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The Hawaiian Grievance Industry -- Panhandling for Race-Based Handouts and Political Power

(c) Copyright 2005 - 2010 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved

One of the strange things about politics in Hawai'i is the aggressiveness of racial profiling and racial stereotyping for fun and profit.

The fun part is to zealously proclaim the past glories of an aboriginal culture dragged into modern times by outsiders. More fun comes from insisting that any living person who has a drop of aboriginal blood thereby acquires genetically all the skill, knowledge, and wisdom of the ancestors; plus the right to guaranteed racial supremacy in political power. The concept is that the gods gave birth to the Hawaiian islands as living beings, and then gave birth to the primordial ancestor of all ethnic Hawaiians. Anyone with a drop of Hawaiian native blood is descended from the gods and is a brother to the land. Anyone lacking a drop of the magic blood is forever an outsider -- at best merely a guest in the indigenous homeland of his increasingly reluctant hosts. Thus we are all racially profiled as having both personal characteristics and political rights based entirely on whether we have any Hawaiian native ancestry.

More racial profiling comes from saying that (all) ethnic Hawaiians (as a group) are poor and downtrodden, having the worst statistics for poverty, disease, poor education, alcohol and drug abuse, mental illness, family dysfunction, incarceration, etc. Spokesmen for this racial group are extremely zealous in embracing and publicly asserting this derogatory stereotype! Advocates of "political correctness" and non-discrimination tell us we must never discriminate against anyone simply because he was born into a group that is stereotyped as evil, disgusting, or dangerous. On the other hand, we are told we must discriminate in favor of members of this group and against members of other groups, by giving every individual member of the favored racial group loads of goodies not given to non-members.

Profit comes from race-based institutions grown wealthy and powerful by gathering data and manipulating statistics to "prove" the derogatory labels. Such claims are then used to demand more money and power to study the problems, to gather more data, and to write reports demanding more money and power. There is intense effort to ensure that ethnic Hawaiians can win the economically and politically valuable prize of being worst victim.

Greater profit comes from asserting historical grievances about events of 107-227 years ago (1778-1898), and coupling the historical grievances with current victimhood statistics. It is claimed (but never proved) that the historical grievances actually caused the (alleged) current victimhood conditions. Books, movies, and newspaper articles constantly tout the historical grievances and victimhood claims, laying a guilt trip on Hawai'i's people of no native ancestry and on the United States. Sometimes those same books, movies, and articles also glorify the ancient culture and the modern effort to revive selected portions of it. Thus the guilt is intensified, because the people who suffer the grievances and victimhood are exceptionally gifted and noble.

The greatest profit of all would be the establishment of a race-based government controlling enormous amounts of land and money for the exclusive use of members of the favored race. The demand to establish such a government is asserted as a way for non-ethnic Hawaiians to give reparations for past injustices and help to overcome current victimhood, thereby starting down a (very long and expensive) path to reconciliation. Butthe path has no end; the shining goal of reconciliation can never be achieved.

The general idea is: Once upon a time we had a highly developed and beautiful culture; our people were decimated by diseases brought by your ancestors; our culture and language were suppressed by your ancestors; today we have the worst statistics for health and social dysfunction and it's all your fault; you owe us enormous reparations; and we demand political power to control our own affairs so we can manage the reparations you give us and overcome the bad things you have done to us.

The greatest injustice of the Hawaiian grievance industry is its use of racial profiling, or stereotyping. Both common sense and data analysis show that the variations within a racial group are far greater than the differences between their averages. Say what? Some ethnic Hawaiians are rich, some are poor, and most are scattered at every level in between. The same is true of every ethnic group. Even if it is true that the average family income for ethnic Hawaiians is lower than the average family income for ethnic Japanese, it is also true that a great many ethnic Japanese have lower family income than the average for ethnic Hawaiians. Every group has rich, poor, and in-between. Awarding goodies to an entire racial group while ignoring other groups gives benefits to many members of the favored group who do not need those benefits; at the expense of members of the disfavored group(s) who truly do need the benefits but are racially excluded from getting them.

