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Discrimination Against Japanese Americans Essay

2277 words - 10 pages

With the recent attacks on the United States by terrorists, many Americans have been experiencing feelings of fear, sadness and tremendous anger. With Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban being held responsible, many of Middle-Eastern descent have been experiencing great prejudice and discrimination and are being stereotyped as terrorists. These types of feelings are very prevalent in American society today. Similarly, though not widely as discussed, Japanese-Americans have felt these feelings directed toward them for several generations. Going from the extreme of being herded to internment camps after the surprise attack of Pearl Harbor, to the more commonplace, being stereotyped in the ...view middle of the document...

Families were broken apart, liberties were lost and most lost all they owned (“Understanding Discrimination Against Asian-Americans”). This can be seen as an act of discrimination because rather than taking individuals and trying them on espionage, the American government convicted an entire race, without trial and with evidence to the contrary. The treatment of the Japanese Americans who were sent to the internment camps was solely based on race and not on an individual’s personal actions (“Japanese Internment”). The prejudice of the American government is also apparent. Over 120,000 people were sent to internment camps without evidence against them. The very definition of prejudice according to dictionary.com is “an adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts” (“Prejudice”). The information gathered that led up this action was ignored, and the American government simply formed the opinion that the Japanese Americans along the West Coast would revolt and that the safety of the natural born United States citizens was more important then the liberties and the lives of more than 120,000 “foreigners.” This act will forever be remembered as one of the most discriminatory and prejudicial acts in modern American history. A country founded on the principle that every man is created equal and that liberty is something that someone should die for, found itself contradicting its own teachings, and unable to control its own paranoia and feelings of mistrust.

War, fear and anger are not the only things that bring out the American society’s discriminatory, prejudicial, and stereotyping ways against Japanese-Americans. Though not widely as reported on or noticed, the entertainment industry often finds itself incurring these injustices. The entertainment industry has “little understanding of Asian people [and its] limited and unbalanced portrayals of Asians have traditionally been the norm” (“Asian Stereotypes”). The entertainment industry in their representations of the Japanese often stereotypes, creating an oversimplified image and conception of Japanese people (“Stereotypes”). Ultimately, a “portrayal can act as a stereotype even if its creator doesn’t intend it to” (“Asian Stereotypes”). The Japanese and Asian Americans as a whole are often portrayed as people who are unable to become normal functioning members of society. It is rare to find a movie with Japanese or Asian Americans in movies without an accent. These same characters are often portrayed as either comical or sinister. In many movies there are the Japanese criminal mastermind who the lead role must thwart (“Asian Stereotypes”).

In the movie, the “Art of War”, the main villains in the movie were Japanese businessman. And in many instances the only...

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