Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Thoughts about Korematsu v. United States

In times of War, governments often must balance the needs of national security with the civil rights of its citizens. In your opinion, did the Japanese internment order find the right balance between these competing values? Explain your reasons.

I think the Japanese internment order didn’t find the right balance between these competing values. First of all, it is a violation to basic human rights. The Japanese and Japanese descent were sent far away from home to live in “very basic camps or barracks” and most of those internment camps don’t even have running water or cooking facilities. We can say that those Japanese descents are basically treated as prisoners without committing any crime. It’s understandable that the country feels threatened by Japan due the the Pearl Harbor attack and would take some actions on that. However, treating every Japanese and their descents in America as criminals or spies is not acceptable. America can treat the Japanese and their descents with more cautious and add some limits, but not limiting on their basic human rights.

Do you agree that racial prejudice does not play a role in the government’s treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II? Give reasons to support your answer.

I think racial prejudice definitely played a role in the government’s treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The biggest reasoning for the Japanese internment order is that the government is afraid of the disloyal Japanese descents to attack the country. However, taking this assumption and treated all the Japanese descents as if they were disloyal is extremely unfair to them. It is not right to judge a population based on a few individual’s action. To say that taking all the Japanese descents to internment camp is to prevent them from harming the country is like saying that all African Americans are criminals and we should all send them to jail to prevent any crime from them. Such assumption and discrimination based on a few individual’s action is a racist idea.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Blog Post #6

    The civil rights movement abolished the old racial caste system named Jim Crow. However, the dream of racial equality never came true; instead, a parallel system appears in the form of mass incarceration. Mass incarceration uses the slogan for “law and order” to achieve the old Jim Crow goal - to maintain white superiority. Mass Incarceration and the Old Jim Crow are similar in their origins, legalized discrimination, political disenfranchisement, and exclusion from juries. Both mass incarceration and Jim Crow were born from the poor and working-class whites’ “resentments, vulnerabilities, and racial biases.” The white elites transfer the poor white’s anger and hostility away from them and toward African Americans by creating racial caste system. Both racial caste systems runs in a parallel way through their legalized discrimination. Jim Crow prevents African Americans in “employment, housing, public benefits, and public accommodations” through its law, while mass incarceration achieves the same goal by simply marking large amounts of African Americans as criminals.

     Once being labeled as a criminal, one would have great difficulties finding jobs or housing, and would even lost one’s basic human rights - being able to vote. In order to disenfranchise African Americans, Jim Crow created things such as “poll taxes literacy tests, grandfather clauses and felon disenfranchisement laws.” Even though most of them were abandoned, felon disenfranchisement laws remains, and still plays a big role in mass incarceration. Another important part for that helps both systems is the exclusion of African Americans from juries. In the Old Jim Crow era, the black defendants were tried by all-white juries. Sadly, today, the same situation still occurs due the the U.S Supreme Court’s tolerance of the systematic exclusion of blacks from juries. Such unfair treatment for the colored defendants only makes it easier for mass incarceration.

     The civil rights movement did abolish parts of the Jim Crow system; however, the remaining parts of it is still deeply rooted in our society. Mass incarceration is just an extension of the old racial caste system.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Age of Colorblindness

     After the abandon of the old Jim Crew, race has become a very sensitive issue. The old way of oppressing people of colors is no longer acceptable by society, therefore, we arrived at the age of colorblindness. The age of colorblindness is an age where people claim they don’t judge people by their skin color. Being a “colorblind” seems to be a disclaimer, or a hypocritical mask, for the racial caste. During the reading, Michelle Alexander argues that during the age of colorblindness, along with the enforcement of law and order, the police officers are able to manipulate their power to maintain the racial caste system. The police officers can create lots of unreasonable excuses for so-called consent searches, such as claiming the inspected person “driving with out-of-state license plates, driving a rental car, driving with ‘mismatched occupants’, acting too calm, acting too nervous…” Such excuse can almost include every American, but it is such excuse gives the police power to exercise their either conscious or unconscious discrimination toward people of colors with mentioning race.
     The reason for “all lives matter” being able to be considered a form of colorblindness that masks and reinforces the racial caste system, in my opinion, is that it creates the opportunities to create things such as “blue lives matter”. “All lives matter” actually devalues “black lives matter” for it includes every life on the planet. However, doing so actually might just be a purpose to kept the focus away from “black lives matter” and let the racial caste system functions back to order. However, I personally don’t prefer to think about “all lives matter” in this way because I sometimes do feel “black lives matter” seems like it excludes other racial groups that struggle with similar problems. I think the issues for changing the racial caste system in an age of colorblindness is to break such “colorblindness” by raising the topic about race, making people realize the struggles the colored people face.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Blog post #3

