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Rant & Rave

By Adrian Kamalii

Thursday, March 22, 2001

targets of racism

Racism thrives in Hawaii. I am surrounded by culturally genocidal innuendoes daily. People may say that genocide is too strong a word as it is defined by the murders of Jewish people by the Nazis during World War II. However, Webster's Dictionary defines genocide as "the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group."

This been happening in Hawaii for a little more than a century. Cultural genocide is well exhibited in Hawaiians' socioeconomic statistics. Native Hawaiians reflect social ills at extreme numbers. We are falling through the cracks of a western society, a society that my kupuna never asked to have.

Our language and culture have been co-opted by settlers. I am specifically referring to the promotion of the word "aloha" in William "Bill" Burgess' organization "Aloha for All."

Burgess and his friends behave as if Native Hawaiians owe him and his gang the word "aloha." But what about the feeling of the word? What about the history of the word? Or how about the fact that aloha is a relationship of reciprocity? Do not anticipate to be treated with respect when using the word "aloha" against the very people from whom the word and concepts originates.

The organization has appropriated the word, and instead of returning the gift of aloha to the host culture that lives and breathes aloha, it uses it against us, and claims we don't have aloha when we protest.

Unfortunately, we have become accustomed to this cultural theft. The Hawai'i Visitor's and Convention Bureau has been using "aloha" as a tourist commodity for years.

The Aloha For All posse argues that everyone is equal under the law. Yet, if group member Thurston Twigg-Smith's ancestors -- who by the way gave up American citizenship to become subjects of the Kingdom of Hawaii -- respected the law of America as well as the Kingdom, I would not be here complaining about these individuals.

Hawaiians are trying to gain United States policy for natives to apply equally to us, as natives. How on earth are we supposed to gain justice, when white men stand in our way?

One may question why Hawaiian entitlements do not extend to non-native descendants of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Hawaiian entitlements are for the aboriginal people of Hawaii whose legitimate ruler Queen Lïli'uokalani was overthrown by American businessmen.

America formulated the racist concept of blood quantum and imposed this on my people. The idea of divide and conquer has seemed to penetrate the political system of a "equal and free" nation. These are deliberate and destructive examples of cultural genocide.

The depopulation of Native Hawaiians, the overthrow of their government, the filing of law suits -- Rice vs. Cayetano and Barrett/Carroll vs. Cayetano et al. and others -- the use of native lands for warlike practices and many other instances, either have or will contribute to the cultural genocide of my people. Without education in these issues, Hawaiians will continue to suffer from such actions.

I am amazed by how sincere Hawaiians remain.

Adrian Kamalaniikekai Kamali'i is a 19-year-old
graduate of Kamehameha Schools and president
of 'Ilio'ulaokalani Youth Coalition.

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