2010年12月11日

論文:4.差別

4. Discrimination
 
The first contention is about race (or ethnicity). Racial prejudice against people of color was widespread in early 20th century in the United States. Racial segregation in public facilities (school, bathroom and water fountain etc), or ‘separate but equal’ doctrine, was legal till 1954 (“Densho, the Japanese American Legacy Project”). Marriage between white and non-white persons had been prohibited by law in some states till 1963 (“Racial segregation in the United States”). Counter to the justification of the internment as a necessary evil, one could cite the fact that the U.S. was also at war with Germany and Italy, but the mass exclusion from the designated area was done for only Japanese Americans. For national security, it must have been enough to imprison only supporters and spies of Japan, as was so for Germans and Italians. It appears that the U.S. government thought that Japanese Americans were disloyal to the nation because of the race, on the basis of unexamined assumption (Robinson 7-58). Some white Americans seemed to think that rapid development of Japan reflected the ability of Japanese to superficially imitate the western civilization while keeping their own culture (Roxworthy 19-56). Americans of Japanese ancestry were not thought to be fully American, but thought to be still Japanese, or foreign, at heart.
The second contention is about class. Isseis were in the lowest class because they could not speak English fluently. Even for Niseis who were American citizens and fluent in English it was difficult to find jobs because of racial prejudice (Gruenewald 13). Most Japanese Americans were engaged in agriculture in the West Coast. Their success threatened the white competitors, which might have become the social background of the racial prejudice (“Densho, the Japanese American Legacy Project”). Although some Japanese Americans succeeded in their business, they were still in the lowest class of the society because they did not have political power. There was no influential politician among Japanese Americans at that time. According to “Japanese American” in Wikipedia, the first member of the Congress among Japanese Americans was Daniel Inouye in Hawaii (in the House of Representatives from 1959 to 1963 and in the Senate thereafter). The first member of the Congress from mainland U.S. was Norman Mineta from California (in the House of Representatives from 1975 to 1995), who sponsored the pass of the redress act in 1988.
Japanese Americans did not fight against the decision of the U.S. government. Some Sanseis, the third generation of Japanese Americans who were born after World War II, asked Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, “Why did you go like sheep to be slaughtered without any resistance?” (220-221). It was just not possible. It was far from the reality of race and class of Japanese Americans at that time. The white neighbors of the Matsuda family and a white teacher of Mary were all good people. They did not discriminate the family, but they did not protest the government either. It appears that the internment of Japanese Americans was a ‘spectacle’ for the ordinary ‘good’ white Americans as a passive spectator (Roxworthy 57-99). Contrary to kindness shown by their neighbors, the family saw the caricatures of Japanese soldiers looking like crazed monkeys on covers, and the word ‘Japs’ in articles, of such widely circulated magazines as Time (Gruenewald 10). The family was at the bottom of the society, almost overwhelmed by the hostility shown by the government and the U.S. society in general.
Intersectionality between race and class has been obvious in the U.S. society; race and class have been traditionally and deeply interrelated. White Protestants of Anglo-Saxon ancestry (‘WASP’) are in the highest class and people of color are in the lowest class. It has been so from the time of Declaration of Independence in 1848, which mentioned ‘the merciless Indian Savages’, through Emancipation Proclamation for the freedom of slaves in 1862, to nowadays. Racial prejudice drove U.S. government to decide the internment of Japanese Americans. The low class status of Japanese Americans at the bottom of society and without political power, could not allow them to resist the government. So, race and class interacted to cause the serious violation of the basic human right. In conclusion, internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was wrong because it was rooted in racial prejudice and exploited low class status of the minority.
ラベル:北アメリカ
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