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September 06, 2017

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Walter

Great idea. The Japanese internment was the worst act of racism of the 20th century. Why do we still honor the man who signed the order--FDR? He is as bad as Lee or Davis.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Walter,

Are you serious? Worse than the numerous lynchings that took place in this country in the 20th century? One can grant the racist assumptions and practices, as well as the correlatively deep injustice and myriad (obvious and unseen) harms of the internment camps without resorting to such extravagant hyperbole.

Walter

Roosevelt was a highly-educated rich man who, with a single signature, put 120,000 innocent Japanese-Americans in internment camps. When these people were released from the camps, they had lost everything. They didn't get their jobs or property back. Roosevelt was supposed to be a progressive thinker. (Did you know that he fought against an anti-lynching law proposed by the Republicans in Congress because he was afraid of losing his Democratic supporters in the Senate?)

Those who committed the lynchings were ignorant racists. Their ignorance doesn't excuse their horrific acts, but Roosevelt knew better, and his acts affected thousands of innocent people.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

So, you agree, there's no justification for calling this, the "worst act of racism of the 20th century"? Of course there are other candidates, in addition to the lynchings, say, the Tulsa race riot of 1921 ... or the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on Sunday, September 15, 1963, when four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted at least 15 sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device beneath the steps of the church, killing four girls and injuring 22 others ....

As for Roosevelt, which is another matter, he is certainly not "as bad as Lee or Davis," as numerous accounts of his presidency by reputable scholars will attest. Indeed, he was one of, if not the greatest president of the 20th century (and probably among a handful of the best presidents in American history), an assessment that can readily accommodate the admittedly horrible war-time decision to set up Japanese internment camps. None of our presidents have been saints or angels, and more than a few of them were deeply flawed human beings, but FDR stands apart and above in many respects.

Walter

Ask Japanese-Americans what they think of FDR.

anon

Walter: PSOD can be very forgiving, when the subject's politics are closer to his. An ideologue doesn't look at facts; an ideologue judges political motivations and excuses any fault on his "side."

Certainly, if the debate is about the 20th century, the internment was a racist action that affected greater, if not the greatest, numbers of persons (see, PSOD, e.g., "Are you serious? Worse than the numerous lynchings that took place in this country in the 20th century?", "killing four girls and injuring 22 ").

This is not to say that any death or injustice caused by a racist act is excusable or insignificant. I would tend to agree, however, that the internment was indeed a racist action on a horrific scale that is perhaps on a par with other mass injustices of the 20th century.

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