Racial stereotyping is obviously complicated by intermarriage. In Hawai'i, it is commonly said that 75% of all ethnic "Hawaiians" are each more than 75% something else. How is it that someone with 1/16 Hawaiian native ancestry and 15/16 Chinese ancestry calls herself "Native Hawaiian"?

Blood quantum percentage is clearly very important in analyzing any medical or social claims such as "Native Hawaiians have the highest rate of breast cancer and the highest rate of poverty." If the claim is that genetics is the cause, then that woman who has 1/16 Hawaiian native ancestry should rack up only 1/16 of a victimhood tally mark for Native Hawaiians and 15/16 of a tally mark for ethnic Chinese. If race is claimed to be the cause or distinguishing characteristic of a physical illness, then percentage of racial heritage is obviously relevant to analyzing the data.

If the claim is a social or cultural one, that people raised with a specific type of cultural upbringing are more likely to suffer certain health or social problems, then of course race is not the issue. A child who is biologically white but adopted and raised in a Hawaiian family will grow up culturally Hawaiian -- unless the "Hawaiian" family itself has adopted all or part of other cultural folkways.

If someone goes to jail for assault, then racial blame for that crime should be allocated among racial groups based on percentages of blood quantum; and the crime should be allocated among ethnic cultural lifestyles based on some sort of calculus for counting which social elements or styles belong to which cultures. Confusing, isn't it? There is simply no way to justify claims that "Native Hawaiians" are this (good thing) or that (bad thing) -- not biologically, and not culturally.

Race-based government or private programs provide goodies for every member of a group, whether they are needy or not. Ethnic Hawaiians have more than 160 federally-funded programs for healthcare, housing, education, etc. which are NOT available to other groups. Then there are race-based programs operated by institutions that are private but enjoy the government handout of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax exemption, such as Kamehameha Schools. The obvious result is that a wealthy person of Hawaiian native ancestry has access to programs not available to poor people of other ancestries.

For example, an impoverished Filipina woman who knows she has breast cancer might be unable to afford medical treatment, even while she herself is paying taxes used to provide free breast cancer screening to a wealthy Hawaiian woman who might not have the disease at all. This sort of injustice happens because there are government funded breast-exam programs exclusively for ethnic Hawaiians; and those programs got established because of "studies" that showed that the average rate of breast cancer among ethnic Hawaiians is higher than the average rate among other ethnic groups.

The best solution is the simplest one. Forget about race. Needy people get help based on need alone. If it is true that ethnic Hawaiians have the worst statistics and are the most needy among the ethnic groups, then it is obvious that ethnic Hawaiians will get the lion's share of whatever help is given out based on need alone.

If there are some diseases which can be proved to be linked to a racial genetic factor, then clearly the medical establishment should look more closely at people of the affected race when doing screening. The obvious solution to genetically caused diseases is to do gene therapy to cure illness among individuals already living, and to give genetic counseling to prevent the conception of infants who would be doomed (as is done, for example, with Ashkenazi Jews regarding Tay-Sachs disease). If it can ever be proved that a particular gene that produces a particular race also automatically produces an undesirable physical or mental characteristic, then serious consideration would need to be given to doing genetic engineering to change the genome of that racial group. But of course that would be politically incorrect, and ethnic Hawaiians in particular have strong cultural and political opposition to any tampering with bones or DNA -- there was even an uproar recently regarding a university project to do genetic engineering on taro, because a Hawaiian creation legend places taro as the elder brother of ethnic Hawaiians.

How is it possible that a group of people once so high have been brought so low? Because outsiders brought disease and death. Outsiders forced fundamental changes in the religion, culture, language, and way of life -- changes which destroyed the natives' physical health along with their emotional drive and spiritual connectedness to each other and to the land and the gods. The natives are now strangers in their own land, dispossessed and depressed, with nowhere to go but oblivion -- unless everyone pitches in to rehabilitate them with massive reparations for historical injustices.

