Reverse Racism Is Alive And Well

Jerry Coffee
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Wednesday - August 31, 2005
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On Tuesday, Aug. 23, during the debate on the pending “Akaka Bill,” an extraordinary thing happened. In spite of the fact that the debate, sponsored by the Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs and League of Women Voters of Hawaii, exemplified the best of the democratic process, ironically, for the first time since making my home in Hawaii 30 years ago, I felt like I was living in a Third World country.

Featured were moderator, Judge Michael Broderick, and four individuals representing differing points of view. Pro Akaka Bill were state Attorney General Mark Bennett and former Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Robert Klein.

Against the Akaka Bill were Constitutional lawyer historian and representative of Grassroots Hawaii Bruce Fein, and Native Hawaiian journalist/filmmaker Anne Keala Kelly. Technically it was a two against two debate, however, Kelly spoke against the bill not because it would divide the state according to race, but because, in her view and that of her supporters present, it would pre-empt the total secession from the United States and total independence. So she supported neither the positions of Bennett and Klien nor that of Fein, effectively pitting three against Fein.


Kelly’s opening and subsequent comments reflected her writings, which have been stridently anti-military and apparently anti-tourism as well. She appears to be against anything non “Hawaiian” that has helped transition the state into the modern world in which it is thriving.

At the outset of the debate, Judge Broderick reminded the audience that we are in Hawaii, that we should be respectful of all opinions, and that Aloha should prevail. Nevertheless, the separatist faction represented by the views of Kelly - which made up perhaps a fifth of the audience of 400 or so - seemed to assume the moderator’s reminder pertained to all but them. During Kelly’s comments, her supporters would make audibly enthusiastic comments of agreement and encouragement, but when her opponents were speaking - especially Mr. Fein - the comments were sarcastic, rude and even louder.

During each participant’s two minute wrap-up the noise increased to the point where, during Justice Klein’s and Mr.

Fein’s comments, catcalls and shouts - “Liar! Liar! “Yankee Go Home!” “White Man Go Home!” - drowned out their words.

It occurred to me then and there that if the Akaka bill should pass, these are the extremists who could just as well shift gears in accordance with the new reality, infiltrate the new “Native Hawaiian Governing Entity” by joining the process, and pursue their goals of secession and independence, ironically, under the protection of the U.S. Government. Senator Akaka himself acknowledged this past week that the passage of his bill could eventually lead to Hawaiian independence.

Paul Sullivan wrote a factual and well-reasoned anti-Akaka Bill treatise, “Killing Aloha.” Even before the bill is voted upon in the U.S. Senate next week, at that debate we were seeing the eyes of Aloha begin to cloud over.

Dear Reader, if you want to see Native Hawaiian programs preserved on the basis of need rather than race, and don’t want to see our state divided into two separate governments, one for the tax-favored, the zoning-favored, the justice-favored, the economic-favored, and the governmental largess-favored, and the other for the non-favored non-Native Hawaiians who will nevertheless be paying for all the favors, do something about it!

The most comprehensive poll on the issue with 16,000 respondents showed we are against the Akaka bill by 2 to 1.

But since our own “representatives” are a lost cause, write, phone, FAX or e-mail your friends throughout the Mainland, ask them to contact their senators (any way possible, but FAX being the most effective) urging them to vote NO on Akaka.

The way things are shaping up, if the bill passes, we run the risk of “Last Star On, First Star Off” being more than just an extremist slogan.

See www.aloha4all.org

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