Japanese Canadians and Contemporary Issues

Some may think that an apology doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but it does. It recognizes a wrong. The way the media and some politicians have framed and blamed the pandemic on “the Chinese” in particular have such parallels to the persecution of Japanese Canadians during WWII, it is frightening. It matters to me because my family was betrayed by their communities where they thought they were as safe as their neighbours, to the point that they lost family members, businesses, and most of their worldly belongings. And if these hate crimes could happen to an innocent family, or elderly person that had lived here their entire lives, it could happen to anyone who even appears to be “the villain of the week”.

It helps me to remember to look for deeper problems as to why these groups are targeted, or how people have been pushed to the brink of widespread protest because of historical and systemic injustice. The oppression of indigenous peoples of the world, and systemic racism against people of colour have much longer perpetuated cycles of generational trauma that are ongoing traumas today. I think the Japanese Canadian community, and descendants of the interned, have a duty to stand in solidarity of peoples facing injustice, and further models of supporting and understanding intergenerational trauma.

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