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Learning From a Dark Time

September 18, 2004

Re "Internment Lesson Plan Is Under Attack," Sept. 12: U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were interned based solely on their ancestry. Their Asian ancestry. We were also at war with Germany and Italy. We did not do a wholesale roundup of people of German and Italian ancestry and put them in "camps."

The entire episode smacks of the racism that it was. Our government methodically stole the pride of our citizens of Japanese ancestry. We then proceeded to steal their property, businesses and bank accounts. The actions were not justified then. Such actions will never be justified in a free and democratic America.

Dennis R. Greenwood

Long Beach


The objective of the Japanese internment lesson should have been teaching children to think about how we treat each other in times of great societal stress. Both sides of this argument want something omitted. Any time you hear the word "omit" in education you should challenge the motive. Of course, both sides of the Japanese internment argument need to be debated as well as both sides of the Patriot Act.

Only then will children grow up to be adults who question authority and think for themselves. We can only hope to influence patterns of human behavior by exploring the whole sequence of real events. A good teacher will encourage the conflict of questioning in the classroom.

Sandra Kaszynski

Costa Mesa


I could not believe what I read. This article said that there are good people in America who actually believe that imprisoning thousands of Japanese people who obviously had no involvement with the bombing of Pearl Harbor was justifiable. That taking away their freedom and their jobs and being separated from their family simply because of the color of their skin was not a mistake.

If anything, we should be commending our nation's schoolteachers for their efforts to show that, yes, even we Americans can make mistakes. However, because we are good and decent people, people who believe in equality and freedom, we can move on in a positive way and learn from the mistakes we made in the past.

These educators did not implement this program "to lead our 11-year-old students to hate America," but rather to love it, and show what it means to be American in a modern world. To educate them to be Americans, to be people who celebrate humanity, dignity and equal opportunity.

Catherine Nguyen

Huntington Beach

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