N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Posts tagged “discrimination

HAPPINESS PROHIBITED

When I think I’ve heard it all, I found out this morning that I haven’t!! So, with a HAPPY smile on my face, I am writing this post to make your day!

This is another “hair salon” story….“Oh, No …please spare us!” you are thinking.

It appears that this salon operator wanted to hire someone for her salon. She went to get the advertisement printed and was eagerly looking for the right person to respond.

Here is what Alison Birch said happened when she tried to list the job ad. She was looking for a part-time qualified hairdresser at her AJ’s Unisex Hair Salon in Stroud, England. (And I thought only crazy things happened in American salons that were news worthy!)

“The position called for someone with five years’ experience of working in a salon, who is “confident in barbering as well as all aspects of hairdressing.”And the advertisement stated, “This is a busy, friendly, small salon, so only happy, friendly stylists need apply.”

She claims the man at the job center said to her: “I’m sorry, but the word happy is a discriminatory word and we aren’t allowed to use it, as somebody who is not happy will be discriminated against.”

According to Birch, he then asked: “Should we change the word in case somebody thinks that they can’t apply for the job because they are not a happy person?”

“Was I being a bit sensitive, and is the word happy discriminating? Or has this whole world all gone mad?” Birch said.And plenty of Birch’s customers agreed with her outrage over the job center’s “ridiculous” stance on her advertisement.

Karen Evans commented: “The world has gone absolutely mad.

“Does this mean that every descriptive word is discriminating… happy, tall, smart, elegant? Good luck with your search.”

Julie Thickins added: “I thought this was a joke, realizing it clearly isn’t has left me absolutely speechless… what has the human race come to?” (Taken from South West News Service in England)

Hair salon in England

_________________________

I’m sure my readers will remember the ads in years past when someone is looking for the perfect person to meet. Well, if those ads still exist…no one could say that they are looking for a “TALL and HANDSOME MAN.” Certainly that would be discriminating against the men out there that are “SHORT and UGLY.” (Which reminds me that my female, English students in Mongolia said they just wanted to marry a man that was “CLEAN and SOBER.” Poor, dears, they didn’t realize that they were putting the Mongolian men who were DIRTY and DRUNK in a discriminated-against category.)

It also occurred to me that when I patted my Golden Retriever this morning and said, “Bella, you are such a BEAUTIFUL girl….and a GOOD girl too.” I surely was discriminating against all the BAD, UGLY dogs in the world.

BEAUTIFUL Bella

A special note from Boyer Writes:

Good luck, Ladies in England, on hiring a HAPPY person for your salon. You deserve happiness for happiness should not be prohibited! Yes, You are right… “The world has gone crazy!”


Diversity…and the Nisei

Are most people frightened to some extent about “diversity”?  If someone looks different from ourselves…speaks a language we don’t understand or in some way doesn’t fit our own mold…yes, there is fear. The actual definition is “the inclusion of different types of people, such as people of different races or cultures.”  During War Time…or in peacetime when people of different cultures and languages storm our borders (or threaten an invasion which may result in large camping tents and holding places), the lessons of history flash in our minds and brings us back to another day and time…Japanese internment camps.

There was mistrust throughout the U.S. of anyone Japanese or looked Japanese.  Eventually, internment camps began to grow as Americans became unsure of whom they could trust.  Fear was definitely in the air.

japanese mother and child at internment camp

Japanese-Americans interned at the Santa Anita Assembly Center at the Santa Anita racetrack near Los Angeles in 1942.

 

japanese children pledge the flag

Japanese Americans continued to salute the flag even in internment.

“After World War II was over, it took until 1988 for Congress to attempt to apologize for the action by awarding each surviving intern $20,000 when President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act.  While the American concentration camps never reached the levels of Nazi death camps as far as atrocities are concerned, they remain a dark mark on the nation’s record of respecting civil liberties and cultural differences.”   (Wikipedia)

Let’s take a look at what diversity among people was able to do during those bleak years. Perhaps it can give us some hope for the loyalty of diverse peoples who may seek citizenship in the future.