Although 80% of Hawai'i's people are outsiders, we are all invited to the pity-party. Just be sure to bring lots of gifts. Anyone who dares to challenge the historical, legal, or moral basis for reparations simply doesn't understand -- he must be ignorant, and will be given education (propaganda). Anyone who has been bombarded with propaganda and shows he understands the issues, but nevertheless insists on disagreeing -- he must have an evil heart, and is therefore fair game for vicious personal attacks.

No amount of factual evidence or logical reasoning will ever persuade the "victims" to give up any of their victimhood claims. The victims are proud of their victimhood, and assert it ruthlessly as a weapon to extract money and power from their generous, kind-hearted "oppressors." But no amount of reparations will ever be enouugh. This is a debt which can never be repaid. The existence of this debt lays so much guilt at the door of Hawai'i's people and all America, that the only solution would be to help these poor downtrodden people create their own government and then turn over massive amounts of money, land, and power to them.

That's the theory of the Akaka bill, and also of the independence movement. The main quarrel between these two factions concerns which tactic is more likely to bring success. (1) Pursue independence as the only strategy because it's what both factions really want in the long run, and oppose the Akaka bill. But this strategy risks the loss of race-based programs through court challenges in the meantime. (2) Accept tribal status for the present in order to ensure the preservation of race-based programs while continuing to pursue independence. But this strategy risks the possibility that accepting tribal status might be seen as an exercise of self-determination -- ethnic Hawaiians making a group choice which is irrevocable, thereby foreclosing the use of "international law" to achieve independence.



First, some examples of published books, films, or articles claiming that current life conditions for ethnic Hawaiians are worse than for other ethnic groups and blaming those victimhood statistics on historical grievances from long ago. Some of those articles take the further step of claiming that race-based political sovereignty would resolve the historical grievances and cure the current problems. Finally, a collection of links to essays which explore related issues such as the use of religious beliefs to assert an inherent right to racial supremacy in political power; or a need for racial separatism in government institutions because ethnic Hawaiians are fundamentally different from everyone else.


Two current newspaper articles citing historical grievances and current victimhood claims as reasons why ethnic Hawaiians are entitled to race-based political sovereignty. Assertions of historical grievances and current victimhood claims in federal legislation in 2001 to provide free healthcare to all ethnic Hawaiians. Also, an article from 2003 by OHA trustee Boyd Mossman which says "... Persons of Hawaiian ancestry today in Hawaii make up the largest percentage of those in prison, the homeless, the undereducated, the broken families and the drug-addicted." And unless the Akaka bill passes, "... you will have seen the last of the Hawaiians as we know them today. ... We will no longer be identified as the descendants of a nation with a unique history, language and identity. We will melt into history, becoming only a memory."


Gordon Pang, "Forced assimilation may hurt Hawaiians" Honolulu Advertiser, June 20, 2005. This "news report" is a typical combination of junk history and junk science fueling the Hawaiian grievance industry. For a 30-page analysis of the statistical, historical, and moral issues raised by this newspaper article, together with citations of numerous articles claiming historical grievances and current victimhood statistics, see:

Summary: It is junk-history to say that Hawaiian natives were forced to assimilate. It is junk-science to say that ethnic Hawaiians have the worst statistics for health, longevity, and social success. Putting the two together to assert that the forced assimilation of native Hawaiians is the primary cause of misery for today's descendants is a typical phony victimhood claim to fuel the Hawaiian grievance industry. Such claims are asserted to make the general population feel guilt and sympathy so they will support demands for money and political power. Ethnic Hawaiian institutions have grown wealthy and powerful by doing "studies" to release for propaganda value and to cite in applications for government and philanthropic grants to do more studies. It seems likely that genetics could be the primary cause of whatever health and social deficits may exist. One way to solve such a genetic problem would be to give race-based political sovereignty to ethnic Hawaiians so they could abolish private property rights, give control to local land tsars (ahupua'a konohiki), and remake the environment to suit ethnic Hawaiian needs. The other way to solve a genetic problem would be to study and re-engineer the Hawaiian genome so gene therapy would allow individuals to thrive under present circumstances. The first option is unacceptable to the general population; while the second option violates religious and cultural values espoused by Hawaiian activists. Perhaps it's time to pull the plug on junk-history and junk-science. Government and philanthropic grants should be given to solve health problems regardless of the race of the victims. If ethnic Hawaiians truly have a higher incidence of health problems, then they will automatically receive a higher proportion of available funds without any need for racial designation.


