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The Japanese Internment And The Animosity That Lead Up To It

1665 words - 7 pages

The Japanese Internment and theAnimosity that Lead up to itHow would you feel if you were forced to abandon your home or business for no reason other than your ethnicity? That is exactly what the American government did to the Japanese living in the United States during World War II. The Japanese-Americans, the majority of them American citizens, were forced to leave their homes and many of their belongings in order to be incarcerated in concentration camps. This act of discrimination against the Japanese-Americans had a huge impact on their lives; however, some positive came the situation. This blemish on American history has helped many people in recent generations, as well as people today, realize that it is not fair to deny people their constitutional rights or discriminate against someone for reasons such as ethnicity, nationality, or religion.The evacuation of 1942 did not occur in a vacuum, but was based on almost a century of anti-Oriental fear, prejudice, and misunderstanding (Daniels 2). Immigration from China, which started around 1849, created an entirely new strain of American racism from which the Japanese-Americans were to suffer greatly (Daniels 3). The Chinese men competed with white workingmen for jobs. The Chinese were willing to work for less and as the jobs for white men decreased the amount of tension and hostility towards the Orientals increased. Eventually the hatred of the Chinese became so intense that the courts refused to accept their testimonies and mobs and gangs physically abused them (Daniels 4).When the Japanese began to immigrate to the United States in the early 1900's there was already racial tension towards people of Oriental background. At anti-Chinese and anti-Japanese meetings it was protested that the Chinese and Japanese are not the stuff of which American citizens can be made (Britannica Encyclopedia CD-ROM). During the many elections in the early 1900's the political parties took stands against "Asiatic" immigration. Articles in the national papers stated that Japanese men were a menace to American women. In the years to come many anti-Japanese groups and organizations were formed (Daniels 11).In the 1930's, as part of a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment, the San Francisco school board announced that it intended to remove Japanese pupils from the regular schools and place them in a school for children of Chinese and Japanese descent. The stated reason for this was that American children should not be placed in any position where their youthful impressions may be affected by association with the Mongolian race (Daniels 12). Intervention from Congress later forced the San Francisco School Board to allow the children of Oriental descent to attend the school (Daniels 13).The Japanese-Americans faced a society that rejected them regardless of their accomplishments. For example, fully credited Japanese education majors were practically unemployable. One such individual wrote in 1937, "I am a fruit stand worker....

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