Honolulu Magazine

Scrap Yard: The Akaka Bill

Meheula fails to recognize that the irony is that native Hawaiians asking for special racial treatment today are forsaking the wisdom of their kupuna. He states:

That’s just the Hawaiian way, to include others. It doesn’t make sense to say that Hawaiians programs are in violation of the equal protection clause because the Hawaiian government before the overthrow was an inclusive one.

What doesn’t make sense is having racially exclusive programs in Hawaii today, since they never existed during the entire time Hawaii has ever been under a single government. They are both a violation of equal protection, as well as the historical record of equality in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Meheula also writes:

They also object to any type of affirmative action, and they’re just trying to find an angle to try and cut off people’s rights in that respect. Their philosophy is that everyone should sink or swim, and that’s how we’re all going to be a stronger America—that, by handing out these government benefits, we’re actually suppressing the growth of these weaker people.

I would submit to Mr. Meheula that native Hawaiians have never been a “weaker people”, and that we can identify those who need help without looking at their racial background. The “sink or swim” argument is completely separate from the race-based benefits issue – and in fact, if one was to use scarce government resources to hand out benefits to people, using race as a proxy for need would be a significant waste. If Mr. Meheula truly wants to help people, he’ll stop looking at the color of their skin, and start looking at their individual demonstrated need.

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