A Dark Period in American History: Japanese Internment Camps

How does the racism towards Japanese-Americans during WWII compare to the racism Arab-Americans are experiencing today?

Are there similarities between WWII Japanese internment camps and what is happening currently to Arab-Americans? Detroit Today host, Stephen Henderson talks with Professor of History at Wayne State University, Marc W. Kruman about the similarities, if any, between the two events.


Internment: According to Professor Kruman, the holding of Japanese-American citizens during WWII in internment camps, constitutes some of our worst moments as a democracy. “I think it’s important to recognize how un-democratic it was”, Kruman says.


Racism: Stephen says that Supreme Court Justice, Frank Murphy, from Michigan, dissented and did not vote towards interning Japanese-American citizens, on the basis of racism. “[His] dissent…is notable for its use of the word ‘racism’. He comes right out and says, ‘I’m dissenting from this legalization of racism,’” recalls Henderson.


Freedom: Kruman believes that if the United States were to implement the same treatment of Arab-Americans as they did towards Japanese-Americans during World War II, would be a horrible decision. “It seems to me inherently contradictory for us to claim we are defending freedom by obliterating freedom,” he says.


To hear more of their conversation, click the link above.