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Doesn't fly

Reader comment on item: Why the Japanese Internment Still Matters

Submitted by Bonnie Borucki (United States), Jan 7, 2005 at 04:38

... I have recently been interviewing seniors who were young adults during WWII and have no doubts that "wartime hysteria" and "racial prejudice" played a significant role in the Japanese internment.

As Mr. Fujinaka eluded to in an earlier comment, prejudice was already in existence, as Japanese born citizens in California could not purchase property. In fact, Americans of Japanese descent (Nisei) could only purchase property in certain restricted areas. This is in contrast to my German born relatives and neighbors who, as long as they had money, could purchase property anywhere they wished, and were not remotely suspected of being unpatriotic.

The internment is a subject most wish to avoid who had been through it. Thousands of Japanese-American families were relocated at a moments notice leaving their possessions and homes and bussed to temporary "housing" at racetracks where they cleaned horse stables so they would have a place to sleep while the desert camps were set-up. The fact that 200 "voluntarily" chose to go to the "camps", may have been for protection against the anti-Japanese hysteria at that time in the USA.

Other accounts of WWII in California mention German prisoners of war who served their sentences by working in civil jobs as sorting mail for the US Postal service. There were no caucasian prisoners pictured in the dozens of internment camp photos I have viewed. Though it is possible they were there, I have seen no evidence.

I encourage Americans to read historical accounts and talk to people who have lived through internment. Likewise, I do not believe we can be informed of the teachings of Islam by watching TV or reading only current literature.
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