How Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders became a Separate Classification from “Asian Americans”
When the Office of Management and Budget first created in the 1970s the racial and ethnic classifications that are used across the government and became standard throughout American society, Native Hawaiians were included in the “Asian and Pacific Islanders” classification.
As sociologist Michael Omi explained 2001 article, this wound up not sitting well with Native Hawaiians:
Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) initiated a discussion and subsequent lobbying effort to move Native Hawaiians out of the Asian/Pacific Islander category beginning in the early 1990s. Senator Akaka’s office had been receiving phone calls
Article from Reason.com