Readers React: The bizarre, incorrect belief that internment was meant to protect Japanese Americans

An undated photo shows three children at the Manzanar internment camp in California during World War II.

To the editor: Several years ago, I argued with a gentleman in his 80s who was living in Long Beach at the time about why some of his Japanese American neighbors were rounded up and sent to camps. (“Japanese internment was wrong. Why do some of our leaders still try to justify it?” Opinion, Feb. 20)

This man told me the measure was taken to protect people of Japanese descent so that Americans would not attack them or damage their homes. He would not listen to my point of view that Executive Order 9066 was pure racism.

The op-ed article by Mitchell T. Maki briefly addresses the assertion that internment was also meant to protect Japanese Americans during World War II. I wonder how many Americans harbor this distorted view.

Gerald P. Lunderville, Long Beach



To the editor: People today may never fully appreciate the collective hatred our citizens had for Japanese people. For many, that sentiment lasted a long time after the war.

Perhaps the people who supported internment had no personal experience with Japanese Americans and did not know just how wrong they were. Hopefully, we have learned from our past.

Another travesty of internment was that many families lost their property and their businesses. They deserved to be made whole again, and they were not.


Jan MacMichael, South Pasadena


To the editor: What February 1942 and February 2019 have in common is the original sin of America: racism.

From our abhorrent treatment of Native Americans to our peculiar institution of slavery, from the Jim Crow laws of the post-bellum South to the anti-Chinese laws in the latter part of the 19th century, the U.S. has been the model for rampant bigotry and racist policies.

So naturally, after Pearl Harbor in December 1941, another ugly chapter in the history of American racism began with the internment of Japanese Americans

Now, the Trump administration has separated families at the border.

Bob Teigan, Santa Susana

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