Racial Discrimination Against Nonwhites During the time of War World II, many group of nonwhite race faced unfairness in the United States. Among all the minorities that were being discriminated against, the two most well known races were the African American and the Japanese American. They were treated unfairly due to their color and culture. Even though they are two totally distinct groups with different customs and backgrounds, they felt similar the way they were being treated. Both group were denied of their right as U.S. citizen. Despite the fact that many African Americans and Japanese Americans were born and raise in the United States, the U.S.
government questioned their loyalty due to their ancestry. As for Japanese American, the main reason they were being victimized was due to the hostility between Japan and United States. Like the novel No-No Boy, by John Okada, mentions, many Japanese were forced to choose between being an American or Japanese, but not both. However, it is a little different for the African Americans. African Americans, they were being looked at as a lower class citizen, originally brought over as slaves.
Even after the war, regardless of the fact that many of them are free citizens, they are still being kept from many of their rights. Even with the different causes, the African Americans and the Japanese American experience discrimination in a similar way. The war affected the Japanese Americans in many ways. Most Japanese came to United States for the dream of better earning, and one-day to return to Japan after becoming rich. However, this dream did not come true for most Japanese immigrants. Even though they did not achieve their goal, they continued to stay and form families in U.S.
Thus, many second and third generation Japanese were born and received education in U.S. Many of them know and love U.S. more than Japan, the country of their original ancestry. Some of them are so Americanize that they cannot even understand or speak Japanese. Nevertheless when the war broke out between Japan and U.S., they were asked to fill out a form from Selective Service to prove their loyalty.
Number 27 and 28 were two crucial questions, asking if they were willing to serve the army of U.S. in a combat duty and also if they were willing to swear alignment to U.S. government. The people that answered “no” to both questions were considered as no-no boys, and immediately put in jail. Many Nisei and Sansei’s were unhappy about these two questions, because the questions implied that they were at one time loyal to the emperor. As for the Issei’s, since they cannot become U.S.
citizens, if they swear alignment to U.S government that means they would become stateless people. Even though many Japanese did not pledge loyal to Japanese Emperor, they still answered “no” to both questions. For those who agreed to fight in combat for U.S., some were even send to Japan to fight against their own blood and kin. Among all the discriminatory actions taken against Japanese American one of the most severe one is the internment camp. There are several reasons that cause this incident.
One of the reasons being the successfulness of Japanese in the west coast in the agricultural field. The whites felt that they are being threatened. Thus, executive orders were made to evacuate Japanese from the west cost, conducted by General John D. Dewitt. Japanese were brought to assembly centers before they were distributed to different relocation centers. Japanese were only given one week of notice to gather their belongings and to sell their properties.
Japanese, regardless of their citizenship, were send to the internment camp. Unlike what the constitution states, people are innocent until proven guilty, Japanese were being looked upon as disloyal until proven otherwise. Many of the facility’s officials knew little about Japanese American, but automatically they transferred attitudes held about Negroes to the evacuees. The racism in U.S. created many pressure between the young Japanese Americans. Like mentions in the No-No Boy, “It was because he was Japanese and, at the same time, had to prove to the world that he was not Japanese that the turmoil was in his soul and urged him to enlist ..
he loved America and would fight and die for it because he did not wish to live anyplace else.” For many Japanese Americans, they were American at heart, but Japanese by blood. They were forced to prove to the world that they were loyal to the country. Many of them voluntarily enlisted to the army as soon as they turned legal age. However, by doing so they were disobeying their parent’s wish. Similar to Ichiro’s mom, many Japanese deeply believe that Japan did not loose, and they should stay loyal to the country of their ancestry. As unrealistic it may seem, many Japanese parents tried to plant the idea into the minds of their children.
This is where the young Japanese were being tear apart, both mentally and emotionally. There were also discriminations among the Japanese themselves. Basically Japanese were split into two groups, one being the ones loyal to U.S. government and the other loyal to Japanese emperor. No-no boys like Ichiro were being laugh at and teased by other Japanese Americans. Even though they might grew up together, but they did not want any connection with anyone that might make them seem disloyal to the U.S. Parallel to Japanese Americans, the war also affected the African American in various ways.
From the very beginning, African Americans were being looked at as subhuman. They were considered more of an object then living human beings. They were being segregated from the rest of the white communities. However, African Americans in the Hawaii and the Mainland U.S. had a totally different wartime experience. African Americans in Hawaii were treated much better then African Americans in the mainland U.S.
This was more racial and cultural diversity in Hawaii, therefore whites did not make up the majority of the population. Also, African Americans in Hawaii were also considered as Caucasian. The reason being, African origin was classified as Puerto Rican, and Puerto Ricans were considered as Caucasians. Native Hawaiians often displayed sympathy for Blacks in unexpected ways. Blacks found the island to have a more welcoming environment than the one they left behind, many still experienced the racial struggle. Part of the prejudice directed at Black soldiers originated from white servicemen who warned the women they met about the dangers of being molested and raped by Black men.
A Japanese American woman in Hawaii noticed how her views had been channeled in that direction, after a bus ride she wrote to her friend, “Gee, I was very frightened .. Funny isn’t it how I am about them. One would be that way after hearing lots of nasty things about them.”(Lipsitz 346) Majority of the Blacks might be well behaved, but any rumors can easily change people’s mind and start a stereotype. African Americans also faced discrimination in the military. Few Blacks were promoted as ranking officers.
Leading the charge against racism in Hawaii were the men of the 369th Coast Artillery Regiment- known as “The Harlem Hellfighers”. In Hawaii there were rumors from the southerners about how ignorant and dumb the Blacks were. Therefore, Blacks were often being called names while walking on the street. However, the 369th did not take the humiliation. “Once the ‘cracker’ made their first pitch, the 369th made their reply. A Black soldier would punch the speaker in the nose.”(Strangers in a Strange Land P.
153). A black man’s right to self0defense was formally endorsed by the standard of military justice. Blacks in Hawaii wanted the military to choose sides in their struggle for respect and justice. They believed in rank not race, regulation not custom, should govern how white and black service personnel treated one another. The U.S. nationalism of racism towards Japanese Americans and African Americans united both groups together with a common goal, to fight against the white supremacy and racial inequality. Members of racialized minority groups frequently found themselves compared to one another. Charles Jackson urged his fellow Blacks to “go to bat for a Japanese – American just as quickly as we would for another Negro.
These people are obviously being denied their full citizenship rights jus as we are. This vicious type of prejudice indoctrination is familiar to every Negro. U.S. nationalism in its white supremacy has been a major problem in preventing the unification of this country. Many nationalist of nonwhite race were being shut out because of their color. Franklin was first swept up in patriotic fervor after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He was frantic to join the U.S.
Navy but lacked one credential: color; they could not hire him because he was black. Equally qualified black men were often denied of positions that they were well eligible for. Similar incidence like this prevents American as a whole to unite together. Even till today, there are still much discrimination against certain race, culture, sex and religion. In order for U.S.
to unite as a whole, it is necessary for people to look beyond color and see everyone as simply “Americans”. History Essays.