RE: Native Hawaiians
Native Hawaiian are classified under Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders racial group that became a different racial category after being split from Asians (Lai & Arguelles, p. 12). They differ greatly from Asian Americans based on the fact that the ancestors of Native Hawaiians are the original settlers of Hawaii Islands while Asian Americas trace back their ancestry to their home countries in Asia. While the first generation of Asian Americans immigrates to the U.S, the Native Hawaiians were the initial occupants of Hawaii Islands and since Hawaii is a U.S state they are said to be U.S citizens similar to Native American Indians. In essence, unlike Asian Americans the Native Hawaiians are considered an indigenous minority group even though debate has raged on over their sovereignty over the years, having the right of self-determination and self-governance.
The socioeconomics and demographics of Native Hawaiians also show significant differences between them and Asian Americans. We have seen that Asian Americans came to the U.S to seek better opportunities and have managed to enhance their living standards, lifestyles and family conditions over the years. On the other hand, Native Americans have faced deplorable conditions, bitterness, pain and trauma due to the annexation by the U.S and subsequent takeover as a U.S state and removal as a sovereign territory, which saw them dispossessed of their own homeland and lose control over their resources. The Native Americans have low income levels, high infant mortality, low status jobs, highest unemployment levels and low life expectancy compared to Asian Americans who earn high income levels, are employed in professional and managerial positions and have low mortality rates. According to the book, “These socioeconomic statistics reflect a disparity in the standards of living between Native Hawaiians and Caucasians, Japanese, and Chinese in Hawaii” (Wu, Chen & Okhiro, p. 102).
Lai, E., & Arguelles, D. (2003). The New Face of Asian Pacific America. San Francisco: AsianWeek Magazine, with UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center Press.
Wu, J., Chen, T., & Okhiro, G. (2011). Asian American Studies Now: A Critical Reader. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.