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Redress Rehearsal: African Americans and Japanese American Reparations

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Abstract:

One pioneering instance of reparations awarded for past violations of civil or human rights is the redress awarded to Japanese Americans who had been forcibly removed form the West Coast Under Executive Order 9066 and confined in government camps during World War II (an event frequently, if imprecisely, termed the Japanese American internment). As we commemorate seventy years since EO 9066, and thirty years since the appointment of the US Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, the historical commission whose report served as the basis for the granting of redress, it is worth exploring the meaning of the redress process as part of an ongoing national conversation about racism. Paradoxically, while the cause of redress benefited from the Black Freedom movement, which reshaped national consciousness regarding the rights of minorities and the costs of assimilation, it did not represent a true multiracial movement. Rather, in sharp contrast to the World War II era, when African Americans had been disproportionately visible as critics of the government removal policy, Black support for Japanese American redress, especially outside the West Coast, was generally lukewarm. The reaction of African Americans, positive or negative, was based less on the question of whether Japanese Americans had suffered than on the principle of reparations. Some African Americans, notably future Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, argued that since African Americans had not received reparations for slavery, Japanese Americans did not deserve redress. Others, such as Randall Robinson of TrasnsAfrica, countered precisely that Blacks SHOULD support Japanese American redress as a precedent for the eventual granting of such reparations. This debate effectively paralyzed Black communities, and prevented the discussion of the meaning of the wartime events and their legacy for American society as a whole.
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Name: American Studies Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.theasa.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p508568_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Robinson, Greg. "Redress Rehearsal: African Americans and Japanese American Reparations" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p508568_index.html>

APA Citation:

Robinson, G. "Redress Rehearsal: African Americans and Japanese American Reparations" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Baltimore, Baltimore, MD <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p508568_index.html

Publication Type: Internal Paper
Abstract: One pioneering instance of reparations awarded for past violations of civil or human rights is the redress awarded to Japanese Americans who had been forcibly removed form the West Coast Under Executive Order 9066 and confined in government camps during World War II (an event frequently, if imprecisely, termed the Japanese American internment). As we commemorate seventy years since EO 9066, and thirty years since the appointment of the US Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, the historical commission whose report served as the basis for the granting of redress, it is worth exploring the meaning of the redress process as part of an ongoing national conversation about racism. Paradoxically, while the cause of redress benefited from the Black Freedom movement, which reshaped national consciousness regarding the rights of minorities and the costs of assimilation, it did not represent a true multiracial movement. Rather, in sharp contrast to the World War II era, when African Americans had been disproportionately visible as critics of the government removal policy, Black support for Japanese American redress, especially outside the West Coast, was generally lukewarm. The reaction of African Americans, positive or negative, was based less on the question of whether Japanese Americans had suffered than on the principle of reparations. Some African Americans, notably future Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, argued that since African Americans had not received reparations for slavery, Japanese Americans did not deserve redress. Others, such as Randall Robinson of TrasnsAfrica, countered precisely that Blacks SHOULD support Japanese American redress as a precedent for the eventual granting of such reparations. This debate effectively paralyzed Black communities, and prevented the discussion of the meaning of the wartime events and their legacy for American society as a whole.


Similar Titles:
The Academic Epistemic Communities and the Reparation Debate: African-American and Africa's Quest for Reparations

Implicit Closeness towards African Americans and Support for Slavery Reparations


 
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