Race Tests in America

Glenn Reynolds mentions an article on racial tests in Hawaii.  I blogged about a similar Hawaiian program several years ago, where $1 a year land leases are granted by the state to native Hawaiians

Qualifying for the program requires that the recipient pass a strict racial test, which the HHL web site says is "50% or greater native Hawaiian blood".  Setting eligibility for a government program based on racial tests is pretty outlandish in and of itself, but it gets worse.  People taking advantage of the program need to think carefully about the race of their mate before they decide how much to invest in their home.  A 75% Hawaiian who marries a full-blooded Hawaiian will be able to pass the improvements on to their children (since the children will be more than 50% Hawaiian), and thus can justify a large home investment.  The same person who marries a full-blooded Japanese or African or Anglo-Saxon will not be able to pass their home on to their kids, since their kids will fail the race test.  So, not only is there a race-test for a government program, but the government is providing strong financial incentives not to "dilute" a certain race.  Hawaii uber alles.

  • Rob

    There are many jobs on the reservation with " Native-American Preference" or "Indian preference" as almost a prerequisite to apply for employment. These are US govt jobs. not just Tribal jobs.

  • IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society

    I think we all need to start checking "African American" as our race association.

    It doesn't matter if you're a friggin' albino.

    DARE the mother f***ers to actually challenge you to your face.

    Me, I can even justify it -- I was born in 1959 -- my Iowa-WASP GGF was born in 1870. When my mother brought me to his/my GGM's house to show me off in "swaddling clothes", he was sitting in sight of the doorway and saw her standing there with me. He said, "You're not bringing that n****r baby into my house." My GGM, unhappily, closed the door in her face.

    I'm half-Italian.

    LOL. I don't think anyone, looking at me, would ever even THINK to apply the 'n' word to me.

    But by some standards of the last century, I am, indeed, a n****r.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    I recently visited Hawaii and on a tour my bus driver was a recipient of this benevolent discrimination. He explained it quite well from his point of view. It is clear that those who benefit from it are convinced it is fair and just. Alaska has a similar discriminatory policy. My wife (at the time I lived there) was a dental assistant who struggled to stay employed. The dentists in the state were REQUIRED to hire "natives" over outsiders to the point where they would have to let an employee go if a "native" qualified for the job. Rarely where the natives actually qualified and after they either made a serious mistake or they simply stopped showing up after the firt paycheck the dentist would rehire my wife. The Alaskan joke is: "An Alaskan native is anyone who has lived there longer then you".

  • J. Hubbard

    You presume that land, a scarce and valuable commodity in Hawaii, is doled out for a nominal long-term lease to a certain ethnic/racial group based on arbitrary choices. Not true.

    The Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown by a small group of American caucasian businessmen in 1893 establishing the Republic of Hawaii. Republic of Hawaii President Sanford Dole (Dole foods company - pineapples), a caucasian, desired to have tracts of land set aside for native Hawaiians.

    5 years later, 1898, Hawaii was annexed to the United States as a territory. The Hawaiian Homelands Act was passed in 1921 by the U.S. Congress, setting aside approximately 200,000 mostly, but not completely, rural land to be leased out to Hawaiians. The U.S. Congress stipulated that the lessee must be 50% Hawaiian.

    As a territory, Hawaii at that time had a non-voting Congressional delegate, Prince Jonah Kuhio, just as American Samoa, the Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands do today. Prince Kuhio, a Hawaiian of high ranking royalty who is revered to this day in Hawaii (his birthday is a state holiday) desired the race requirement to be 1/32 Hawaiian.

    After statehood was established in 1959, administration of Hawaiian Homelands was transferred to the State of Hawaii. The U.S. Government is not currently involved in administration but retains certain legal oversight rights.

    Personal opinion: As a 42 year resident (until 2009) of Hawaii, a current property owner, a product of the University of Hawaii, and having facility to some degree of the Hawaiian language, I can tell you that the race requirement for Hawaiian Home Lands bothers very few people in Hawaii. It's an interesting and important twist in the history and culture of that unique place.

  • J. Hubbard

    should read "200,000 acres of" instead of 200,000. Thank you.

  • John Moore

    When my daughter applied to Stanford, she checked Native-American. The paperwork we got back would have made the 20th century eugenicist happy - prove blood percentage, blah, blah, blah.

    This stuff is corrosive to society.

    As far as Hawaii goes, the "natives" (Polynesians who conquered the place before Caucasians) have been pushing a bill far outside land ownership, and there are already other discriminatory laws favoring them.