domenica 4 novembre 2012

Stereotypes and wars

In every war the Government utilized stereotypes for create the consent of public opinion. During the colonial experience the Africans are seen like wild and uncivilized, a barbaric race and the European like civilized person. In Italy, during the campaign in Libya and Ethiopia, an expansionist policy was justified by using stereotypes and by arguing that Italians are different from other colonizer. The Italians was shown by propaganda, like more generous, more human, more broadminded and more open-minded than other European. Genuinely the Italian colonialism, both liberal and fascist, utilized repressive measures, create one of the most cruel prisons, exploit and tolerate slavery, bomb and burn villages, effectuate mass deportation.
 During the First World War in France and in other European countries the German soldiers are seen like evil and this belief have been supported by manifests that show the barbarities of their acts. These manifests create a large consensus and help to create in public opinion a distorted image of German soldiers.
During the Second World War, On December 7th 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. US citizens feared another attack and war hysteria seized the country.
State representatives put pressure on President Roosevelt to take action against those of Japanese descent living in the US.
On February 19th 1942 Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Under the terms of the Order, some 120,000 people of Japanese descent living in the US were removed from their homes and placed in internment camps. The US justified their action by claiming that there was a danger of those of Japanese descent spying for the Japanese. However more than two thirds of those interned were American citizens and half of them were children. None had ever shown disloyalty to the nation. In some cases family members were separated and put in different camps. During the entire war only ten people were convicted of spying for Japan and these were all Caucasian.
Life in the camps was hard. Internees had only been allowed to bring with then a few possessions. In many cases they had been given just 48 hours to evacuate their homes. Consequently they were easy prey for fortune hunters who offered them far less than the market prices for the goods they could not take with them.
"It was really cruel and harsh. To pack and evacuate in forty-eight hours was an impossibility. Seeing mothers completely bewildered with children crying from want and peddlers taking advantage and offering prices next to robbery made me feel like murdering those responsible without the slightest compunction in my heart." Joseph Yoshisuke Kurihara speaking of the Terminal Island evacuation
They were housed in barracks and had to use communal areas for washing, laundry and eating. It was an emotional time for all. "I remember the soldiers marching us to the Army tank and I looked at their rifles and I was just terrified because I could see this long knife at the end . . . I thought I was imagining it as an adult much later . . . I thought it couldn't have been bayonets because we were just little kids."  from "Children of the Camps"
Following WWII it was no easy task for Japanese American to find their spot back in society. Many Americans still harbored inner sentiment of the Japanese remembering Pearl Harbor and the fear of Japanese spies. Despite this, by the 1960’s Japanese Americans had gained many Americans respect with their economic prosperity. This is when the common stereotype of the Japanese businessman began to take hold. Japanese Americans were seen as, "successful citizens" and good assimilators into white American society. But as time transpired the stereotype took the form of the quiet, efficient, high-powered Japanese corporate business worker. However, as recently as 1994 a San Francisco radio station had to fire a local DJ for racist anti-Asian American remarks. Such actions in areas highly populated by Asian Americans shows that there is still ground to be gained.

Valeria Aleksenko

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