Hawaiians" have the worst mortality rate, there must be other diseases for which they have the best mortality rate. Celebrate the good; and give a fair share of resources to other racial groups for the diseases where they have the worst mortality rates. Better yet, help the needy regardless of race.

(4) In the end, if you insist that "Native Hawaiians" are always the worst on every measure, then there are two choices, both bad: either start a crash project of genetic engineering to cure the bad Hawaiian race gene; or else tear down Hawai'i's modern physical and social environment, and go back to the old environment to which "Native Hawaiians" were well-adapted before the white man came and made it inhospitable to them. After all, that's what race-based "self-determination" and "sovereignty" are all about, right?

And here are two more common-sense concepts.

(5) Suppose help is given to people in a race-neutral way based on need alone. Then "Native Hawaiians" will automatically get the lion's share of the help, if "Native Hawaiians" truly have the worst statistics among all ethnic groups. The 450-page Kamehameha monster victimhood book is actually a 450-page proof that "Native Hawaiians" will get more help than other ethnic groups if help is given based on need alone. For "Native Hawaiians" to demand more government and philanthropic assistance than would be warranted by their needs is both selfish and racially divisive.

(6) Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" has been stunningly unsuccessful despite 40 years and trillions of dollars. We saw that most dramatically when Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans, exposing a vast underbelly of poverty. Likewise, in Hawai'i, we see that Kamehameha Schools, with $6-$10 Billion in assets, has been unable to give ethnic Hawaiians the same educational level as other ethnic groups, despite 120 years of racially exclusionary programs. OHA, with about $400 Million in assets, has been unable to make a dent in the (allegedly) bad economic and social statistics of ethnic Hawaiians despite 25 years of racially exclusionary benefit programs. The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921, administered since 1959 by the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, has created racial ghettoes where poor Hawaiians are prohibited by law from participating in the most wealth-creating activity available to most Americans -- ownership of homes which grow in capital value.


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For a more thorough explanation of the points raised in this essay, including source citations, see: