In the midst of my journey through the “They Called Us Enemy” graphic novel, I came across a great revelation; many issues today would cease to exist if conflicting groups were able to put themselves into each other’s “shoes” and see the ongoing predicament from the opposition’s point of view. There are always two sides to each story, two motivations towards each conflict, two opposing ideas and viewpoints to each side. Better understanding of the opposers can lead to a mutual understanding and common ground.
This crossed my mind during the novel as I put myself into the Japanese’s shoes. Many of them were Americans who were losing their lives because of a country they had never stepped foot on. At first I was extremely upset by the fact that the government and (predominantly white) population couldn’t see this.
However as I gave the issue some more thought, I realized that the government and population called the Japanese the “Enemy” because from their point of view the Japanese Americans WERE the enemy. They looked similar to the “Enemy” who had just bombed and killed 2,403 US citizens and soldiers. Many of them spoke the same language as the “Enemy” who had just sided with the Nazi Regime and declared war on their country. In no way am I justifying that what was done was right, but putting myself into the shoes of the other side gave me the ability to look past the disgust and anger that sat within my stomach. Although the solution to their fear and paranoia was inconceivably wrong, this point of view gave me further understanding of their rash and hysterical decision making.
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for”
– John Lubbock
I challenged myself to begin to view things from multiple points of view to comprehend the actions or words of another person before blindlessly judging. My provocation led to the beginning of a conversation with a peer who’s openly stated they don’t support the BLM organization. I never understood the reasoning behind this and always branded this classmate as a racist within my mind. While speaking with this person I kept an open mind, but was surprised when he linked to me a personal paper he had written on the issue. My first thought was that my classmate was a pretty passionate racist. He linked me to multiple short videos defending his stance which intrigued me further, leading me to delve into his writing.
After I read his writing I could admit that my point of view of him and the situation was naive and wrong. Before talking to him I had marked him as a racist and a bad person. His words and writing showed me that although he didn’t support the Black Lives Matter organization he still stood with it’s momento and was against racism as a whole. This led to a newfound respect and discernment for my classmate.
“They Called Us Enemy” invoked a thought within my mind that challenged me to have a more mature viewpoint on the world by questioning the motives of other people and seeing things from their perspective. This empowers me to delve deeper into issues and grasp conflicts as a whole rather than blindly siding with and supporting one viewpoint.