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From Race to EthnicityInterpreting Japanese American Experiences in Hawaii$
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Jonathan Y. Okamura

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839505

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839505.001.0001

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Advocacy and Advancement

Advocacy and Advancement


(p.81) Chapter 4 Advocacy and Advancement
From Race to Ethnicity

Jonathan Y. Okamura

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the Japanese Americans' advocacy for non-haole minorities, including themselves, as well as their economic and political advancement, in the context of race during the period 1946–1970. It discusses the historical processes and events that helped transform Japanese Americans from a working-class, racialized minority to one of the politically dominant ethnic groups in Hawaiʻi. These historical developments include the unionization of plantation and dock workers led by the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU), the sugar strike of 1946, the Democratic “revolution” of 1954, and statehood for Hawaiʻi in 1959. By assuming an advocacy position for themselves and other ethnic groups, Japanese Americans advanced into the middle class and gained increasing political power by the end of 1970. The chapter also highlights the major contributions of Patsy Mink and Jack Kawano toward racial equality, economic reform, and social justice for Hawaiʻi's working class.

Keywords:   advocacy, advancement, race, Japanese Americans, ethnic groups, Hawaiʻi, unionization, Patsy Mink, Jack Kawano, working class

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