Japanese Americans Racism/Discrimination Essay

1280 words - 6 pages

Each day we live, taking for granted everything we have. Freedom to choose where to live, eat, work, and go to school. What would happen if all of that was taken away? And not just by another country, but by our own people. Our own government took our rights and belongings away overnight. What would people do? On February 19 of 1942, the president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed an evacuation order, ordering “the evacuation of all persons deemed a threat to national security from the West Coast to relocation centers further inland”( ). Meaning anyone who looked like they were of japanese descent, was considered a threat to the security of the United States. The racism ...view middle of the document...

Taking one bag or what they could carry. They were sent to internment camps were located all across America in what we would consider waste lands like deserts and swamps. Some on Indian reservations, without permission. Each camp was set up slightly different, but they all had the same kind of layout. Each camp was set up like barracks,although very poorly built, with a cafeteria or mess hall and one room “apartments” for families of all sizes, with cots as beds and no heat or running water. They had public bathrooms and little privacy. Each person was fed on a strict allotment of forty eight cents, from government commodity foods and castoff meats from army surplus with food like spam, hot dogs, kidneys, potatoes and even ketchup. The japanese people protested the potatoes and fought to have rice back into their diets. They did get rice back, but it was rarely, if ever prepared correctly. It would either be burnt or way under cooked. They were even told who could and couldn’t have milk. Only the children under twelve could have milk, and only a few ounces a day. But what made it the most like a concentration camp was that they lost their freedom. There rights to live. They were fenced in with barbed wire and guarded not for their own protection, but to contain them.Why did we rip them from their homes, their communities? What made them different? Was it their culture, their way of life, their ancestors? We treated them like they were outlaws. The same way we treated the indians in the 1800’s. We forced them to leave their homes behind, and go to new places we didn’t think were worth living in. The only difference is we didn’t guard them. We are always learning about the indians, why is it that camps like these were rarely mentioned?
Many of the japanese people adjusted to this new life, not that they enjoyed it, but they made the best with what they had. Using skills from previous careers like carpentry and farming, they made the land livable. They made furniture for their homes, and grew various crops for wages. The pay was small to nonexistent, with twelve to nineteen dollars a month, but the food was used for part of their diet and sent to other camps, like it, to use. They grew crops like beets, tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, potatoes, and various others. But farming wasn’t the only job, with the farming more jobs were created. They needed people to work in warehouses, transportation, and machine maintenance. Schools were also in session for children. They are taught the standard curriculum for that state, but in once in high school they start to learn more skills like...

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