First, a little about racism as understood through critical race theory, so everyone knows where I'm coming from. Racism is not only about race, it is about power and historic structures of inequality based on race. So for example, my grandfather studied to be an electrician in Hawai'i. But because more skilled jobs in the 1950s were often reserved for ex-military men, who were haole, my grandfather was unable to find work in Hawai'i employed in the work for which he was trained. THAT is racism! He was denied work not just because he was Kanaka Maoli but because he didn't belong to the preferred race in the colonial power structure, which was created to benefit haoles. 

So that leads me to my second point. If a Kanaka Maoli has race based prejudices, because he/she has not historically belonged to the race which has benefitted from historic power structures, he/she canNOT be a racist! That doesn't mean a Kanaka Maoli cannot be prejudiced or a bigot, which are unpleasant definers, but he/she again, I repeat, canNOT be a racist! So if a Kanaka Maoli yells out their car window to the driver that just cut them off, "Damn haole!" That is not a racist statement, because it has no real effect on the person for which it is directed because it does not affect their position in the power structure. So what if a Kanaka Maoli calls a white person a haole. Does that mean haoles are going to have any less privilege wherever they go? Has calling white people haole ever hurt their job opportunities or ability to get an apartment, credit or a loan? Has calling white people haole justified their oppression? This is not to say that all haoles have it perfect. No way. But it has to be acknowledged that being haole in this current world system has its advantages and privileges that cannot be denied. On the other hand, when a haole calls a Kanaka Maoli a "Damn Kanaka" or "Damn Native," those are more than just words. With those words come a whole history of inequalities in Hawai'i, where Kanaka Maoli were dispossessed and disparaged by haoles based on being Kanaka a.k.a. Native. THAT is racism!

Third, probably one of the most misinformed and damaging arguments I hear from both Kanaka Maoli and non-Kanaka Maoli is that somehow Kanaka Maoli pursuing indigenous rights or special status in Hawai'i is racist, because those rights are race based and seemingly exclusionary. The problem is, this whole argument is based in racism, specifically what's called colorblind racism. This whole idea that we're all "human beings" is undeniably true, and so is the statement that race is a social construct. Well no kidding folks. BUT the fact remains that it is a social construct that really and truly exists and continues to perpetuate inequalities to this day. Before colonization (and let's be honest, we were colonized by haoles), Kanaka Maoli were a productive people. There's hardly any part of the islands that was not developed in some way, such as land and water based agriculture and animal husbandry. To be productive was a Hawaiian value. So if one denies that 100+ years of colonial race-based structural inequalities that historically favored haoles do not have a lasting impact on Kanaka Maoli to this day, what does that imply? Are Kanaka Maoli just too lazy or stupid to be less successful? If one denies the existence of race and lasting impact that it still has in Hawai'i today, THAT is racism! It's not about what is said outright. It's about what is implied. Bottom line, when it comes to indigenous rights or special status in Hawai'i, that is just about giving Kanaka Maoli extra leverage in a system that has been set up against us.

Last, I just want to say, this is not meant to be an attack on haoles. My mother is haole. And I know we have many loved ones, allies, and Kanaka Maoli rights advocates in Hawai'i that are haole. We know the good people. What this is about is using correct terminology to better state our positions. Racism is a word that is often used and used quite successfully to shut down dialogue. And in the context of Hawai'i, it is a word used to shut down dialogue that's often working towards building our rights. And that surely doesn't benefit us! So let's keep it real and avoid the straw man already.

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Comment by Kulia Simpson on December 10, 2013 at 12:55am
“Racism does not limit itself to biology or economics or psychology or metaphysics; it attacks along many fronts and in many forms, deploying whatever is at hand, and even what is not, inventing when the need arises.”
Albert Memmi, Racism
Also it proves 2 things
1-the inferiority of the victim
2-the superiority of the racist
I believe it is education in-conjunction with correct terminology to better state our positions.  Language is constantly changing and with that so is education.  Everyday there is new translations of the events that happened during the 1800's in the Hawaiian newspapers, journals of missionaries, Mormon's, Ship logs, and many more stories that confirm the genocide of the people, land, and power. 
Critical Race Theory is for the lawyers and scientists that help the colonists continue their reign.  We need more PhD, Masters, and academia to administrate the truth.  Put in place more Hawaiian nationals who can administer law, government and teach the people.
I will end with Albert Memmi again, who defines Racism--for me--correctly:
     Racism is the generalized and final assigning of values to real or imaginary differences, to the accuser's benefit and at his victim's expense, in order to justify the former's own privileges or aggression.
Privilege, Prejudice, and Power key foundation for a racist.  Everything else is a racial remark that spurn violence.  We should all go the way of our Queen Lili'uokalani handle it diplomatically.  Educate to administrate.
Comment by A.J. Alana Ka'imi Bryce on December 9, 2013 at 11:28am

Mahalo for this post. Very well put. I've found one of the favorite tactics of those who oppress and are privilaged enough to be ignorant about their actions is the infamous "Aren't you racist for saying I can't use this culture to benefit myself? Well, you hurt my feelings, so I'm disregarding yours, and the thousands of voices standing up against my appropriative ways."

Wake up call, most if not everyone's feelings "feel" hurt to some degree when we're told what we're doing is wrong. I just wish more folks could show some integrity and learn to listen to those cultures which they say they know so much about.

Many people fail to realize that talking about racism doesn't actually create more racism, but suppressing the conversation most definitely has and will.

I've found one of the hardest obstacles to talking about race is that when I bring it up, 1 of 2 things happens:

1. People ignore the conversation, don't want to get involved

2. of those who do respond, native and indigenous voices are often overshadowed from the cries of defense of "reverse-racism!" and "I had an oppressed experience too!" 

I agree with Ka'upenamana, although "Race" is a "social construct" it is an idea that is made alive and exists to oppress those whose skin varies from the dominant society.

Beyond that, I do believe in the power of blood and bones and flesh. Many societies agree that lineage, geneaology, ancestry, the physical force that binds us to the line of birth and deaths that created our being now. I find it interesting that in dominant white american culture this is easily embraced when it is convenient... i.e. "General custer/King Henry/Columbus __(fill in the blank)   was my great great second cousins aunts husbands father, therefor I carry something important empowering and special meaning and connection from that period of time." The same culture then turns around and tries to tell the native ones "Get over the genocide of your people and history, things are different [for us] now" as if we don't carry that same history in our flesh and bones and blood.

Just my mana'o. I am still and perpetually in a state of learning.

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