Xenophobia and the Internment of Japanese-Americans
In a previous discussion on cultural sensitivity, and the protection of borders, I initiated a discussion on the dual role of our responsibility to the concerns of our citizens on the one hand, and an equal responsibility to the concerns of non-citizens on the other, which is only complicated by discussing illegal immigration.
I will have to admit that the analysis of illegal immigration is far more complicated and requires more detail than I can offer in my analysis of the globalization of Americana. It is important, however, that we — both those on the right and those on the left — learn not to speak past each other and truly hear the concerns of our fellow citizens.There is a very real danger in the illegal access of millions into the United States, both economically and physically. Similarly, there must be alternatives with which the United States government can restructure its trade agreements, specifically the North American Free Trade Agreement, for the betterment of the Mexican laborers and its government, which would likely lessen the desirability to flee Mexico for the United States.
It is important that we not forget the mistakes of our past in creating our future, for the problems rooted in xenophobia have spawned some of the darkest days in America’s recent history. Our problem with xenophobia is far deeper than our current dilemmas with illegal immigration and has led to some of the greatest abuses of political power in American history.
The internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II serves as the prima facie case of the dangers in assuming xenophobic ideals. It is a testament to the naysayer that our country has itself fallen victim to the powerful stigmatization with which American citizens were robbed of their rights.
The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Japanese allegiance with Nazi Germany during the Second World War has tarnished the history of both countries. But we, too, have tarnished our history, and not only in the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, which, according to some may be justifiable. In a sense of mass panic and fear, we allowed xenophobia to undermine the rights of American citizens and interned fellow Americans based on the fear that they may be Axis sympathizers.