We’re a little late with this, but on May 25, 2017, Gideon Culman, who publishes the K Street Coaching blog, interviewed Rose Masters, Park Ranger (interpretive staff), Manzanar National Historic Site, in a piece entitled, “Race Prejudice, War Hysteria, and a Failure of Political Leadership – Interview.”
The interview runs the gamut of Manzanar history and its stories; the Japanese American Incarceration experience and much more.
Give it a listen below:
LEAD PHOTO: Park Rangers Alisa Lynch (left) and Rose Masters (right), part of the interpretive staff at Manzanar National Historic Site, are shown here during the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 29, 2017. Photo: Geri Ferguson/Manzanar Committee.
Race Prejudice, War Hysteria, and a Failure of Political Leadership – Interview
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It was an interesting and informative overview of the Executive Order 9066. For those of us who were of draft age, Question 27, 28 was the two question that cut deep into the Japanese family upbringing: the mores, the loyalty, and respect for our ancestors. The questionnaire was undeniably ill conceived; tore families apart, left loyal Americans with the choice of deserting their parents, or answering “No No” to save the family, the most precious thing in the life of Japanese.
While she mentioned the Loyalty Questionnaire, I do not believe she can fully understand the tremendous mental and emotional impact it had on young Japanese American of draft age. For the US Government to use those two answers as a loyalty question was unforgivable, demeaning, and devastating to both Citizen and non-citizen.
They said that the Watchtower and the barbed wire would protect us from harm. But why were the searchlight and machine gun pointed inwards to the camp? But at night, the searchlight would sweep the camp to remind us that we were not free!
Many thanks for your informative comment. I completely agree with you that I will never fully understand the impact of the “Loyalty Questionnaire.” In fact, I think it’s difficult — if not impossible — for most people who did not live through it to understand just how damaging that questionnaire was. This is why I’m so grateful to those who have been willing to share their first-hand stories of unjust incarceration. Your description of the “Loyalty Questionnaire” is what I hope every visitor to Manzanar National Historic Site comes away understanding. Thank you. If you’d ever like to get in touch, my email address is Rose_Masters@nps.gov.
All my best,