What was the main reason for targeting the Japanese American community? Was this reason based on facts or irrational perceptions?
The main reason for targeting the Japanese American community was as a result of prejudice, stereotype and fear. The reason was an illogical perception. After the Chinese suppression in United States, Japanese started being recruited in America as laborers. They were recruited in cane field of Hawaii and in vegetable and fruits farms in California. In United States their labor was welcomed as far as they remained docile but by the moment they showed signs of resistance whites perceived them as a threat and they feared being dominated.
Since the American labor union denied membership to any person of Asian ancestry, Japanese and Mexican farm laborers formed independent union and in 1903 they conducted a successful strike in California. In addition, Japanese laborers through labor contracting organizations negotiated for higher pay and they soon achieved. With age parity equal to the white workers they acquired enough money enough for leasing or buying farmland. Like the Chinese they were able to emerge rich and developed their agricultural land (Steven, High and Arundel 4).
Later the anti-Japanese campaign commenced. Mob arson and assault and other acts of lawlessness and violence began. Japanese were forcibly expelled from their farm land and later all the prejudices were institutionalized into law. As their predecessors, Japanese were prohibited from marrying whites, denied citizenship, their children were to attend segregated schools, they were denied the right from certain occupations and some laws that were mainly targeted to segregate them were enforced like they were denied the right to lease or own any land.
According to Gannis (87) Even after the exclusions the Japanese population still never decreased and quite a considerable number was married to the whites thus they remained permanent citizens. This resulted to the formation of Japanese American generation. However, the American still intensified their efforts to expel the Japanese and during this time mass media emerged as another strong weapon in this fight.
Soon motion pictures, radio, newspapers started stereotyping Japanese American as inassimilable and untrustworthy. The mass media hated the fact that the Japanese American in US as American valid citizens. As the Japan emerged as a military power the media falsely portrayed Japanese American as Japan agents. The disease of prejudice was spread all over America. With the denied access to media, the Japanese American was unable to fight the prejudice and false stereotype.