Since I am currently attending Auburn University in Alabama and do not have access to a vehicle, I ‘visited’ the Smithsonian National Museum of American History online. I personally really enjoy history- I am the person who can spend hours in a historical museum reading every little detail. I chose to focus on the exhibition called “Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II.” This caught my interest because I enjoy learning about WWII and I am currently learning about it in my World History class.
The fate of Japanese Americans during and after the WWII period is not usually a focal point of history classes at any level of education. One thing that the majority of Americans do know however, is that the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was what caused the United States to officially enter the war the following day. According to the exhibit, “ten weeks later President Franklin Roosevelt signed executive order 9066, under which nearly 75,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry were taken into custody.” Even the President of the US, the leader of our country, turned against the Japanese during this time of chaos and confusion. Partly following the leadership of the President, American citizens became hardened toward the Japanese, even if they had been born in America. The picture that stood out to me the most was one in which a white woman is pointing to a sign that says “JAPS KEEP MOVING- This is a White Man’s Neighborhood.”
“A resident of Hollywood, California, makes clear her sentiments to any Japanese looking for housing in her neighborhood, around 1923
Courtesy of National Japanese American Historical Society”
This is somewhat ironic in a sense because of the fact that it is a woman pointing to the sign. We have seen in numerous readings how women have been oppressed because of their sex in the past. Now, it seems as if some of the women forgot how they were treated unfairly and turned right around and did the same to others. Acts were also passed around the first half of the 20th century that made Asians ineligible for citizenship and barred additional immigration. By declaring people ineligible for immigration just because of their race, the ideals of the American Dream are tarnished. The land of freedom and opportunity for the oppressed cannot be that way when the doors are closed. Many years later, the Japanese demanded payment for the way they were treated. While Japanese Americans are treated much better today, there is still some racism used against them.
“Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II.” National Museum of American History. N.p., 01 Mar. 2017. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.