For centuries, the USA has been regarded as a cosmopolitan country, which unites the representatives of various races, beliefs, and gender identities. Historians claim that this state was predetermined to become a nation synonymous with equality (Takaki). However, it is hard to imagine that it has not always been a worldwide center of diversity. The US has come a long way to overcome social stigma towards minorities. Japanese Americans’ path to acceptance is one of the most vivid examples of human struggle in order to win respect. While nowadays, people who come from Asian countries are treated with respect in American society, their ancestors suffered a lot to assimilate to an entirely different culture gaining the same rights as native citizens.
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Since the beginning of the era of mass manufacturing, the USA became the embodiment of progress and innovation. People from all over the world were coming there to seek the fulfillment of their potential. The residents of Asian countries immigrated to the United States because they needed workplaces and believed that they would finally achieve a sense of freedom in the center of democracy.
However, all their illusions dissipated over the horizon once they realized that Asian immigrants would never be equaled to the native country residents. The working conditions, along with the employers’ treatment and salaries, were horrendous. According to Takaki, Japanese Americans were not even allowed to bring their families while moving to the USA. After World War II, the situation changed drastically simply because American governmental bodies had to show a tolerant attitude towards all nations and minorities in the context of the Nazi’s policy.
However, the events that took place during the war had a disastrous effect on Japanese Americans and their attitude towards the minorities in the state in general. In 1942, the US government issued an executive order due to which the representatives of various diaspora, including Japanese Americans, were to be incarcerated in the concentration camps (Something Strong Within). These actions took place because the ruling branch of the country believed Japanese immigrants to be potentially dangerous for its safety.
The previous events were not spoken of for almost half a century. It was only in 2001, when various terrorist attacks took away thousands of lives when the truth came out on the surface. Feeling extremely vulnerable, country leaders started a policy of mass deportation of Muslim and Arabic cultures’ representatives. Such a racist decision appeared to have a striking similarity with the events connected with Japanese Americans’ treatment in the mid-1940s. Hence, it provoked the latter to finally speak their truth to the world community and open the eyes of American governors. Japanese Americans were the ones who told the US government that in a desperate effort to protect their country and citizens, it did not notice that the real issue was happening within the country. The problems did not arise only because of some outside threats.
To sum everything up, the US has come a long way to discover its tolerance and acceptance as we see it today. Even though the progress of this policy development is relatively rapid, people should never forget the cruel things towards other nations as an example that once we already reached the point of no return. That is why, when various minorities, such as Japanese Americans, want to speak out their truth, the government and the citizens have no moral choice but to listen to them.
Something Wrong Within. Directed by Robert A. Nakamura, performances by Robert A. Nakamura, and Karen L. Ishizuka, Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center, 2004.
Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. Little, Brown and Company, 1998.