Discrimination is when one group of people treats another group unfairly because of some type of prejudice or hatred. It can happen when people have bad feelings about another person or group of people based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc. Unfortunately, the US has a long history of discrimination and even if something seemed like the right thing to do at the time, discrimination is hurtful and often very unfair. This is especially true when the discrimination is institutionalized, or a part of the law or government. An example of this is Executive Order 9066 which was enacted during World War II, just after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.
When Japan made war on the US on that fateful day, December 7, 1941, the US government and citizens became so scared that they allowed a form of discrimination to occur that was very harmful to thousands of native Japanese and Japanese-Americans. Executive Order 9066 and its details are a part of American history that many people do not know about, and the details of this order, in addition to the past and present affects, demonstrate a time in American history when a terrible case of discrimination was allowed to occur.
There are many important details to Executive Order 9066 that should be understood. This order was enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at a time when Americans were feeling very scared and suspicions of not only the country of Japan, but also of any Japanese people living in the US. Starting on December 8th, one day after the bombing, the FBI began investigating Japanese in the US, and especially on the West Coast, to find out if they had helped Japan in any way with their attack. While this must have been a very scary time, this was the first example of the discrimination that happened in the US because Japanese were prevented by law from becoming citizens, so they were therefore treated as aliens without the protection of the US constitution.
With the recent attacks on the United States by terrorists, many Americans have been experiencing feelings of fear, sadness and tremendous anger. With Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban being held responsible, many of Middle-Eastern descent have been experiencing great prejudice and discrimination and are being stereotyped as terrorists. These types of feelings are very prevalent in American society ...
Then, on February 19, 1942, the order was passed by the president and over the next couple of years 120,000 Japanese, including 77,000 Japanese-Americans, were sent to internment camps. This was discrimination because even though the president and the US citizens were scared, they allowed this unfair treatment of the Japanese people with often no real evidence that they actually aided Japan. Finally, the unfair discrimination was at its worst when we look at how the Japanese were notified of their relocation interment. The government allowed the FBI to take people from their homes, to post signs on light poles and sides of buildings, and to take people away from their lives and belongings with as little as four hours’ notice. All these details of Executive Order 9066 are examples of the terrible and unfair discrimination that was shown towards the Japanese during World War II.
At the time that the order was issued by the president, there were many Japanese people living on the West Coast of the United States who were affected. Many Japanese families, some with as little as one-eighth Japanese ancestry, were forced to leave their lives and belongings even though they had done nothing wrong and one family in particular was the Wakatsuki family of Long Beach, CA. In her memoir Farewell to Manzanar, Jeanne Wakatsuki-Houston tells the story of her family and what they went through after Pearl Harbor when her dad was taken from her home by the FBI and he was treated like a criminal. The discrimination that her father faced was hard for Jeanne and her family because they had lived happily and successfully in the US for so long that they did not have any ties at all to Japan.
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Another example of discrimination was the living conditions that the Japanese families had to face in the camp. From bad housing, to bad food, and little sanitation, the camps were not fit for animals let alone for people and yet the government and the US citizens did not seem to care. And as if that was not bad enough, a final form of discrimination was the Loyalty Oaths that the Japanese in these camps were asked to sign. Even thought they were not given the rights and freedoms of natural born US citizens, the Japanese were asked to swear loyalty to a country that was treating them like dirt. This was discrimination because the terrible condition and the forced interment were unfair, but asking for allegiance at the same time was an extreme insult. All of these examples, from the Wakatsuki family as well as so many others, are unfair examples of the discrimination that the Japanese faced at the hands of the president and the people of the United States.
Even though Executive Order 9066 was voided after the war ended and the Japanese were allowed to return to regular life, the lasting effects even today are important to understand. It was not until 1988 that US Congress and President Reagan realized how discriminatory and unfair the order was and they finally made a move to officially apologize for the way the government allowed Japanese who were living and working in the US to be treated. Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act in 1988 and surviving Japanese internees were awarded a one-time tax-free payment of $20,000. While the money was probably welcome to the families, it hardly made up for the discrimination they faced and the loss of life and wages that they suffered while in the camps. Other examples of the lasting discrimination for the Japanese can be seen in people like Frank Seishi Emi.
Mr. Emi lost his family business and all his property when he was interned, and he never received them back. He worked as a mail clerk after the war and this is an example of just one loss he faced due to discrimination. Mr. Emi also chose, with many other Japanese in the camps, to not enlist in the US army and to fight Japan and for this he they were called the “no-no boys.” Mr. Emi was sentenced to prison for working to help others avoid the draft and he spent time in jail with hardened criminals for not wanting to fight in the war. And finally and most unfortunately, Mr. Emi also faced discrimination at the hands of his own Japanese people. Many Japanese were angry with men like Mr. Emi because they felt that he and others made things worse for the Japanese people by resisting the American government. All of these examples show just how lasting the discrimination against the Japanese was and perhaps still is.
In this essay I will be describing different aspects of Japanese culture and explaining why they are finding popularity in various ways in Australia today. I will also be describing how Japan is represented in Australia. I will also write a conclusion of what I have written. Japanese culture has played an important part in everyone's lives. Whether it is through the electrical technology made in ...
Discrimination is not something that happens every day, and in every place, but when it does happen in ways such as Executive Order 9066, it is important for people to become educated on the details and the affects, both past and present. World War II and the bombing of Pearl Harbor were undoubtedly a terrifying time in American history, but fear is no excuse for discrimination. The number of Japanese effected by Executive Order 9066 is shocking, but the ways that the discrimination played out, loss of homes, family, jobs and more, is just terrible. For this country to be so firm in their no Japanese stance was simply no fair. Discrimination by one group towards another us just unacceptable, and yet it happens. One can only hope that as a country, we will learn from our mistakes and try not to make them again.