When my Japanese-American family was treated as less than human

Mike Honda writes: In the aftermath of the Paris and San Bernardino, California, terrorist attacks, the dangerous and destructive discourse about Muslims and Muslim Americans has reached a tipping point. Some Republican presidential candidates are calling for a ban of Muslims entering the country, and a Democratic mayor in Virginia is demanding the internment of Syrian refugees.

I can’t help but fear that history could be on the verge of repeating itself.

I am a third-generation American of Japanese ancestry, born in Walnut Grove, California. Yet my family and I were classified as enemy aliens simply because we looked like the enemy. In the days before we were taken from our communities, the life we knew was ripped from us.

In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941, the United States blamed us for the Japanese attack. Because of what the 1988 Civil Liberties Act labeled “war hysteria, racism and a failure of political leadership,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which confined the Japanese-American community in internment camps — and forever changing our lives and our community. [Continue reading…]

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