Recent news regarding hate crimes towards Asian-Americans reminded me that Asian-American discrimination is sadly not new in our country. Some notable events of Asian-American discrimination are relatively recent in American history and unfortunately obscure. What comes to mind is the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Despite the threat from Nazi Germany and Italy, we did not intern nearly as many Italian or German Americans, despite observing German U-Boats spotted near American shipyards! The internment of Japanese-Americans included George Takei, who, among a myriad of endeavors, created a great Broadway musical on his personal experience called “Allegiance.” We should also consider that in spite of the distrust of Japanese-Americans at the time, an entire U.S. Army unit made up of Japanese-American personnel, the 442nd, remains the most-decorated combat unit of its size in American military history, and even helped to liberate Nazi concentration camps.
My point is that in spite of COVID-19 originating in Wuhan, and our understandable distrust of the Chinese Communist Party, painting Asian-American citizens with a racist brush is as wrong as associating Japanese-Americans with Imperial Japan during World War II.