Focus on Friendship or Fights for Civil Rights? Teaching the Difficult History of Japanese American Incarceration through The Bracelet
Naseem Rodriguez, Noreen
In regard to the imprisonment of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, euphemisms abound. The most popular of these is the term “internment” in reference to the events initiated by the War Relocation Authority as a result of Executive Order 9066. However, as Daniels (2005) and other Asian Americanists have noted, internment is a legal process designed for prisoners of war and civilian enemy nationals. As two-thirds of those who were imprisoned as a result of EO 9066 were U.S. citizens, these individuals by definition do not fall under the legal designation of internment and their imprisonment without due process was a violation of their civil rights. Therefore I use incarceration, rather than internment, for its legal accuracy and apt description of what happened to Japanese and Japanese Americans on the West Coast during World War II. Similarly, I avoid euphemistic language, such as relocation and evacuation, which deliberately evades the trauma, hardship, and lack of due process faced by Japanese and Japanese Americans during this time period.