In light of the recent outrage over the ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy and the separation of families at the southern border, some people have made a comparison to the Japanese internment camps during World War II. Richard Cahan, photo historian, former Chicago Sun-Times editor, and author of Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II, discusses the history of these camps and what we should learn from them.
Cahan’s book is a photo history of the Japanese internment camps, showing the conditions of life as a prisoner of the camps and what came before and after. The internment of Japanese Americans is often brushed over in education and history, but the pictures and stories of this shameful event are both impossible to ignore and essential to our collective healing. Cahan emphasizes that this act was completely un-American, going against what America stands for. In this time, when it appears many Americans have a similar mindset to the Americans during the early days of World War II, Cahan says we should be especially vigilant not to repeat our past mistakes.
During World War II, 110,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes and settled in small, barrack-like dwellings with very basic facilities and no privacy. Eleven weeks after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the army to decide what to do with Japanese Americans. Because the army’s first concern is security and not civil liberties, the camps were a direct result of this decision. Right before the Supreme Court ruled that the camps were illegal, FDR opened them, and the Japanese Americans had to start over and resettle.
Seeing the reality of what happened in these internment camps should strike a warning bell in people’s minds, Cahan says. He encourages us to take a good look at our past history and learn from it.
To learn more about Japanese internment camps or to purchase a copy of Cahan’s book, visit the links below.
Richard Cahan, photo historian, former Chicago Sun-Times editor, and author of Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II
Many dream of traveling the world, but what do you do when you actually get there?Andrew Solomon, journalist and author of Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years, shares his thoughts, as an experienced world traveler, on the mindset we should bring with us to a foreign country.
Solomon emphasizes traveling with an open mind. While you should learn as much as possible about a culture before you visit, you should also be prepared to have your assumptions challenged when you see what it’s actually like. He also encourages travelers to make connections and build relationships with the people they visit, to keep from becoming a tourist watching a show. The only way to travel, he says, is to think about reciprocity, giving something back whether in the form of a relationship, information, participation, or generosity.
By becoming involved in cultural events, the traveler can create bonds of friendship and learn to understand a new culture. Solomon says that the people you are visiting are just as anxious to learn about you as you are about them. Not learning about a foreign culture can also have serious consequences, as Solomon demonstrates with a story of the Vietnam War. He also challenges the assumption many Americans have that all liberated people want democracy by default. By getting outside of the familiar, people can learn about who they are and what it’s like to live in a different country. These two things, Solomon says, could likely help resolve a lot of the diplomatic problems we face today.
To purchase a copy of Solomon’s book, visit the links below.
Andrew Solomon, journalist and author of Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years
Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.
But those apps present a problem for musicians and their labels. New music is no longer competing with other new music for our attention: it’s battling with every other song ever made. People just aren’t paying attention to upcoming and new releases like they used to. And why would they when the catalog is seemingly infinite? This phenomenon is probably what’s behind the era of surprise releasing albums. Beyonce shocked the world in December 2013 when she simultaneously announced and released her self-titled album. Since then, there have been many imitators: Drake, Frank Ocean, even David Bowie subsequently put the practice into action. Last month, Beyonce herself released another surprise album, a collaborative collection with Jay-Z.
Instead of relying on our steady interest, musicians now seek to gain our attention for one moment and shock us into hitting play. It certainly works as a promotional tool, but what happens after those first few days?
For many of us, we favorite the songs we like and forget about those we don’t. In a music app, anything that doesn’t immediately grab us gets washed away by whatever new music is released the following Friday. Such is life in the digital music world.