Fred Korematsu, Scott Fujita, Thinking Out Loud, And This Story On "Japs Surrender"

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this post - so feel free to skip over it - because I plan on being really random and probably not saying much of anything (but that's really nothing new and you should have already grown used to it by now).

Was There Any Media Coverage?

Was it me or did I just not hear a peep from mainstream media about Executive Order 9066 yesterday? Did I miss it all or do we really just not matter? That being said - I do miss morning shows, mid morning shows, and afternoon shows so I can't really tell you for sure (and feel free to say "Dude.."), but at least to me - it didn't feel like it got any mainstream coverage and I'm just wondering to myself right now how many people actually know the name Fred Korematsu - everybody knows Pearl Harbor, but how many people know the story of Fred Korematsu?

And I know - mainstream media was caught up in the NY Post Obama cartoon and we're now living in a "post racial" society where maybe it's really of no use to look back on the past - especially when it concerns Asian Americans (and it's such a downer anyway right?) - but I just can't help thinking to myself how I'd kind of like to see a picture of Korematsu flashed up on the screen every hour on the hour on every single channel for that day.

Who Is Japanese?

There's this article I was reading on ESPN about Scott Fujita, and what I found interesting about it was just that it magnified how different race, ethnicity, and color can be, but at the same time, how much they collide with each other - and if that sounds like a sugary baked good topped with a side of green beans when all you really want is a biscuit - that's all I have for you on this one (and you probably shouldn't be trying to follow my train of thought right now anyway).

What Was I Thinking Out Loud About?

Between that last part and some noodles I'm munching on right now I kind of forgot what I was going to be thinking out loud about.


This One's Difficult

I got sent an article (thanks Koji) which you can read here - and I have to be honest - this one's a little tough for me and in a way I'm thinking through my thoughts here as I type, versus having it figured out and then posting up on it (so maybe this is actually what I was going to be thinking out loud about - but then that would make the title of this post redundant) so...

What makes a situation like this difficult is the racial history of the U.S. If a newspaper headline reads "Nazis Surrender!" - while you can take into consideration that both Americans of German and Italian descent were also under scrutiny during WWII, it wasn't the same as Japanese internment. The level of xenophobia wasn't, and never has been, the same when you compare people of color, to people who aren't of color. Between then and now, while things have definitely gotten better, there's still racism against Asian Americans - in some areas we're still looked at as the foreigners who aren't really American even though by every standard we are and have been for quite some time. The term "JAP" wasn't just used as a term to refer to a foreign enemy of the United States, but also towards citizens of its own country and as much as we might want to try and separate the contexts that they were used in - I don't think we really can.

Do I think taking it down is a snub towards the veterans though?

Honestly I don't know. I didn't serve in WWII. I've never fought in a war. I can't tell you what it would mean to me if I was on the other side and someone took it down. I don't think taking it down is akin to offering an apology, and I don't think replacing it with a headline that reads "Japan Surrenders" diminishes anything that those who fought in that war did. But I'm not them. I can't fully stand in their shoes and feel what they might be feeling when they think about the lives that they saw being lost from their side.

When it comes down to it though, I think this probably could have been handled in a better way.

Either they could have just swapped it out without saying anything with a good line like "I found this one and it's better because it talks more about..." - putting a little PR shine into it - or - and I think this might a better idea - keep the same headline up, but, make sure to put up information about the Japanese Internment Camps across from it (or next to it) along with information on the reparations awarded to Japanese Americans.

If the feeling is that by taking it down it's whitewashing history - that being the veteran's history - it also ensures that it shows all of history, side by side, and the complexity of the time.

Other random thought on this is just because it is a headline doesn't necessarily make it right.

Maybe some more thoughts on this later.