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Letters to the Editor
Sunday, August 7, 2005
What if language were a requirement?In trying to figure out how to deal with the recent court ruling, have the good folks at Kamehameha Schools considered the possibility of teaching all classes strictly in the Hawaiian language and requiring that new students demonstrate fluency in Hawaiian as a condition of admission? It's positive for Hawaiian students as they hold their language dear, but it's unpalatable for non-Hawaiians who don't see the value.
Applicants should show dedication to cultureGiven that legal challenges to programs for Hawaiians are likely to persist for the foreseeable future, it seems prudent that Kamehameha Schools should develop an admissions policy that continues to fulfill Princess Pauahi's intent without being strictly "race-based." Therefore, I propose that all applicants to Kamehameha Schools 1) demonstrate their commitment to the betterment of the socio-economic status of the Hawaiian community or 2) demonstrate a commitment to the preservation and revitalization of the Hawaiian culture.
Presumably, Hawaiian students would automatically qualify based on the assumption that the high-quality education they receive at Kamehameha would serve to improve the social and economic conditions of Hawaiians. Meanwhile, non-Hawaiians who demonstrate a dedication to the Hawaiian culture, through such means as fluency in the Hawaiian language, also should be considered for admission.
For those students who do not fit into either category, Kamehameha Schools may decide to charge such students the full cost of their education. These students should only be considered if all qualified applicants in the first two categories have already been placed.
This approach would retain the essence of the princess' will while shielding the schools from further legal assault.
Taking non-Hawaiians won't ruin schoolsThis week's federal appeals court ruling that Kamehameha Schools' "Hawaiians only" admission policy is unlawful race discrimination has caused much teeth-grinding and cries of outrage. But those who believe in equality and fairness should welcome the ruling.
I understand the motivation behind the schools' exclusionary policy, and helping the Hawaiian population is a worthy goal. But creating injustice is never the answer to curing injustice.
Back in the bad old days of Jim Crow law, southern states had elaborate formulas for deciding who was "colored" and who was "white." More recently, the same was true in apartheid-era South Africa. Falling on the wrong side of the fence meant you were excluded from a whole range of rights. Reading about Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy reminds me of those attempts at race-based segregation. The policy shouldn't be considered more acceptable just because it has an altruistic rather than a venal motive.
Kamehameha Schools has the resources to continue with its mission of lifting up the Hawaiian people, but it will have to adjust its policy. Taking in non-Hawaiian students won't destroy its mission. It will only remove the taint of race-based exclusion from the schools.
Ruling is an attempt to force Akaka supportAug. 2 was a very sad day for Hawaiians and for all Americans. When the mostly white judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy of Hawaiians-only is unconstitutional, it threatened all of us. It's a threat to this nation's racial and ethnic diversity and to all of our civil rights.
Kamehameha Schools is similar to schools for native American Indians. This ruling will turn Kamehameha Schools into another Dartmouth College, which was founded in 1769 by Reverend Eleazar Wheelock to educate Native Americans. Now it's a school primarily for the white and for the wealthy. Locally, schools like St. Andrews Priory may be affected when a parent decides that s/he wants her/his son to attend the all-female school or when a parent decides that s/he wants her/his daughter to play on the all-guy football team. Yes, ultimately this ruling may affect you.
It's obvious to me that this ruling is an attempt to strong-arm Hawaiians to support the Akaka Bill so that we are "protected." Upon statehood, representatives of the U.S. government agreed to protect Hawaiians. It's obvious that they are not, and if they lie to Hawaiians, chances are they will do it to you, too. One day the government may strip or try to strip some of your, your children's and/or your grandchildrens' rights, too.
Also look at all of those people who are using this as a license to hate. Don't hate. It only teaches our children, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian, to hate.
Lana Ululani Robbins
New Port Richey, Fla. and Hilo, Hawaii
Trustees have been violating Pauahi's willIn the 13th article of her will, Ke Ali'i Bernice Pauahi Paki Bishop stated the following: "I direct my trustees to invest the remainder of my estate in such manner as they may think best ... and to devote a portion of each year's income to the support and education of orphans, and others in indigent circumstances, giving the preference to Hawaiians of pure or part aboriginal blood; the proportion in which said annual income is to be divided among the various objects above mentioned to be determined solely by my said trustees they to have full discretion."
Notice she said "orphans, and others in indigent circumstances." How many of the students at Kamehameha Schools actually fall under this category and how many are the children of wealthy alumni and school boosters and investors?
The current trustees have dishonored the will of Ke Ali'i Bernice Pauahi Paki Bishop and instead are lining their own pockets and showing favoritism to those who scratch their backs. It's about time they were held accountable!
No to price caps, yes to downsizingHonolulu residents do not need a cap on the price of gasoline (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 4) nearly as much as we need a cap on the price of city government.
HOTLanes are faster, cheaper than railThe Aug. 1 ad in the Star-Bulletin on HOTLanes showed a wonderful alternative to rail transit. HOTLanes are High Occupancy Toll Lanes to be used by buses, vanpoolers and toll-paying motorists who display cards that provide automatic toll collection. The elevated two-lane tollway would be built above the existing freeway to Waikele from Pier 16.
Rail transit has never improved traffic congestion anywhere, is very costly to build and maintain and doesn't create ridership. So why levy an exorbitant tax on a highly taxed populace for a system that has not solved traffic problems?
HOTLanes make a lot of sense. This method would give people an option to drive 10 miles to the Leeward area at 60 mph. It would be an alternative route, would be convenient if an accident stalls freeway traffic, costs so much less than an increase in the excise tax and is actually faster than rail. Tell your Council member to vote no on tax Bill 40 by Wednesday.
Baseball game was hit with D.C. transplantsThank you for the wonderful article on our recent get together at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. ("Akaka hosts Hawaii-style tailgate for D.C. game," Star-Bulletin, July 23).
These gatherings of the Hawaii-D.C. community are special occasions that help eliminate the distance between us and our island home.
Our gathering was initiated by the state of Hawaii's "Aloha Friday" promotion with the Washington Nationals, Major League Baseball's newest team. It was a successful event for our state and the Nationals, as evidenced by the attendance and the fan reaction to the Hawaiian entertainment and prize giveaways. There were many highlights, especially the seventh- inning stretch featuring Halau Hoomau I ka Wai Ola O Hawaii's version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
Kudos to Governor Lingle and her team, including Lenny Klompus and Marsha Wienert, and the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau for bringing the aloha spirit to our nation's capital.
Daniel K. Akaka
Case doesn't compare to Patsy MinkIt has been almost three years since the passing of our strong voice in Congress, Patsy Mink. She devoted her life to the fight for the underdog and making Hawaii and the nation a better place for all.
Unfortunately, Rep. Ed Case has been a poor substitute. Case, a Republican's Democrat who claims to be an independent, has been a rubberstamp for the Bush administration. He has supported the war in Iraq and insists we stay there indefinitely regardless of our losses in personnel and the waste of our resources. He supported the Patriot Act, which blatantly violates our civil liberties and allows government snooping into all aspects of our lives.
Our congressional delegation has always worked as a team for the good of Hawaii, but Case is not a team player. He plays it his own way regardless of who may be harmed in the process. Hawaii's second congressional district needs real representation because we sure aren't getting it now.
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