Diversity is what makes this country great
By Ken Narita, Arts & Entertainment Editor
There are few that have lived long enough to remember the events of WWII as it unfolded. So, it is not a surprise that only a few remember the hatred toward Japanese-Americans during that time. With Japan being a current ally of the United States it seems ludicrous to think that less than 80 years ago, Japanese-Americans were sent to internment camps.
Sadly, during the war thousands of Japanese-Americans, many of them being second and third generation citizens, were forced out of their homes into internment camps. The federal order called by Franklin D. Roosevelt affected people with no ties to Japan other than it being the origin of their ancestors. Hate for Japanese-Americans was at an all-time high.
The Redford Theater located on Grand River Ave. in Detroit, at that time being roughly 20 years old, was defaced. Hate for the Japanese had gone to the lengths of ruining a beautiful theater with no ties to Japan other than the influence of design. The chandeliers were taken down, the art on the walls was painted over and a truly amazing piece of art was almost lost.
Today it appears Japan might be one of the few countries that ties with the U.S. may have improved under the presidency of Donald Trump. Nowadays, Japanese influences in entertainment are everywhere: it can be seen in music, food and movies. However, this positive relationship with the U.S. took time to regain after the horrible treatment of Japanese-Americans. Men, Women and children, some of whom did not speak a word of Japanese, were profiled because of their ancestry; judged for actions of a government across the Pacific Ocean they had no contact with.
Many similarities can be found in the treatment of Arab Americans today. Those who live in the U.S. are being viewed responsible for actions of people across the world. Less understood cultures are often viewed as bad or evil. Some feel as though it’s necessary to implement a travel ban from Muslim majority, but these people are not seeing the action as the discriminatory executive command it is.
As foreign ideas get pushed farther away so does appreciation for what makes humans interesting: the ability to view the same subject from different angles, or being able to interpret the same experience differently and then take those diverse ideas and come up with new and interesting thoughts from them. This is where all beautiful and marvelous art comes from.
Xenophobic actions, such as the travel ban, put American ideals at risk. The U.S. was founded on diversity. The sharing of ideas is what allowed the country to have an abundance of new and interesting creations. Innovation is not possible without exploring the unfamiliar.
Most people during childhood develop a dislike for a certain thing. The root of the fear is normally behind the lack of understanding. Therefore, once that child matures and gains more life experience that fear diminishes. So why do we see a president today react the same way.
Imagine what the U.S. would be like if Japanese influences were still being pushed out. Arguably one of the most popular foods today, Sushi, may not have been discovered in the U.S. yet.
Imagine a country where Italians were kept out and pizza never became a staple in the American diet. What if there was a travel ban on Belgium and French fries were never discovered. A lot of the most Americans things came from immigrants. Budweiser, one of the most iconic American symbols, was founded by Adolphus Busch, an immigrant from Germany.
Instead of being feared, differences should be embraced. People with contrasting ideas should be celebrated, not dismissed as strange and misguided. And a ban of any country, no matter the background, is un-American. By placing a ban from several Muslim majority countries risks what has made America great in the past and what will continue to make America great in the future.