In 1944, toward the end of World War II, the U. S. Supreme Court, in Korematsu vs. United States, ruled that 110,000 Americans of Japanese Descent should be removed from their homes and confined to Internment Camps–under what may be described as less than humane conditions. Racism and wartime hysteria apparently led to the justification. Citizens of German or Italian descent were not, however, subjected to such cruel treatment and indignities.
Some years ago, the Government sought to make reparations; but, how can you repair broken hearts, console Parents who have “lost face” (under their tradition) and perhaps ruined Family bread-winners’ careers at their very height. Jobs lost, uninhabited homes vandalized and psyches obliterated?
In the past, our Government has paid some reparations and, to a certain extent, has apologized. But, why has that Supreme Court Ruling stood for 69 years, without any attempt to rescind it? On my Father’s side, I am of German descent; but, Germans and Italians, mostly living on the East Coast at that time, did not suffer such indignities. The linked article from the NY Times is as follows: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/28/us/time-for-supreme-court-to-overrule-korematsu-verdict.html?hp.
Justice Antonin Scalia has stated that Korematsu ranks with the Dread Scott Decision of 1857, which ruled that Blacks were property and not Citizens, as the Court’s most shameful blunders. And, Justice Stephen G. Breyer has written that the decision has been so thoroughly discredited that it is hard to conceive of any future Court even referring to or relying upon it. Why can’t the Government clean-up their mess–without trying to cover it up?
Many of the Men of Japanese descent served honorably in the U. S. Military, in both the European and Pacific Theaters–and some were even awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I can hardly imagine what it must have been like for Soldiers and Sailors in Combat to know that their Families had been forced to live under such circumstances. And, some of the War Veterans were even forced into such Camps when they returned “Home”.