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La Follette's Remarks on Japanese

September 16, 1988

While I am aware that some of our citizens are just to the right of Genghis Khan, it is to be hoped that our elected representatives are more perceptive. Apparently this is not the case with regard to Assemblywoman Marian W. La Follette of Northridge. Her comments concerning reparations to the Americans of Japanese ancestry as reported in The Times on Aug. 11 lead to one of two conclusions: She is either monumentally foolish or an outright racist.

There are two quotes from La Follette in the article: She "would like to see an apology from the Japanese government for the maiming and killing of our young men." And, "It will always remain in my mind that the war resulted from an attack by the Japanese government." Both are classic examples of comparing apples and oranges. To equate the actions of the Japanese government with those of residents of the West Coast, most of whom were American citizens, is idiotic.

The United States did not imprison Germans or Italians, only those whose features were different. It was racist then; it still is, except that La Follette has added a new wrinkle: stupidity.

I am a white American citizen who was a Los Angeles teen-ager at the beginning of World War II.

RUSSELL FREEMAN

West Hills

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