Apples and People

It takes one bad apple to spoil the barrel. Is this true? Does one expired apple ruin the entire image of the barrel? 

This is true for food products that are at risk of being contaminated. This is true for products people consume in order to stay healthy. No one wants to take a bite into an apple and find a half eaten worm in the core. 

Though, there is an issue with this popular saying. The “one bad apple” metaphor is not talking about actual apples in a barrel, it is used to describe groups of people who have a bad representation  because of one person. 

Okay, so what? What do apples and people have in common anyways? The issue with this phrase is that a group of people is being wrongly represented. There is an assumption being made whenever this saying is being applied or used on people. The assumption is that even if one person out of a certain group of people does something bad or “rotten,” then it is safe to assume that all of those people belonging to that group are also “spoiled apples.” 

Some people may argue that this is not true and we cannot compare apples to people, but what happened in America after the bombing of Pearl Harbor? During World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt sent any American of Japanese descent to internment camps. No matter who you were or where you were born, if a person’s ethnicity was Japanese, then they would be sent to the camps. The lifestyle of a Japanese-American family during the war is greatly explained in the comic book, They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. 

In the case of the Japanese-Americans, they were unfairly treated because of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s decision. He was a Marshal Admiral for Japan’s Imperial Navy and conducted the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Due to his actions, the entire race of Japanese people was looked down on and people began to fear them. As a result, the internment camps were created because of the actions of one person. It takes one bad apple to spoil the barrel. 

In the article We Still Haven’t Learned From This by Cory Collins, it talks about how our younger generations can learn from the older generation’s mistakes. The article goes into lots of detail and depth about World War II. We Still Haven’t Learned From This also explains how teachers, schools, and elders can retell the tragic stories of the internment camps to the younger generations before history repeats itself. 

Adding on to the article, teaching younger generations the importance of separating the actions of one person to punishing an entire race because of one person. Japan dropping a bomb in Pearl Harbor has nothing to do with Japanese-Americans living normal lives. People should not be punished for another person’s actions; especially an entire ethnicity group. Teaching kids that judging and assuming someone is a bad person because of their race or ethnicity will help us tackle racism and help prevent history from repeating. 

One bad apple can spoil the barrel, but one bad person does not make everyone terrible people.

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