Your car is German. Your pizza is Italian. Your falafel Lebanese. Your democracy Greek. Your coffee Brazilian. Your movies American. Your tea is Tamil. Your shirt is Indian. Your oil is Saudi Arabian. Your electronics are Chinese. Your gold and diamond is African,Your sushi Japanese. Your number’s Arabic, your letters Latin. And you complain that your neighbor is an immigrant? Pull yourself together and enjoy diversity folks. Keep the list going!
When Huang’s childhood neighbors trash his birthday party, he makes a resolution: “I refused to be that Chinese kid walking everywhere with his head down. I wanted my dignity, my identity, and my pride back…There were no free passes on my soul and everything they stole from me I decided I’d take back double.” He floods his neighbors’ house with a hose and releases his Russian wolfhound on them.
Regardless which continent, society or community the story is recognizable too many and hurts for generations. Healing is painful for victims and collateral damage invisible when the why’s are not answered or even remained unanswered for decades……
Today is the anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, an order that allowed the government of the United States to declare people like me a threat, round them up (including Japanese from other countries, like Peru), put them in “internment” concentration camps across the US. The xenophobia and racism of that time was unrepentant and an outgrowth of the anti-Asian, anti-immigrant policies ranging from the late 1800’s to today.
We can never forget the damages of tenuous immigration statuses and the dangers of a government that will bend to xenophobia. We can never forget what was done to Japanese and Japanese Americans. We can never forget Executive Order 9066. We can never forget that it took more than 40 years for the government to ‘apologize’ for their actions. We can never forget to show love to those who survived those camps and continue to struggle so that no others need face that type of government-sanctioned persecution and detention.