In 1942, the U.S. government moved more than 100,00 people of Japanese ancestry living on the mainland to camps across the country. These were called internment camps, and 62% of the internees were United States citizens.
They were forced to move from the West Coast (which had military bases and ports), to inland with the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The fear was they were spies for the Japanese military and passing on secrets about the U.S. military’s movements and plans.
Starting in 1867, the U.S. Congress passed a series of acts and amendments providing blacks with the right to vote and elect their own political leaders. They also passed an act in 1875 that forbade racial segregation in accommodations. However, once occupation troops left the South, there was nothing that could be done to fight what was a growing movement of “separate but equal.” Black kids were sent to separate schools. Blacks had to sit on the back of the bus. The had separate lunch counters, public restrooms, hospitals, and water fountains.
It wasn’t just in the South, although a majority of what history tells us is from the racism that to this day runs rampant in the South. Remember – history is written by the winners. Across the country to this day, blacks more often live in different neighborhoods than whites. They’re still less like to go on to college, although that’s changing more rapidly. Even when you look at professionals like doctors and lawyers, you’re more likely to see someone with light skin.
After many of the Founding Fathers moved from politics, retired and died, and as the country grew into its own, things started to change. In 1824, President James Monroe approved the first plans for Native American removal laid before him by Secretary of War John C. Calhoun. In January 1825, Monroe requested the creation of the Arkansas Territory and Indian Territory. Those tribes and nations east of the Mississippi were to voluntarily exchange their lands for lands west of the river.
The House of Representatives killed it. However, President John Quincy Adams resurrected the Calhoun-Monroe policy. But the delegation from Georgia refused to go along with the plan, forcing Adams to make a treaty with the state’s Creeks and Cherokees.
Andrew Jackson became president. Instead of treating each group as separate nations, he lumped them together. He doggedly pursued ways to force the people from the land. Those plans claimed constitutional sovereignty and independence from state laws. Native Americans were forced to exchange eastern for western… to areas where their laws could be sovereign without state interference.
Congress approved the Indian Removal Bill, and Jackson signed it into law 1830. But it was only authorizing the president to negotiate land exchange treaties. The Choctaw, Creek, and Chickasaw all eventually negotiated for lands in the west or money.
The Seminoles in Florida refused to leave their lands and fought as long as they could. Eventually they would call a truce. Some left for the west. Others moved deeper into the Everglades.
The Cherokee were forced out their lands due to abuse by government officials and some sneakiness. A small faction of Cherokee tribe members – but not the tribal leadership – signed the Treaty of New Echota for lands out west. It was after that the Cherokee were forced west and walked what’s now called the Trail of Tears.
Americans have had a long history of self entitlement and fear of the unknown. Look at what’s happening today with the fear and hatred shown toward the Syrian refugees. Governors from several states have come out – telling the federal government not to send refugees to their states.
In Indiana, two refugee families were diverted to Connecticut after it was discovered they were headed there. The state told two Christian charities, one being Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Indianapolis, to alert the refugee placement agencies they work with that they were NOT ALLOWED to accept any refugees.
In Tennessee, the state House GOP Caucus Leader said it’s time to send the National Guard to politely round up any Syrian refugees already in the state and take them to the nearest Immigration and Customs Enforcement Center and tell them that they’re their problem now, and they’re not allowed back in Tennessee.
In Roanoke, Virginia, the mayor said that any Syrian refugees were not welcome. In a letter he wrote “I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”
Dude, first of all, it’s ISIS, not Isis. Second of all – wut? Yes, he was saying we should send the refugees to internment camps.
Do you know what internment camps are just another name for? Concentration camps. Yes, I went there. We already have enough fear-mongering and people who refuse to educate themselves and understand.
Yes, we should be aware, alert, and worried about what happened in Paris. Yes, we should educated ourselves about what’s happening in the world.
But that doesn’t mean that a terrorist with a fake passport stating he’s from Syria means we should become racists that don’t help our neighbor.
Didn’t Jesus say we should love our neighbor as ourselves? And love thine enemy? And what about Christian Charity and Mark 25?
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (NIV Translation)
But even putting aside the Christian arguments, what happened to the United States? What happened to our pride in accepting people who want to pursue the American Dream? What happened to a country founded by immigrants? What happened to the melting pot?