Our history matters. We can still see the same systems, the same attitudes, the same rhetoric in place today directed at other marginalized communities. We can replace “Japs” with racist slurs for Muslims, Indigenous peoples, Blacks and on and on. We personally may not face the same overt levels of racism of our parents and grandparents, but that doesn’t mean that other vulnerable communities are not the unjust targets of hatred and misunderstanding. White supremacy is still real.
What happens in the U.S. crosses into Canada. When Donald Trump mentioned the registration and mass incarceration of Japanese Americans was a precedent that could be used today to register all immigrants from Muslim countries, I was shocked and sickened. Am I living in another reality from other North Americans thinking that everyone understands that the imprisonment of Japanese Americans was wrong, a mistake, a black mark and cannot be repeated? If we forget our history and don’t speak up, bad things will happen again. Maybe not to us, but certainly to others.