A Racist View of the Japanese during World War II
Updated: Jan 5
Gila River Detention Camp in Arizona (National Archives)
During World War II, the head of Japanese households in America were taken away to detention camps. The Japanese had schools, churches, farms, and much more, yet they were forced to separate from their families. Even so, many people, far and wide, supported these acts. Here is some of what they believed:
Rumors about the Japanese
"After Pearl Harbor, rumor mills had a heyday about it. All kinds of wild rumors about everything: a large farmhouse off Halcyon near the highway had a basement full of guns! Another house had a secret room full of short-wave radios and they were in constant contact with Tokyo…on and on. It seemed like someone was trying to turn us against our neighbors. Most of us couldn’t buy it. We had grown up with them."
From a Guadalupe Women
"Today’s (broadcast) really came close to home.We live near this small town where nearly one half are Japs. They farm all the best land and pay outrageous prices per acre, such as $45 or $50, and live in a shack to do it. Besides [they] own the theatre, half the garages and just about run this town…really, this is no country for such people."
From a San Luis Obispo Women
"…We want to congratulate you on the stand you are taking towards the Japs. We wish there were more like you. We have lived in and around San Luis Obispo all our lives and have seen enough of the Japs to know that our races can never mix."
From a Local Businessman
"I have talked to many people around the Arroyo Grande Valley…and the Japs farm two thirds of the best valley land and own 10% of it now, and every one of them are of the same opinion that now is the time to put the screws to the Japs before it is too late."
General John L. Dewitt
"In the war in which we are now engaged racial affinities are not severed by migration. The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on United State soil, possessed of United States citizenship, have become “Americanized,” the racial strains are undiluted."
Gregory, Jim “Arroyo Grande after Pearl Harbor.” A Work in Progress, 19 Apr. 2020, jimgregory52.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/arroyo-grande-after-pearl-harbor/.