Andrew Downes, "In Hawaii, a Chance to Heal, Long Delayed" op-ed in the New York Times of July 12, 2005. Excerpts taken from:

"The selling of Hawaii as a land of gracious welcome works so well because it happens to be true. But for the members of one group, that has always evoked a bitter taste: native Hawaiians, the descendants of Polynesian voyagers who settled the islands in antiquity and lived there in isolation until the late 1700's. Ever since Captain Cook, the native Hawaiian story has been a litany of loss: loss of land and of a way of life, of population through sickness and disease, and of self-determination when United States marines toppled the monarchy in 1893. ... 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 ... 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 ... Mr. Akaka argues, convincingly, that beyond the bill's practical benefits in streamlining the management of assets and the flow of money, it is a crucial step in a long, slow process of reconciliation. As he sees it, Hawaii's cultural renaissance has exposed the unhealed wound in the native psyche. He has witnessed it in young people, more radical than their elders, as they adopt a tone of uncharacteristic hostility and resentment ... Mr. Akaka says his bill offers vital encouragement to a group that makes up a disproportionate share of the islands' poor, sick, homeless and imprisoned, while steering a moderate course between extremes of agitation and apathy."

National Review Online, April 9, 2010

The Sins-and-Grievances Approach
It paints the poor into a corner, where they can nurse their resentments instead of advancing their skills and their prospects.

by Thomas Sowell

One of the most ominous developments of our time has been the multicultural dogma that all cultures are equal. It is one of the many unsubstantiated assertions that have become fashionable among self-congratulatory elites, with hard evidence being neither asked for nor offered.

But, however much such assertions minister to the egos of the intelligentsia and the careers of politicians and race hustlers, the multicultural dogma is a huge barrier to the advancement of groups who are lagging economically, educationally, and otherwise.

Once you have said that the various economic, educational, and other “gaps” and “disparities” of lagging groups are not due to either genes or cultures, what is left but the sins of other people?

Sins are never hard to find among any group of human beings. But whether that actually helps those who are lagging or just leads them into the blind alley of resentment is another question.

None of this is peculiar to the United States or to our times. In centuries past, it was common for Germans or other Western Europeans to be a majority of the population in various Eastern European cities, while the Slavic majority predominated in the surrounding countrysides.

Even in times and places where the Germans and other Western Europeans were not a numerical majority in Eastern European cities, or in Baltic cities like Riga, they were clearly an economic and cultural elite in business, industry, and the professions.

They simply had the skills and education that most of the indigenous peoples of Eastern Europe and the Baltic did not have.

At that point, the German language, like other Western European languages, had a vastly larger store of written knowledge than the languages of Eastern Europe, which had developed written versions centuries later.

One obvious way for individuals born into the local indigenous culture to advance themselves was to acquire the language and culture of the Germans, and use the skills and knowledge available in that language to advance themselves. This is what many did.

What this said was that cultures were not equal, at least not at that point in history, which is contrary to the multicultural dogmas of our time.

Nor was this path to individual and group advancement peculiar to Eastern Europe. In 18th-century Scotland, the great philosopher David Hume urged his fellow Scots to learn the English language in order to advance themselves, individually and collectively.

The net result was that Scotland went from being one of the most backward countries on the fringes of European civilization to being one of the most advanced countries in the world. A wholly disproportionate share of the leading British intellectuals from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century were of Scottish ancestry, and the Scots ultimately surpassed the English in medicine and engineering.

Unfortunately, most intellectuals in most lagging groups did not urge taking the path that David Hume urged upon the Scots. More commonly, the intelligentsia have promoted the path of resentment of those on whom history bestowed a more productive culture.

A rising, indigenous educated class in 19th-century Bohemia and Latvia, for example, resented having to become culturally German in order to advance. Moreover, they resented Germans and worked to get their compatriots to resent Germans as well, even though the cultural disparities at the heart of economic and other disparities were not created by the Germans but by the Romans, centuries earlier, when they invaded Western Europe and put the stamp of their culture on that region.

