A Shameful Repetition of History: Japanese Interment Camps
The results of World War II are some of the most significant in history. One of the consequences of America's going to war with Japan, however, is often overlooked in many textbooks and unknown to numbers of people. Multiple Japanese Americans or those of Japanese descent were sent to interment camps on order of the United States government on account of the crime of their race. Being Japanese placed one under suspicion automatically. Currently, outrage still surfaces, and the government finally owns how such incarceration was an infringement of their rights as American citizens under the Constitution. Does this confession do justice to the incivility of the action? It cannot repair enough of the life lost or the anger and misery conduced.
To discuss the subject is important for many people. For one, the fact should be recognized; all of those people who underwent such suffering for such a ridiculous reason should not be overlooked. Also, this can be a lesson several people can learn from. We can all see now how immoral concentration camps were, whether for Japanese, Jews, or any race and gender, for that matter. Concentration camps may be possible, but they certainly are not a reasonable solution to suspicion. The very notion of them is irresponsible; the government should be able to conjure something fair and effective, which concentration camps are not. To the general world today, just the two words "concentration camp" represent inequity, lachrymosity, and despair. It means nothing wonderful, productive, or venerable. If we detest Hitler for the murder of millions of Jews and his concentration camps, then why not hate all the arbitrary figures behind the Japanese concentration camps? The only difference is that Hitler meant to exterminate all Jews and communists, while Japanese were imprisoned to prevent any hostility in America from Japanese-Americans.
No matter how fair the idea seemed at first, Japanese Americans certainly felt the blunt end of the deal, and survivors of the concentration camps most definitely feel the months or years they lost detained in a camp for their nationality. The thought of the prejudice, of the helpless feeling of being charged of something you didn't even do because of the way you look is absolutely unimaginable and preposterous. They have every right to feel as though they misplaced their faith in America. This is something that the government cannot replace with acknowledgement and apologies. The damage has been done...but maybe it's not over and forgotten yet. What if we want to remember this piece of history always, perhaps even for our own good?
A difficult experience such as this can be very imperative in the fact that it can be remembered and improved upon. Instead of occurring all over again, like it did previously, maybe we can see history as the first mistake. Stupidity is only making a mistake after making it a first time. Why be stupid when we can be better than before? There is no reason to induce pain when we can thwart it, when it's absolutely unnecessary.
Unfortunately, this and many other violations of rights are still being ignored. On the news, broadcasts of racially-motivated beatings by police are still seen. Criminals roam the streets while innocent men are thrown in jail because they have a worse criminal record. These alarming and humiliating instances could have been prevented with ethics and recognition of right and wrong, perhaps from history.
Arguments and reactions against any contemptible deed show that many people know right from wrong, and that many are conscious enough to learn from their mistakes the first time. If not from their conscience, perhaps people learn from what has already occurred; in which case, some horrible experiences may be of some use. So it would be a terrible shame if such anguish went to such an agonizing waste. We really might as well see history as such, since there is nothing else to do about what's already happened.
People should be able to look at these periods in time, and bear in mind either the laudable or corrupted facts and take them to heart. Just because America fought against Japan in the second World War doesn't mean that all Japanese share the same beliefs and opinions. Consider, for instance, Americans of Middle-Eastern descent in this time of war between the United States and Iraq. Some Middle-Eastern people support Bush and his campaign; even Iraqis living amongst the terror of war at the front approbate his actions. Skin color and genes mean absolutely nothing as far as principles go.
This piece of history, despite the fact that it transpired more than sixty years ago, is valuable, devastating, and rather embarrassing for the government. It reminds us once again of some harsh truths of life. For one, no matter how technologically advanced or economically stable a country may be, the government can never be perfect in everyone's eyes.
However, unfair judgment and outrageous decisions can still be avoided, no matter what authority may believe in. Also, racially-based motives can never be rational excuses. Something as trivial as the way someone is born cannot alone be rendered substantial for convicting a person of any crime, or even accusing a person. No one should fear being indicted because they are of a certain race, gender, or religion. Finally, the most treacherous, irrational, flawed threat to humankind is humankind. We alone can prevent, promote, demote, check, and execute our own behavior.
There is definitely evidence of a step taken forward after the government's realizing its transgressions and making a public statement of it. Americans can now breathe a little easier with the knowledge that the government will probably never pull a stunt such as the concentration camps again. Nearly everyone has discovered the decadence of them; if not the government, then the people can speak out against it. Although the government's admitting its erroneous exploit may seem better late than never to some people, the fact still stands that such a violation of rights should never have happened, and therefore should never happen again.
- Exploring Japanese American Internment
Explore the World War II Internment of Japanese Americans through online video clips, text and photos.
- Japanese Internment
American citizens of Japanese descent living on the West Coast were forcibly removed from their homes and interned in camps during World War II..
- Children of the Camps | INTERNMENT HISTORY
- Japanese American internment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
More by this Author
There are more differences between the United States and Japan than conflicting values during World War II. Cultural and societal differences between the two nations and its peoples shaped beliefs and perceptions and...
France was ruled by absolute monarchy for much of its history. The Enlightenment of the late 1600's and 1700's, however, impacted many Europeans, and therefore led them to discover that they themselves were much more...
Christmas holds different meanings for many people. For me, it has always meant family, memories, togetherness, and much more.