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Prisoners Without Trials: Japanese Americans in World War II

In other words, the government which interned Japanese Americans during World War II is the same government which forty years later determined that the internment was unjustified and was instead an action based on racism and politics.

On one hand, the internment of a group of Americans solely on the basis of their nationality and appearance had never occurred before in the United States. One could make the argument that the internment of the Japanese Americans was not as evil and cruel and prolonged an injustice as those which were perpetrated against the African Americans or Native Americans. The question, however, is whether slavery and genocide are standards by which to assess the relative goodness or evil of the actions of the government of the United States. Clearly, it does not excuse or minimize what the United States did to the Japanese Americans to simply say that it was not as bad as slavery or genocide.

The question of whether the internment was a fluke is also easily answered by a study of the history of the United States and its government's habitual maltreatment of minorities, especially minorities whose appearance mark them as "different" from most Americans (i.e., white Americans). Daniels points out that Asians and Asian Americans had been the target of racism since the nineteenth century in the United States, beginning with the Chinese and


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