• Why such racial divide on Kauai? • Japanese Americans faced bigotry during war
Why such racial divide on Kauai?
I spent the month of August on vacation in Paris. The spirit of aloha is alive and well in Paris. I spoke French for a month, but I was surrounded by people of all colors from all nations speaking every language imaginable. Blacks and whites and Muslims and Christians and atheists, people from all of Asia, Lebanon, India, Scotland, Turkey, Ukraine, Italy and every country you can name crowded the streets and cafes, an incredible mix of all nations living together.
Everyone was so nice to each other regardless of race. And now I come home to Kauai and, just reading a few days of the letters to the editor has me baffled. Whites against blacks, Native Hawaiians against haole, Christians vs. Muslims, what is going on here?
We all are connected, we all come from this earth. Blaming other races, other cultures for your problems solves nothing. People in Europe are doing their best to live in peace and harmony despite the constant influx of thousands of desperate immigrants from many nations, despite the acts of terrorism they deal with.
One of the things I did in Paris was to leave small painted canvases I had made at all three of the terrorist bomb sites there. The canvases read “Kauai loves Paris” and “Hawaii Stands With You.”
We are so lucky to live on this beautiful isolated paradise. Let’s try and work things out together and stop blaming the other for our own lack of love and aloha.
Jane Kinzer, Waimea
Japanese Americans faced bigotry during war
Regarding the recent letter from Jack Custer, it is bigotry that caused thousands of Japanese Americans of United States citizenry to be sent to “Internment” — truly “Concentration” camps at Gila, Granada, Heart Mountain, Jerome, Manzanar, Mindoca, Poston, Rohwer, Topaz, and Tule Lake, all desolate areas. I spent age 3 to 7 years there.
Sent with my family, each adult with one suitcase only, they lost their home, business and personal possessions. This was because we Americans of Japanese ancestry looked different. Also, we lived on the West coast and were therefore suspect as spies and saboteurs.
Ironically, I was named after the president that signed the executive order. My parents had thought Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a great president.
There was little detention for Germans or Italians, because they were less distinguishable, part of the American melting pot.
I might add the same is true of Native Americans, who fought Mr. Custer’s ancestors in a great debacle. They are now on reservations, a form of internment camp.
I agree that the Japanese nationals make up a forgiving culture. Our American mindset in 1941 was not so forgiving.
PS. I’m glad I grew up after “camp” in a predominantly Mexican-American community and didn’t have to suffer the indignities, hate crimes other Japanese-Americans returning to predominantly white communities did.
With the present Korean crisis, one of my concerns is that hate crimes against Americans of Korean ancestry will take place. How will the general American public be able to distinguish one American Asian from another?
Delano H. Kawahara, Kapaa