But explanations of group differences based on historic or geographic happenstances do not provide emotional fulfillment. Some preferred theories of genetic differences, and others preferred seeing the poverty of some as being a result of the sins of those who were more prosperous.

Multiculturalism enshrines the sins-and-grievances approach — and paints the poor into a corner, where they can nurse their resentments instead of advancing their skills and their prospects. The beneficiaries are politicians and race hustlers.

— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2010 Creators Syndicate, Inc.


S1929 -- Federal legislation to provide racial entitlement for hjealthcare : point-by-point rebuttal of false and twisted hostorical and legal claims buried in the fine print by sovereignty activists.


Boyd P. Mossman [OHA trustee], "Hawaiians must unite or vanish into history." Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 27, 2003, excerpts from

"... Persons of Hawaiian ancestry today in Hawaii make up the largest percentage of those in prison, the homeless, the undereducated, the broken families and the drug-addicted. A familiar pattern, perhaps, as with the American Indian and Alaskan native tribes who involuntarily gave up their homelands to a United States intent on expanding its borders. Though there is no complete consensus as to the historical justification for the overthrow of the Hawaiian nation and annexation by the United States, suffice it to say that the United States knowingly or unknowingly caused the independent kingdom to be denied its inherent rights as a nation. ... If we succeed [in passing the Akaka bill], then the people of Hawaii will continue to enjoy the warmth and aloha of a culture and people who themselves will be able to conduct their affairs within the United States with recognition given them ... If we fail, if we lose in the courts, if we cannot convince Congress of the potential elimination of an entire people who once ruled themselves, if we cannot convince the Hawaiians themselves and bring them together in a united effort, then you will have seen the last of the Hawaiians as we know them today. Hawaiians will be no different from Californians, Georgians or New Yorkers. We will no longer be identified as the descendants of a nation with a unique history, language and identity. We will melt into history, becoming only a memory. ... we are compelled to press forward against the sling stones of contention and dispute to educate all the people of Hawaii, then to facilitate the birth of a Hawaiian governing entity that will perpetuate the culture and people whose home, whose aina, whose spirit these islands are. Many questions remain, and time will tell the effect of our effort, but I suggest that it would behoove us all to continue to keep Hawaii "Hawaii," for as the Hawaiians go, so will Hawaii."


3 books claiming there was a 95% population decline among native Hawaiians following Western contact, and portraying it as a genocide whose psychic pain and social reverberations are still felt by today's ethnic Hawaiians, to whom reparations would be owed.

David E. Stannard, "Before the horror : the population of Hawai'i on the eve of Western contact." Honolulu, Hawaii : Social Science Research Institute, University of Hawaii, 1989.

O.A. Bushnell, "The gifts of civilization : germs and genocide in Hawai'i." Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press, 1993.

"Haole Collective Guilt for Hawaiian Grievances and Pain -- A 20-page book review of 'Then There Were None' by Martha H. Noyes (based on Elizabeth Lindsey Buyers TV docudrama)


Essay-length book reviews of two books claiming that skills, knowledge, and wisdom of the ancestors are passed down to any living person who has a drop of Hawaiian native blood, through genealogically encoded deep racial memories. Also, a webpage describing legislation to establish a separate ethnocentric public school system apart from the current Department of Education. Also, two webpages arguing that the terms "culture", "Native Hawaiian", "oral history", and "'ohana" are so imprecise as to be meaningless when used to assert claims to ethnic Hawaiian separateness or political entitlement.


"Polynesian" Voyaging -- Political Agenda, Ethnic Dominance, Cultural Authenticity, and Blood Nationalism. An extended book review of Ben Finney, "Sailing in the Wake of the Ancestors: Reviving Polynesian Voyaging"

Summary: Are the Polynesian voyaging canoes, and their journeys, truly Polynesian? Is there such a thing as "deep culture" or "racial memory" which allows long forgotten skills and ceremonies to be revived with authenticity? Is the Polynesian Voyaging Society primarily a cultural organization focused on reviving an ancient skill, or is it primarily a political organization focused on ethnic pride, ethnic nation-building, and related public relations campaigns to solicit popular support for Hawaiian sovereignty? How important is it for PVS and the voyages it sponsors to be dominated by ethnic Hawaiians? What struggles were there over the role of people with no Hawaiian native ancestry in the founding of PVS and the voyaging trips of its canoes?


