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history is a matter of some dispute. Based on his studies, Adams wrote that:
- ...there is, in Hawaii, an uncommon degree of freedom in relation to interracial marriage and that this freedom is the consequence of the special practices, doctrines and sentiments relating to race that have come out of the historic conditions. The historic situation has favored the development of the mores of racial equality. Because there is no denial of political rights and economic or educational privilege on grounds of race, because racial equality is symbolized, the social code permits of marriage across race lines. 96/
The Commission received comments 97/ on the issue of racism in Hawaii that do not coincide with the conclusion of sociologist Romanzo Adams that: "The historic situation has favored the development of the mores of racial equality." 98/ Even though race relations do not seem to be the idyll painted by some authors, racial tensions in Hawaii do not seem to be all-pervasive. One writer states, for example, that "while there were many times in the past [that is, in the 1800's] when native Hawaiians felt the pangs of racism, for the most part racism was kept beneath the surface and remained latent." 99/ Later on during the Republic of Hawaii (1894-1900), property qualifications and other restrictions for voters would openly discriminate against poor native Hawaiians and all Asiatics in Hawaii (see following section).
Race relations in Hawaii did, however, reach dangerously low levels in the early 1930's with the Massie rape case, which was cited in at least one comment received by the Commiboion. 100/ In 1931, Mrs. Massie, the wife of a young Navy lieutenant, was attacked and allegedly raped by five "dark-skinned youths" near Waikiki. 101/ A racially-mixed jury was unable to reach a verdict on her alleged assailants and: "A private report from the Pmkerton Detective Agency to Governor Judd showed subsequently that the woman's story was full of contradictions and that in the opinion of the consultants, an acquittal was absolutely justified." 102/ The U.S. Navy did not agree and the "Commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District sent scorching wires to the Secretary of the Navy denouncing the administration of justice in Hawaii." 103/ Meanwhile, Mrs. Massie's husband and mother kidnapped one of the accused, a native Hawaiian, and killed him. This time, the jury convicted them. After much agitation on the U.S. mainland and by the military in Hawaii, however, the Governor commuted the 10-year prison sentences of Mrs. Massie's husband and mother to one hour.
The uproar caused by this case was accompanied by "hysterical" Navy reports stating that the enforcement of the law in Hawaii was lax and inefficient and described "dark gangs of prowlers, lusting after white women, Japanese annoyances directed at Navy personnel, and riots caused by fighting between natives and Orientals against whites." 104/ As a result, there was strong pressure by the Navy to strip Hawaii of its territorial status, and bills were introduced in Congress to create a commission government in Hawaii in which the Array and Navy would have a voice. None of these bills was passed, but the residents of Hawaii became aware for the first time of their tenuous position as a U.S. territory.
The evolution of native Hawaiian society from birth-determined chiefs
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