Aug 2, 2005

Kamanawanna Schoolya

Okay sorry. Cheesy title. But look:

A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down the exclusive Kamehameha Schools' policy of admitting only Native Hawaiians, saying it amounts to unlawful racial discrimination.

Overturning a lower court decision, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 2-1 that the practice at the private school violates federal civil rights law even though the institution receives no federal funding.

The case was brought by an unidentified non-Hawaiian student who was turned down for admission in 2003.

If you don't know, back in 1883, a Hawaiian princess established the Kamehameha schools to educate "the children of Hawaii." According to this article, the Hawaiian-only admission policy was created specifically to remedy the disadvantages suffered by Hawaiians as a result of the overthrow of Hawaiian monarchy. And the Kamehameha schools have been known to be some of the most sought-after institutions based on the quality of education received here.

I'm curious to know what my friend Reid thinks about this, as I know that he closely follows the goings-on in his home state. Most likely we'll think the same - that this is a defeat for native Hawaiians' efforts to hang on to whatever shred of original, non-mainland culture they have left. The Kamehameha schools are private. They are partly funded by a trust left behind by the Hawaiian princess which is worth now about $6.2 billion, and it receives no federal funding. As far as I am concerned, they can admit whomever they want. And in this case, where the schools are trying to uphold the mandate in the name of preserving Hawaiian culture and giving back to the children, I see no problem with it.

I hate to draw this parallel, but if this happened on the mainland, say, oh, I don't know, in a red state? Oh, the uproar. Yeah, I know, if these were white people wanting a white-only school system, the same argument applies. And yes, I'd be angered to find out that there's some private school out there that only admits whites. Hell, I went to a private university for grad school, and there was just a handful of non-whites there, anyway.

But when it comes to minority interests, we need all the help we can get. American society as a whole is not the kumbaya, racially tolerant society we think we are. Not yet, anyway. And yes, even in California. So whatever helps out the underdog, I'm all for.

And good for that Hawaiian princess wanting to save all her money and donate it to the "children of Hawaii." Of all the selfless, charitable, heartfelt gestures ever. Go on with your bad self.

Let the native-born Hawaiians have their Hawaiians-only schools, Jesus H.


Adobo said...

I agree with ya 120% Mags! It is a private school people! As the world becomes smaller, (dont get me started on colonizations-Borg assimilations) countries have become more and more melting pots. Cultural identities, traditions, and self appreciation of one's "gene pool" are sadly going the way of dinosaurs-toward extinction. To contradict the Borgs, "resistance is NOT futile!" Mahalo Mags for bringing this up. Aloha!

Reid said...

what a sad sad state of affairs. it's a huge ruling and many saw it coming ever since the rice v. cayetano case several years ago. without the passing of this native hawaiian recognition bill up for vote in the senate, many many more hawaiian entitlement programs will be targeted by mainland haoles. (on a side note, although this bill is controversial even among native hawaiians, i believe this is one of the best steps to take at this time.) i think many of these lawsuits coincide with the increase of mainland haoles moving here.

princess bernice pauahi bishop must be turning over in her grave.

i also wanted to report that from early yesterday morning commercials on the radio about the kamehameha schools decision were already playing. basically, it went something like it being a dark day for hawaiians, but with their faith, their perseverance, and their princess, they will appeal. it also said that "gatherings of support" (i.e. protests) will take place this weekend at the iolani palace (the seat and home of the monarchy before it was overthrown by the u.s.; now currently behind the state capitol) and similar locations on the neighbor islands. pretty
amazing stuff, huh? all of the radio stations had call-ins, allowing people to express their opinions on the subject, and i can tell you that the majority of local people here are infuriated with the decision. growing up as a non-native hawaiian, you just know that kamehameha schools isn't for you. there are many more private schools, good ones, anyone can attend. you understand why you can't attend, and respect the institution. you know all of this like you know how kona winds affect the weather, or why you take your shoes off when you enter someone's home. it's just local custom and local knowledge.

this school and its admissions policy have been in existence long, long before hawaii was a state, in fact, before we were even a territory of the u.s. and now this decision. i think that asshole grant (the lawyer for the plaintiff) remarked how civil rights even apply to hawaii. ugh...remarks like that just get to me, especially when they're made by people who have absolutely zero ties to these islands and likewise zero understanding of the local culture. these constitutionalists fail to understand the history of hawaii and refuse to acknowledge the differences that separate hawaii from the mainland. this school is the last major bastion of hope hawaiians have for their future, and it represents a long history of oppression suffered under the hands of ignorant americans. sorry, i'm just going off on a rant here, but over the years i have just seen the situation of the hawaiians deteriorate.

JoyM said...

Hey, I saw your posting on my Streetwars incident; thanks for the shout out! I was reading about the state of Kam. school while I was vacationing in Hawaii. It's so sad! First, the U.S. takes their land, then they won't let them have their own school. By the way, I think you mentioned that you'll be in Hawaii in September. Did you live there too? It was fun going back for me; things have changed all that much...