Reconstruction is most commonly understood as it begins at 1863 after the union’s victory of the Civil War. It ended at 1877 when the federal troop left the south. The creation of Jim Crow is driven by the southern whites’ sense of panic and outrage due to the increasing rights gained by blacks during the Reconstruction. To end the panic, the southern whites started Redemption, which recreates a racial order that would protect their privilege and superiority. The new racial order is known as Jim Crow. The general public typically view the death of Jim Crow to be marked by the Brown v. Board Education case, for it signaled the end of the South’s independent ruling with respect to racial affairs. “The increased political power of blacks due to migration to the North” and the “growing membership and influence of the NAACP” (3) all contributed to the demise of Jim Crow. The influence of the World War II, however, strongly influenced destruction of Jim Crow; because its existence “severely [damaged] the nation’s credibility as leader of the ‘free world.’”(3) After the end of Jim Crow, the racial equality was, again, being forced upon the south by the federal government. A “massive, grassroots movement” was started due to the south’s violent resistance to the federal government’s interference, this movement is later developed and known as the Civil rights movement in 1950s. The movement succeeds by making legislative headway with initiatives such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Alexander expressed her concern about such cycle of the white’s quest to form a new racial hierarchy and the black's resistance to it. She thinks that the issue of slavery has never ended, but has just changed to another form. She now fears that the proponents of racial hierarchy’s finding of “a new racial caste system without violating the law or the new limitations by demanding ‘law and order.’”(5)

Blog post #4

The conservative’s enforcement of the idea about “law and order” is systematically and strategically linked to opposition to the civil rights movement. During the civil rights movement, the low- and lower-middle class whites felt threatened due to the increasing rights of African Americans. Those whites were now suddenly forced to compete equally with the blacks for jobs and status. Their children have to share the same school with the African American children. Also, the white children attended schools are most likely to fall under busing orders. The sudden “inequality” the low- and lower-middle class whites felt led them to favor the idea of “law and order”, which is another implicit way to oppress the African American’s rights. Along with the idea that blacks are dangerous criminals, the operation of “law and order” kept a large amount of African Americans in jail for slightest crime, which, in another way helped the low- and lower-middle class whites to regain their sense of superiority and status.
    The republican party gained a huge success on the practice of “law and order.” Therefore, in an attempt to regain the swing voters, the Democratic Party followed the practice of “law and order” by being strict on crime and drug issues.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

About Racial Bribe

Racial bribe is the step the planter elite class took in an attempt to separate the alliance between the poor whites and enslaved blacks. When the settlers first arrived in North America, laboring force is the most important issue. However, the high demand for cheap labor on plantations can not be fulfilled by capturing Native Americans as slaves, because the Native Americans are familiar with the environment and can escape from slavery very easily. Blacks, at that time, were viewed as the ideal slaves because those African Americans were new to the country and not familiar with their languages. Thus it would be hard for them to escape.
Racial bribe is created because of Nathaniel Bacon, a white property owner in Jamestown. Bacon managed to unite black slaves and poor whites, those who are at a lower social hierarchy to fight against the planter elite class, also known as the Bacon's rebellion. In order to stop such “dangerous” action and in an attempt to maintain their original privilege,s a racial bribe is created. The racial bribe, in the literal meaning, is bribing the lower class white people but not with money. The racial bribe gives the lower class white people the privileges and sense of superiority they want by degrading blacks and stating the idea that white is the superior race. Racial bribe successfully achieved its purpose of breaking the alliances between the poor whites and blacks. Furthermore, it became so deeply rooted in our society and still affects our judgment sometimes.
Along with the racial bribe, slavery at that time was also facing a conflict. The ideals of democracy expressed in the founding documents cannot reconcile with the system of slavery. How can a man be truly free if he is been held as a slave? The whites use an easy but cruel way to reconcile the conflict. The Declaration of Independence stated that “all men are created equal." By stigmatizing slaves, which are mainly black, as non-human, the constitution would not apply to them, which make it “reasonable” for the practice of slavery.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Thoughts about the Implicit Association Tests

Today I took the Implicit Association Tests (IAT) about Asian Americans; not surprisingly, my result shows that I have “a moderate automatic association for American with Asian American and Foreign with European American.” The result is predictable to me because I am conscious about some of my implicit associations.
The test begins by letting you memorizing which image is “Asian American”, “European American”, “American” and “Foreign”. After you are able to recognize different images, the real test starts. By associating Asian American and European American with Foreign or American, your pace when sorting would tell you if you have the implicit association or not. I agree with the concept of such mechanism and I believe that it is effective for most of the time; therefore, I do agree with my result.
A small thing that bothers me is that I find it a bit difficult to decide whether some of the males’ faces are European Americans or Asian Americans because I think that they can be both. However, after the test, I started to realize that those males that I found difficult sorting all have black hair. I think that explains some of my implicit associations of black hair with Asian. I think this association is true, Asians’ natural hair color is black; however, I still need to realize that people with different ethnicities also have black hair.
I think that the factor that affected my results the most is that the test uses the word “European American” and the images for foreign are mostly European countries. Seeing pictures about Europe and associating them with European American seems easier for me because I think it just makes sense that European American’s ancestors can come from any of those countries; however, the images describing “Foreign” just makes it hard for me to make connection with Asian American because I don’t make the connection about that’s where their ancestors came from. I think the way this test was made is a bit flawed, for they excluded Asian in their foreign category. I think the result would be different if they make this change.
I think the test is very interesting and allows me to be more conscious about some of my implicit bias. Implicit bias seems to be something very hard to change, but I believe that realizing about one’s biases is the first step to change it.