While native Hawaiians work to maintain their ancestry and place in history, some believe "being Hawaiian" is a culture and attitude and they should be treated equally. The line has been drawn between the two, to decide who receives government aid.
Almost daily news casts highlight the on going race issues throughout the contiguous 48 states. The arguments for illegal aliens divides towns that depend on these workers for much of the work force. While illegal, they hope for a chance of freedom and the American dream.
Turn the channel and issues of segregation are the focus, bringing to the forefront the not so hidden race issues of the 50’s and 60’s. To watch the news, the past repeats itself and answers are still not found. While illegal immigrants and segregation are in the forefront, there are race issues most are not aware of, yet they are dividing a culture.
In the idyllic scenery of the Hawaiian Islands a line has been drawn between those who hold fast to their native Hawaiian ancestry and those who believe living in Hawaii and adopting the culture makes them Hawaiian. The line has been drawn because of a 1921 program created by Congress that enables native Hawaiians the opportunity to own land for $1 a year. For those with ‘mixed ancestry,’ low-interest loans and admission to the highly accredited school, Kamehameha. Those who are not native Hawaiians want the same benefits are those awarded to with at least 50 per cent Hawaiian ancestry.
In Hawaii, however, blood and ancestry are stronger and more important than anywhere, and being able to prove that you are native is a big deal, as it can not be done by blood, instead birth certificates, census, obituaries and marriage license are the ways to prove a family is truly Hawaiian and not merely a transplant, as some may call them.
Some argue that being Hawaiian is more than blood, it’s a culture and a way of life and holding elections open to only Native Hawaiians is racially discriminating.
Hawaii spend millions of dollars a year on programs to promote the Hawaiian language, pushing for Hawaiians to be federally recognized and other program that benefit native Hawaiians, believing those who are less than 50 per cent Hawaiian are “Obviously more of something else, they are not Hawaiian.”
It’s hard to know who is right in this instance, but it shows us that no matter where we live, the racial divide is there.