Saturday, December 19, 2015

Procrustes' Narrative re Japanese and German Internment

Never assume that you have all the facts. Even an old coot like me, who has pretty well grasped the reality of things for over fifty years, has big gaps in knowledge. This is simply because the establishment liberal/conservative narrative influences and shapes the available facts. And leaves a lot of them out.  A lot. Deliberately.

We all expect the average Joe to lack a lot of information that's essential to forming useful opinions. Without it, his opinions tend to be warped. One excellent example is the impression a lot of people have that White Americans invented slavery. I know, any you probably know, that slavery had pretty much been abolished within Christendom/Western Civilization, but was re-initiated when we found all those slaves for sale in Africa. Most White people don't have a clue about the reality of that, let alone Black people, who use this skewed version of history to ramp up their hatred for Whitey. This ignorance is why American voters are mostly okay with treating Blacks like eternal victims. The narrative, again.

Years back, on the net on some forum or another, a commenter stated that the Germans bombed civilians in Britain, but that the Allies didn't do stuff like that. I sent her a link that described Dresden, and she thanked me for correcting her. Clearly she knew a lot about the war, but the info had been cherry-picked by the MAG (Media, Academia, Government) for her, to mesh with the narrative, Germans bad, Allies good.

Now, these facts aren't always suppressed so much as they're just left out and ignored, and when the intellectual authorities are called on this, they either change the subject or say that the facts are trivial or irrelevant.

Now, everybody on the planet knows that the US interned all those poor Japanese-Americans during WWII, and that it was evil and racist yadda yadda to do so. But only a few are aware that the US also interned German-Americans and Italian-Americans. Were you aware? I was, but only vaguely, and I had no idea that things like David Cole describes happened. In short, I knew a watered-down version of reality.

When it comes to understanding relevant history, this is the most important thing I've read for quite some time. It's from

The Nazi Kid From Brooklyn

History must always be remembered, except when it shouldn’t. No one will ever claim that adage, but many people adhere to it, one way or another. Pity the person with a history that disturbs a popular narrative. In the blink of an eye, “never forget” can become “never remind.” 
Last week, the media went into full-on “never forget” mode after Donald Trump’s “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” proposal. Damn near every mainstream media outlet immediately invoked World War II Japanese-American internment as an example of how U.S. war hysteria inevitably leads to racism.
The fuss over Trump’s comments will eventually ebb. Of more interest to me is how the episode proved, once again, that while the story of the 71,000 Japanese-Americans who were relocated, and the 35,000 Japanese aliens who were interned (in a previous piece, I explained the difference), is classified under “never forget,” the story of the approximately 14,000 German- and Italian-Americans and aliens interned during the war is officially filed under “never remind.” 
Meet Arthur Jacobs. He’s the poster boy for “doesn’t fit the narrative.” Not coincidentally, he’s also the poster boy for getting your nads kicked by your own government for eighty years just because you’re of German descent. You know what he isn’t the poster boy for? “White privilege.” Jacobs’ story personifies why the ordeal of interned German-Americans and aliens during World War II was sometimes worse than what the Japanese internees went through.
Arthur Jacobs’ parents moved to the U.S. from Germany in the 1920s. They were pretty much your standard German Christian immigrants, looking to start a new life in New York. They became legal residents, and had two sons. Arthur was born in Brooklyn in 1933. His parents mandated that English be spoken around the house, so Arthur grew up knowing only scant German. He was a typical Brooklyn kid: school, sports, and scrap-metal drives when the war broke out. But the FDR administration had other plans.
“Just like in that American-administered dungeon in occupied Germany when he was twelve, Arthur Jacobs is once again called a Nazi simply for being of German descent.” 
After Pearl Harbor, all “enemy aliens” (noncitizens from Axis countries) had to register with their local “enemy alien hearing board.” Jacobs’ father was interviewed by the board, and it was unanimously determined that he posed no threat, and that internment was not necessary. The Jacobs family felt that they’d dodged a bullet, but, in fact, they were just a bit farther downrange than they thought. What the Jacobs family, and thousands of other German-American families, didn’t know was that the Roosevelt administration had created a secret, shadowy entity within the State Department called the “Special War Problems Division” (SWPD), which was charged with rounding up aliens and their families for use as hostages should any need arise to bargain for Americans captured by Axis forces. Some aliens already cleared by the enemy aliens board were to be interned anyway, because the goal of the SWPD wasn’t national security, but to collect potential pawns. 
Art and his family were sent to a temporary internment center at Ellis Island (pause for irony), and then they were sent by train to an internment camp in Crystal City, Tex. (the “Spinach Capital of the World,” complete with a giant statue of Popeye in the city center). Having traded the Statue of Liberty’s benevolent gaze for Popeye’s threatening fists, the Jacobs family settled in at the Crystal City camp, which was roughly divided between German and Japanese internees. And while the Japanese inmates would eventually be freed, for some of the German inmates, the worst was yet to come.
Worst indeed. Read the rest here, and be prepared to be astounded.


  1. The technical term for what Mr. Jacobs experienced is xenophobia, not racism. Since at the time Americans of German descent were the largest ethnic group in America (there are in fact more German Americans than English Americans)I can see why the bosses want to cover this up. Who is safe if ethnic Germans loyal to the US could be mistreated this way.

  2. “”””Has big gaps in knowledge”””

    I have seen the same thing. One big problem with humans is we like stories, stories with beginnings and ends, and that endings tied up in a nice bow.

    But reality is a lot bigger then stories and is too big to be contained in any news report or book or even library. So the story tellers trim the facts to fit and to serve the purpose of the story.

    One good thing is that among the more honest or more afraid to be caught they often leave bits of the inconvenient facts in the story, in books they can be found in the end and foot notes, in the longer articles look around 2/3 of the way through. Most people just read the title, introduction and the main points of the story and skip over to the bottom to get the conclusion.

    So since the Powers That Be have decided that the big bad wolf are Nazis or Whites or Heterosexuals then facts are picked to support that story