Purpose of Arakaki case is to eliminate discrimination
By Earl Arakaki
We, the plaintiffs in the so-called Arakaki case, are constantly asked why we have filed suit to eliminate the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. Are we trying to harm native Hawaiians?
The 15 plaintiffs in the Arakaki lawsuit are: Toby Kravet
Sandra P. Burgess
Brian L. Clarke
Allen H. Teshima
Robert M. Chapman
The 15 plaintiffs in the Arakaki lawsuit are:
This article attempts to explain what we are doing, and why. The court action by the Arakaki plaintiffs seeks only to eliminate the racial discrimination that is dividing Hawai'i's people. It seeks to do this in a way that is fair to the existing homesteaders, and fair and timely to all of us.
Hawai'i, like every other part of the United States, has people in need. We support government action to help these people. But the goals of OHA and the homes commission, both agencies of our state government, seek only to help people with a drop of Hawaiian blood, leaving out other people with the same needs. Everyone in need should have the same chance to get government help, regardless of his or her ancestry.
What OHA and the commission are doing violates the Constitution, which is why we are fighting them in court, but what they are doing also violates the most basic concepts of fairness and public morality as the racial division between our fellow citizens gets deeper. No good can come of this, and we believe the majority of Hawai'i's people don't want to see it happen.
There is also no reason for it. Nothing about Hawai'i's past or present justifies denying government aid to one modern-day applicant and giving it to another solely because of somebody's ancestry. That's not justice for anyone.
Nothing in Hawai'i's past or present deprives today's Hawaiians of the same rights and the same opportunities that other citizens have to develop themselves, to take pride in their cultural traditions, and to succeed in their chosen endeavors.
Indeed, this has been true for generations: When the subjects of the monarchy became citizens of the United States, they used their voting power to dominate the legislature and our highest elective offices until World War II. They didn't need racial discrimination to do this. They don't need it now.
The following paragraphs summarize our purpose:
Hawai'i is the only state in the nation that gives homesteads from its public lands and distributes public revenues exclusively to individuals of one ancestry. This is racial discrimination, and it violates the U.S. Constitution.
These discriminatory acts by Hawaiian Homes and OHA are unfair to all taxpayers of other ethnic backgrounds who pay the costs but are excluded from sharing the benefits. They are unfair to Hawaiians electing to be free of racial programs. They diminish Hawaiians and hold them down by making them wards of the state and treating them like children incapable of handling their own affairs.
We understand the emotions that fuel demands for distributions based on race, but in the end there can be no arguments that justify violations of the U.S. Constitution.
This Arakaki case will affect the social and economic well-being of our state and its people, and therefore it should be heard quickly and efficiently. Only the courts can give us a conclusive answer to the constitutional question of whether hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars can legally be given away to citizens of just one race. We all need that answer, and we need it now.
All 15 plaintiffs are residents, citizens and taxpayers of the state of Hawai'i and the United States. Ten of them were born and reared in Hawai'i. Five of those have at least one ancestor born in the kingdom of Hawai'i. Included among the plaintiffs are people of Japanese, English, Filipino, Portuguese, Hawaiian, Irish, Chinese, Scottish, Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, German, Spanish, Okinawan, Dutch, French and other ancestries.
Earl Arakaki is the lead plaintiff. He wrote this with the approval of, and on behalf of, all the plaintiffs.