Look at Both Sides, Not One

As I read the graphic novel, They Called Us Enemy, an important question crossed my mind, why do people treat others poorly without looking through their eyes? For several generations in history, people have been mistreated due to their race or even for things that they didn’t do, but rather what their “own kind” did. The story They Called Us Enemy talks about the struggles that Japanese-Americans had to face during the time of the Pearl Harbor bombing. Japanese-American lives abruptly went downhill for something they didn’t participate in, life become brutally unfair for absolutely no reason.

The main point here is that people shouldn’t be judged or hated for no reason, there are always two sides to a story. Over the past few generations, bold assumptions of racism have occurred, people see one person in a community could be bad and assume that the rest of that community would be bad. This is exactly what happened to the Japanese-American during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Captain Minoru Genda planned an attack on the Pearl Harbor of Hawaii, news spread quickly and America erupted with anger, the Japanese were to blame. The mistreatment occurred as a result, and the Japanese-Americans that had originally lived in the United States were also blamed, yet no one cared to look at both sides. The picture below is a prime example of this, even upper-class people like the mayor of Los Angeles state that Japanese-American people couldn’t be trusted, regardless of how long they were in America. He isn’t looking from both perspectives and is rather taking one side.

Picture from graphic novel They Called Us Enemy page 21.

So what does looking at a story from both sides and not just one mean?

Looking at a story from both sides means that you take into account the other side’s perspective. In They Called Us Enemy, the United States Government doesn’t care to look from the Japanese-American eyes, they are only concerned about the conflicts they have to deal with. Determining the other perspective and understanding what it’s like is a way to end things like racism. People don’t look and realize what it would be like for them in the same situation. If they were treated the same, they definitely wouldn’t like it.

Not only is looking into different perspectives important, but also recognizing the patterns. Throughout history, the Japanese and other Asian races have faced several acts and hate of racism. The article The long history of racism against Asian Americans in the U.S. tells us how the long history between Asians and Americans may cause more racism to occur. Other sources containing topics such as stopping AAPI HATE show videos and proof of Asians standing up in their community to show how one-sided stories end up. Additionally, racism is still occurring in modern times. Recent global events like the COVID-19 pandemic show how racism is still happening. People called Asians things like “bat eaters” or “the virus”, although they have nothing to do with it.

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