Racism, un-American, 1917.


William H. Heen, deputy attorney-general, is a young American citizen who has conducted himself well and made a good, clean, promising record as deputy county attorney of Hawaii and deputy attorney-general of the territory.

The department of justice recommended him and President Wilson appointed him as a circuit court judge for Oahu. The appointment went to the judiciary committee of the senate for consideration, and now comes news that it has been held up in committee because of a protest that Mr. Heen is part-Chinese.

Such a protest ought to arouse unanimous condemnation in Hawaii. It is absolutely unfair and absolutely un-American. Particularly it is a gross injustice in Hawaii. He is also part-Hawaiian. The combination of bloods has not unfitted him for American citizenship, as he has shown by his conduct in the modest offices he has held. They were held with credit to him.

That the protest is made on the grounds that “Billy” Heen is part-Chinese is additional reason why he should be confirmed—as a rebuke to narrow-mindedness.

(Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3/23/1917, p. 4)


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Volume XXIV, Number 7782, Page 4. March 23, 1917.

1 thought on “Racism, un-American, 1917.

  1. Elsewhere in the USA at this time, there was probably absolutely no chance that anyone other than a pure caucasian could have been elected or appointed to any high-ranking government position. Notice that the objection raised here against Heen was his Chinese blood, not that he wasn’t entirely white, or that he was Hawaiian – the latter two ancestries were acceptable for a government official then.

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