San Francisco, Calif., Mar. 1942.
A large sign reading “I am an American” placed in the window of a store, at 13th and Franklin streets, on December 8, the day after Pearl Harbor. The store was closed following orders to persons of Japanese descent to evacuate from certain West Coast areas. The owner, a University of California graduate, will be housed with hundreds of evacuees in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration of the war. Photo by Dorothea Lange.
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 relocating 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast into internment camps for the duration of the war. The personal rights, liberties, and freedoms of Japanese Americans were taken away from them by their own country. Since World War II, a Japanese American struggle continues to obtain reparation from the U.S. Government.
August 10, 1988 H.R. 442 is signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. It provides for individual payments of $20,000 to each surviving internee and a $1.25 billion education fund among other provisions.
October 9, 1990 The first nine redress payments are made at a Washington D.C. One hundred seven year-old Rev. Mamoru Eto of Los Angeles is the first to receive his check.
The Civil Liberties Act was an official apology made to Japanese Americans in 1988 by Congress.
I’ve never been one to make much of a case for reparations for African American slavery, but I can’t help feeling like if “they” got it “we” should too. It seems to me that this is further evidence of the dehumanization of black people. Black people don’t deserve reparations? They should be grateful to find themselves in America today instead of in the jungle? They were created to work and don’t need much in return? That’s what the implications of reparations for some, but not for those treated the worst while doing the most to make this country what it is- what it should be, but isn’t right now- today. It’s kind of like the one-drop rule in a way. Only applies to black people. Asians, Hispanics, Indians can mix with whites for a couple of generations and their legacy is then white. There is no one-drop to follow them around and accuse them of denying something or being ashamed or self-hating. Their blood is not tainted. Of course neither is mine, yet these implications remain.