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Discrimination And Stereotyping Of Japanese Americans Essay

1976 words - 8 pages

With the attacks on the United States by terrorists, many Americans have been experiencing feelings of fear, sadness and tremendous anger. 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 today. Similarly, though not widely as discussed, Japanese-Americans have felt these feelings directed toward them for several generations. Going from the extreme of being herded to internment camps after the surprise attack of Pearl Harbor, to the more commonplace, being stereotyped in the entertainment industry and internet sites, prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping have been apart of the lives of many Japanese Americans.

America’s greatest acts of prejudice or discrimination next to the enslavement of African Americans was probably the internment of the Japanese during World War II. After the surprise attack of the Japanese on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, there was great fear that the Japanese Americans on the West Coast would revolt and aid the Japanese war effort (“Japanese American Internment”). Much evidence pointed to the contrary though.
The Munson Report investigated the loyalty of Japanese Americans and their likeliness to revolt and overwhelmingly found that they were loyal. The report also describes Japanese-Americans as having “considerably weakened […] loyalty to Japan ” and are now thought of as “foreigners to Japan” (Munson Report). The report went as far as saying that “there will be no armed uprising of Japanese. There is no Japanese ‘problem’ on the Coast” (Munson Report).

Despite this evidence and without due process of law, over 120,000 were forced from their homes into internment camps in central United States. Families were broken apart, liberties were lost and most lost all they owned (“Understanding Discrimination Against Asian-Americans”). This can be seen as an act of discrimination because rather than taking individuals and trying them on espionage, the American government convicted an entire race, without trial and with evidence to the contrary. The treatment of the Japanese Americans who were sent to the internment camps was solely based on race and not on an individual’s personal actions (“Japanese Internment”). The prejudice of the American government is also apparent. Over 120,000 people were sent to internment camps without evidence against them. The very definition of prejudice according to dictionary.com is “an adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts” (“Prejudice”). The information gathered that led up this action was ignored, and the American government simply formed the opinion that the Japanese Americans along the West Coast would revolt and that the safety of the natural born United States citizens was more important then the liberties and the lives of more than 120,000 “foreigners.” This act will...

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