Hawaiian Epistemology and Education -- A claim that anyone with a drop of Hawaiian native blood has genetically and culturally encoded unique ways of knowing and learning; and therefore ethnic Hawaiian children (and other ethnic minorities to a lesser degree) have special needs for uniquely tailored curriculum and instructional methods


"Public education for ethnic nation-building in Hawai'i -- a legislative bill to create a separate statewide school system for Native Hawaiians


The terms "culture", "Native Hawaiian", and "oral history" are so imprecise as to be meaningless in the way these terms were used in the NASA draft environmental impact statement regarding Mauna Kea. Analysis by Honolulu attorney Paul M. Sullivan.


A scholar of Hawaiian language said in an interview that the word "'ohana" is only about 50 years old, and that the cultural concept it names has been cobbled together from ancient customs that varied widely from place to place. Today's concept was invented for political purposes. "'Ohana" is a buzzword, neither historically authentic nor descriptive of current practices. It turns out that digitized Hawaiian language newspapers now available on the internet show that the word 'ohana was indeed used in the 1800s, although the manner of its usage was different from today's politicized usage.


Racism, racial supremacy, pride and prejudice; making a racial group into the state pet or mascot.


"Religion and Zealotry in the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement -- How Religious Myths are Used to Support Political Claims for Racial Supremacy in Hawai'i"

Summary: Ethic Hawaiians inherit a right to guaranteed racial supremacy in political power. The gods gave birth to the Hawaiian islands as living beings. The gods then gave birth to the primordial ancestor of all ethnic Hawaiians. Thus anyone with a drop of Hawaiian native blood is descended from the gods and is a brother to the land. Anyone lacking a drop of the magic blood is forever an outsider -- at best merely a guest in the indigenous homeland of his increasingly reluctant hosts.


Pride and Prejudice -- What It Means To Be Proud of a Person, Group, Nation, or Race; Racial Profiling, Racial Prejudice, and Racial Supremacy


Racism in the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement (with special focus on anti-white racism)


Were non-kanaka maoli historically full partners in Hawai'i, or only second-class guests?


Ethnic Cleansing of Hawaiian Holidays

Summary: Today’s Hawaiian sovereignty independence activists are systematically ignoring heroes of the Hawaiian Kingdom who had no native blood. By removing non-natives from the pantheon of Hawaiian national historical heroes, today’s Hawaiian activists show their intentions for the future. The independence activists say their movement is about a nation, not a race. They say people of all races will be welcome as citizens in the newly re-established nation. But their clear intention is to make second-class citizens of everyone lacking native blood, giving them only voting rights restricted to certain topics and property rights restricted to certain areas. This webpage explores several Hawaiian holidays (both historical and modern) to show how the ethnic cleansing is being implemented. Holidays include Ka La Ho’iho’i Ea (Sovereignty Restoration Day), Ka La Ku’oko’a (Independence Day), Martin Luther King’s birthday, the 4th of July, and a newly created Hawaiian memorial day to supplant Christmas.


"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

Summary: Racial separatism and ethnic nationalism are the two evil faces of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. But even when the evil is exposed -- even when the historical, legal, and moral claims are shown to be wrong -- many people nevertheless feel that ethnic Hawaiians somehow deserve special, race-specific, favorable treatment as a group. Why? When reason, logic, and common-sense all show that the sovereignty activists are wrong, why do so many of Hawai'i's people still support their absurd demands? It is not rational. It is emotional. This essay will explain such irrational support as being an example of a psychological reflex mechanism called the "mascot syndrome." By understanding how the syndrome works, we can hope to avoid falling prey to it.


(c) Copyright 2005 - 2010 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved

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