Kazuo Yamane Japanese American intelligence interpreter

Interpreter Kazuo Yamane

You may never have heard of Kazuo Yamane or even the word, Nisei.  However, the diversity that he represents in our society is of greatest importance.

  ( The word Nisei means a native-born citizen of the United States or Canada whose parents were Japanese immigrants.)

Had it not been for Kazuo Yamane and thousands of Japanese Americans nisei like him, from Hawaii, we would have had a difficult time winning World War II.   An award-winning film, Proof of Loyalty, has been made about his struggle as an educated Japanese to overcome the divisions that also separate us and ultimately to use his own native language talents as a trusted interpreter for the American military during some of the worst days of the war.

 

kazuo Yamae in uniform WWII

Kazuo Yamane, a Japanese American Soldier

Thousands of Japanese fight as America Nisei

Thousands of Japanese Nisei join the U.S. military to fight in WWII

Where did it all begin for Kazuo Yamane?

 From the PROOF OF LOYALTY film:

 “Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii tells the story of a Japanese American who played a crucial strategic role in World War II. He and his fellow Nisei from Hawaii combatted prejudice and discrimination to loyally serve their country. Their extraordinary service, mostly untold, ultimately changed the course of U.S. history.

Kazuo Yamane’s father, Uichi, came to Hawaii in the late 19th century with nothing and built a successful family business. His eldest son, Kazuo, first educated in the discriminatory school system in Hawaii, eventually graduated from Waseda University, the Harvard of Japan, and returned to Hawaii just before the Pearl Harbor attack. Drafted just before the war he became part of what would be the War Department’s most successful social experiment, taking Nisei troops from Hawaii and forming the 100th Infantry Battalion, a unit made up of a group entirely related to a country we were at war with. Their success was spectacular, but Kazuo was plucked from their ranks for his exceptional knowledge of Japanese, which would lead him to the Pentagon, to a secret facility in northern Maryland, and finally to serving under Eisenhower in Europe. Most importantly, he would identify a secret document which would help to shorten the war in the Pacific.

The absolute loyalty of the Nisei to America in World War II, despite discrimination and incarceration, provides an insight for us today. These American citizens used whatever skills they had to protect their beloved country, even while many Americans suspected them of being the enemy. The War Department trusted them and through them gained both a military advantage by strength and sacrifice on the battlefield to important intelligence behind the lines. Diversity powers America, but also keeps us safe — one only has to look at the Nisei to provide ample proof.

The story of Japanese-Americans in Hawaii is a unique one, and as with any unique story, it is difficult to tell in a way that is both comprehensive and personal. But PROOF OF LOYALTY manages to do just that, using the inspiring story of World War II hero Kazuo Yamane as a window into the Japanese-American experience in Hawaii.

During World War II, the United States interned over 100,000 Japanese-Americans in camps. But of the over 150,000 Japanese-Americans in Hawaii, less than 2,000 were interned. In fact, a select group of a few hundred Japanese-American men in Hawaii were recruited to translate Japanese for the American Army. These troops, known as the 100th Infantry Battalion, were seen as an experiment that would prove whether any Japanese-Americans could truly be trusted to be loyal to the United States.

These men proved not only to be loyal, but also instrumental to winning the war.

Men like Kazuo Yamane are a reminder of what truly makes America great. Japanese-Americans had no obligation to love the United States during World War II. The discrimination they faced is a stain on American history, revealing the darkest, ugliest impulses of American society. Yet the brave Japanese-American soldiers we see in PROOF OF LOYALTY risked everything for their country and ended up saving countless lives through their translation work. They prove that America’s strength comes not from military might, but from diversity. This film may be about men from decades past, but it couldn’t be more relevant.

(quoted from the Asian American International Film Festival)

There is one very interesting point brought out in the film.   The thousands of Nisei received military training while in Hawaii.  They were ready to fight.  One day a ship arrived.  The men were told to meet the ship, remove their weapons, and board.  They did.  When they found out that they were headed to the U.S. mainland, they feared the worse. Perhaps they were going to be placed in the internment camps.  However, that was not the plan. The men were to form their own units to fight with the other Americans.  The 442 Regimental Combat Team, which was composed primarily of  Japanese Americans, served with uncommon distinction.  Many of these U.S. soldiers serving in the unit had families who were held in the internment camps in the United States while they fought abroad.  They fought with bravery and many died…as the Americans they were.

