Saturday, October 24, 2015

Another one of FDR's frequently overlooked, serious missteps, according to Iowa Politics Today

Perhaps most troubling was Roosevelt's decision to forcefully relocate thousands of Japanese-Americans to isolated internment camps

Frequently overlooked?   Here's a much more complete list.

Here's one of the pitfalls of recalibrating our judgments of historical figures from a present-day perch, which I'm going to approach from the advice provided by one of my college professors in January 1970.

If you want to fully understand and appreciate the world of Chaucer and his pilgrims, you need somehow to put aside your 20th century mindsets.  What you need to do is get inside the heads of Chaucer and his pilgrims so that you can see their world as they saw it.  [Emphasis added.]

In other words, we need to keep in mind the values, beliefs, and attitudes that people held at a particular point in time, no matter how abhorrent, disagreeable, or dislikable we find them today.  In the early months of the U.S. involvement in World War II, for example, the "Yellow Peril" was a well-known derogatory phrase familiar to and still used by many Americans.

As PBS notes in its The War documentary series,
Almost no one protested the government’s decision, and most non-Japanese took the evacuations in stride. 
At the time, about 110,000 Japanese-Americans lived on the West Coast, a little more than 1% of the total California/Oregon/Washington population of just under 10,000,000.   Those Americans who had a personal relationship with Japanese-Americans were much more likely to be disturbed by the government's internment policy.
But some were troubled by the removal of their friends and neighbors. “These students that we were going to school with, they were like our family,” said Dolores Silva of Sacramento. “And all of a sudden they said you have to leave within three days. And it was a terrible shock to us. And they were, like taking away my brothers and sisters. And I just felt so bad and we were just, we had our arms around each other that last day of school and we were all crying. Because we didn’t want them to go. It was not fair.”

Related post:
Here's a 'most underrated and overrated Presidents' list that you can safely ignore.  (10/24/2015)

No comments: