It was 70 years ago on Dec. 7 (1941) when the Pearl Harbor attack in Hawaii began a tremendous emotional effect on not only the American people, but also on the Japanese population living on American soil.
The inner beliefs, prejudges and discriminations resulting from this one day of infamy transformed the individual, rational thinking processes to a cohesive community agreement and appears to have been passed down to the younger generations for many decades.
Social phenomena occur within certain populations when decisions to reach a personal viewpoint or idea are swayed by the consensus of that specific population. If a mass discrimination is socially accepted, individuals will fall into this frame of mind comparable to a submissive ‘social brainwashing.’ This conformity is remarkable and may be an example of individual thinking processes being influenced by the greater masses.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the panic and fear created extreme anxiety and panic in our society which permeated into enacting discriminatory laws against innocent people. The legal restrictions implied that the Japanese people who resided in America were ‘spies’ and were not questioned or confronted by anyone, as it was just accepted as a social norm.
Japanese Americans in Concentration Camps
Following WWII it was no easy task for Japanese American to find their spot back in society. Many Americans still harbored inner sentiment of the Japanese remembering Pearl Harbor and the fear of Japanese spies. Despite this, by the 1960’s Japanese Americans had gained many Americans respect with their economic prosperity. This is when the common stereotype of the Japanese businessman began to take hold. Japanese Americans were seen as, “successful citizens” and good assimilators into white American society. But as time transpired the stereotype took the form of the quiet, efficient, high-powered Japanese corporate business worker. However, as recently as 1994 a San Francisco radio station had to fire a local DJ for racist anti-Asian American remarks. Such actions in areas highly populated by Asian Americans shows that there is still ground to be gained.
The loss of autonomous thinking to conform to any given society is a phenomenon reflecting a desire to be a cohesive part of a community, which is still evident in modern times.
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Pearl Harbor Facts