Racism within academia

My recent experiences with racism within academia has significantly grown my appreciation for Dr. Haunani-Kay Trask, the legendary Hawaiian professor at the University of Hawaii who did so much to advance Hawaiian rights, as well as the rights of indigenous peoples all over the world, such as Native Americans and Ryukyu / Okinawans. Trask particularly had a huge impact on improving the rights of indigenous peoples within academia. Of course, she was attacked mercilessly by many critics at the time who called her “extreme.” Actually though, looking back on the things she said, they no longer seem particularly extreme, but seem rather normal or even mild compared to some of the rhetoric we hear today. This is in large part due to the efforts of Dr. Trask, who laid the foundation for other indigenous scholars to build off of.

Here’s a video of Dr. Trask giving a speech at the University of Hawaii regarding racism within academia. It’s around three decades old, and I was just a very small keiki at the time. But it provides a glimpse of the incredible amount of racism and prejudice that Dr. Trask had to go through at the University of Hawaii.

Today the University of Hawaii is still far from perfect, as the recent controversy surrounding Mauna Kea and the Thirty Meter Telescope suggests. But it has come an awful long way in the last several decades, thanks to Dr. Trask and others who worked so hard for so long.

 

National Education Association publishes articles about Hawaiian Kingdom, independence

Three fascinating articles written by Dr. Keanu Sai and published by the National Education Association talking about the Hawaiian Kingdom and Hawaii’s independence:

 

The Impact of the U.S. Occupation on the Hawaiian People

 

The U.S. Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom

 

The Illegal Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government

Oscar Gil, PhD Student, calls U.S. take over of Hawaiians, Native Americans, “blessing beyond imagination”

Oscar Gil, a Ph.D. in History student at Liberty University, has attempted to discredit Hawaiian independence studies in a class discussion board post on November 8, 2019 in which he used the terms “nonsense” and “sedition” to describe Hawaiian independence issues. He also stated that “the United States has given rights, protection, and a blessing beyond imagination not only to those ingenious peoples there but also to the rest of the United States that the rest of the world can only dream about.”

The comments came in response to this video discussing Hawaiian Studies:

 

 

 

Gil’s full comments can be found in the screenshot below:

Screen Shot 2019-11-08 at 10.50.48 PM
Discussion board post written by Oscar Gil, Ph.D. in History student at Liberty University, in response to a video by Rob Kajiwara.

Gil’s comments are problematic and inaccurate for numerous reasons which are immediately obvious to almost anyone familiar with Hawaiian issues. I will briefly explain only a few of them here.

Gil, who is neither Hawaiian nor Native American, attempts to speak on behalf of Hawaiians and Native Americans by calling their take over by the United States as a “blessing beyond imagination,” a statement which the majority of Hawaiians and Native Americans would find deeply offensive. It is well-known that the United States committed genocide against millions of Native Americans. What is less well-known are the numerous human rights violations against Hawaiians. Hawaiians have been working since 1893 to regain their de facto independence.

Gil contradicts the claims of the two scholars mentioned in the video, Dr. Keanu Sai and Dr. Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻopu, both of whom teach in the University of Hawaii system and have been cited and published in peer-reviewed articles and books. Gil himself, though, cites no sources to back up any of his claims.

The issue of Hawaii’s independence is not based on indigenous rights, but on international laws pertaining to sovereignty. This is explained in detail in works by Dr. Keanu Sai, H.E. Leon Siu, and numerous others. Please see Basis for the Restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom for more information.

Copy and pasted from www.HawaiianKingdom.net:

“…secession is illegal under United States law. Hawaii does not need to secede from the U.S., since it was never legally part of the U.S. to begin with. Rather, the U.S. needs to de-occupy the Hawaiian Islands, which it has been illegally occupying with no treaty of annexation since 1898.

“Hawaii’s situation is unique, meaning that the states of the United States cannot use Hawaii’s independence as a model for secession. Out of the 49 States of America, only Alaska can make a similar (though slightly different) claim of never having been legally acquired by the U.S. “

Gil’s perpetuating of false information is harmful. Ph.D. students should be held to a much higher standard for accuracy, as they are influential members of society. For a Ph.D. in History student to use such flawed arguments that are detrimental to oppressed and marginalized people groups is of great concern.