Slides

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PROOF OF LOYALTY short trailer video  Turn up sound 

  (full-length film available for purchase online)

Proof of Loyalty Trailer from Stourwater Pictures on Vimeo.

 


Risking My Life and Still Called the “N” Word -The Tuskegee Airmen

It must be terribly difficult to be a minority in whatever country one lives in and to never feel the acceptance that others feel.   I thought of this as I walked out of the theater last evening.    The film was the story of the Tuskegee airmen during World War II and their giving of their best  for their country, the United States of America.   These men risked their lives and were still called the “N” word during this time of segregation in American history.  Vietnam Veterans, of all races, were also looked down upon by society because they were military in an unpopular war.  It is hard to be spat on and to endure so much that is undeserved when all you have done is to serve.

The movie, Red Tails, was made by  George Lucas, who felt that African-American young men today are not encouraged by role models of the past.  He wanted to give them hope and a reference for building their lives.

Columnist Courtland Milloy felt Lucas missed the mark. “During a recent screening of the movie sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists, I sat with several  Tuskegee Airmen. The men were pleased that the history of the black pilots, gunners and mechanics was getting so much attention, and they were grateful to Lucas for using $93 million of his own money to help bankroll the film. Nevertheless, they saw little of themselves on the screen. Col.Davis would not have tolerated the fist fights, aerial stunts, drunkenness and insubordination. For my money, Lucas could have depicted the pilots as they were …He could have at least made them appear credible as pilots.”

George Lucas’s intentions for making the movie may have been good.   In  my years as an educator, the focus was on overall history until Black History month.   Dr. King was highly praised for his work against discrimination.   More recently, voters have proven that  attaining the Presidency had no racial barrier.   Nevertheless, for many African-American males,  athletes are their closest example if there is not a strong father figure in the family.   The men of the 332nd Fighter Group had what it took: patriotism, willing to educate themselves and determination despite the discrimination of the times.

Tuskegee Air Group

Author Douglas Moser tells it this way. “President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 ordered the creation of an all-black flying corps. A year later, qualified servicemen were trained at Tuskegee Institute, an African-American teaching school in central Alabama founded by Booker T. Washington, under contract with the U.S. Army, according to the National Park Service history of the program. Pilots who completed their training at the institute trained at the Tuskegee Army Airfield.

In April 1943, the 99th Fighter Squadron from Tuskegee was deployed to North Africa for combat and soon was joined by the 100th, the 301st and the 302nd squadrons to form the 332nd Fighter Group.

The Airmen completed 15,000 sorties in about 1,500 missions, destroyed over 260 enemy aircraft, sank one enemy destroyer and demolished many enemy installations, according to the National Park Service. The Tuskegee Airmen were awarded numerous high honors, including Distinguished Flying Crosses, Legions of Merit, Silver Stars, Purple Hearts, the Croix de Guerre and the Red Star of Yugoslavia. A Distinguished Unit Citation was awarded to the 332nd Fighter Group for “outstanding performance and extraordinary heroism” in 1945.

Between 1941 and 1945, Tuskegee trained about 1,000 pilots for the war effort, according to the National Park Service. During its run until 1949, the program trained 994 African-American pilots.  The Airmen were assigned to strafing and beach-clearing missions because the generals were skeptical of their ability. But as the war took its toll on the Army Air Force, a general approached Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., commander of the 332nd, about using the Airmen in combat missions.

Davis agreed and asked for better planes. The Army Air Force upgraded the group to P-51s and assigned them to escort bombers on sorties to Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania. The Tuskegee Airmen performed so well, bomber pilots began asking specifically to be escorted by Red Tails, named so because their planes’ tails were painted red.”

Whatever this film does for any minority who struggles, it is a recognition that is  long-time in coming for African-American men who served and served well.   We are losing our WWII veterans by the hundreds each day.  We salute you.