The Little Things Add Up to the Greatest Things

As I read They Called Us Enemy, I often thought about how the Japanese Americans in these internment camps represented bravery. These people faced racial prejudice, their homes and jobs were taken away from them, and their whole life was rooted up. However, when most people would have given up and surrendered defeat, these people were courageous and stood up for what they believed. I think we can learn so much from their experiences. 

First of all, when the Japanese Americans were given a questionnaire which determined if they were loyal to the United States, many of them stood up for what they believed and answered no, no. In the panel above, it shows how some men replied no because they wanted to be able to sign up for the military in their hometown, just like any other American. Because of this, they were sent to federal prison. Even though they weren’t successful, they are empowering and exemplify courage, persistence, and determination because they did not conform to the ideas that were being pushed on them. Another example is when George Takei’s mother snuck her sewing machine into the camp because she wanted to be able to make nice clothes for her family. The small act of defiance really shows her bravery and is admirable.

Also, many of the Japanese Americans who were in the internment camps now educate people about this time in history. The best way to truly learn about history is by learning it from a survivor. One survivor, Mike Honda said, “My own family and thousands of other Japanese Americans were interned during World War II. It took our nation over 40 years to apologize.” This is so impactful because it shows how, for a long time, the United States did not talk about what they did to the Japanese Americans at the time. I think it also takes great courage to say something like this because it is impossible to know what the response to something like this could be. It is so important to teach people not only the good parts of history, but also the bad parts, so we can learn.

Below are interviews with survivors of the internment camps.

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