Guilty by assosciation, identify and and explore the history surrounding another cultural group that has been made “guilty by association”.
Guilty by Association
Once bitten, twice shy. Most people are familiar with the saying due to the frequency of using it on different occasions. It is used to sensitize people on taking precautions. If something bad happens to you unexpectedly, one then takes the initiative to protect themselves from the reoccurrence of the same. If one had already taken precautions but something bad still happens, one researches and finds a better mechanism to protect themselves. The intention is to ensure that no harm reaches the individual, or only a small percentage, that the individual can handle. When taking the precautions, sometimes innocent people are caught up in between and are left stranded.
Most countries have security measures put up in place to protect the citizens. However, most of these countries have encountered security threats at some point. The different countries then increase their security details and point out any threats that may lead to security breaches in the countries. America is such a country where they have always had their security plan in check. However, looking at when the Japanese bombed the Pearl Harbor, America had to protect its people. They took measures that directly affected some innocent Japanese, who were American citizens.
One of the steps that America took to reduce the chances of such a reoccurrence was to relocate Japanese-Americans from the West Coast. The persons relocated were about 120,000, to one of the ten internments camps (Hay, 34). Most of those relocated were American citizens. In that camp, the traditional family structure was restructured. Only children born in America were allowed to have authority positions (Hay, 119).
From what America did, they affected very many innocent people. Having their freedom taken from them only because of their rights was a violation of human rights. They were citizens of a country that thought them as suspects. The lives of the Japanese-Americans changed. Their cultural practices and organizations were interrupted. The father had always been the head of the family. But at this time, the children born in America were given the authority to rule over other family members (“A Lesson of Injustice From 1942,” 18).
By Japan bombing the Harbor, it brought a lot of tensions. It caused the entire Japanese appear as suspects. Though the Japanese planned and the executed the plan, it doesn’t mean all the Japanese were guilty. Those involved in the planning were a very small percentage of the Japanese population. It is also true that there are those with the Japanese roots who were against the action (Peterson, 224). Though not involved in the plan, they were sure it wasn’t right. There is also a probability that there could be an American, involved in the planning of the same.
At times in life, we find ourselves in situations where other people’s actions directly affect us. It may be stereotyping on; the families we come from, our communities, ethnic groups, races or even nationalities. It is a description of being guilty by association. The Japanese-Americans were as innocent as any other person on the American soil at the time. They were, however, unfairly treated for having Japanese roots. Therefore, sometimes it’s difficult to avoid being a victim of circumstance as there are things that can’t change such as the family background, skin color, ethnic group or race among others.
“A LESSON OF INJUSTICE FROM 1942.” The Boston Globe 18 Feb. 2003. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.
Hay, Jeff. The Internment of Japanese Americans. Detroit: Greenhaven, 2012. Print.
Peterson, Tiffany. Japanese Americans. Capstone Classroom, 2004.