Different Cultural Identities Dilemma

Topics: Japanese American internment, Japanese American, Manzanar Pages: 3 (1005 words) Published: February 25, 2013
Different Cultural Identities Dilemma
The memoir Farewell to Manzanar, written by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, tells of her experience at Manzanar internment camp after the Pacific War broke out. During the internment of Japanese-Americans, their living standards fell drastically; moreover, they faced Japanese and American values and identity conflicts. It was hard for these Japanese Americans to maintain two different cultural identities for several reasons. In the first place, they suffered from racial discrimination. In the 1940s, mainstream society and the government discriminated against Japanese Americans who were viewed as potentially dangerous people who might betray the US. Thus, Japanese Americans found it was hard to be accepted by others in America. In addition, they largely insisted on their own cultural identities. They were not willing to give up Japanese identities after arriving in America. Chinese immigrants would like to get together and formed Chinatown for the same reason. In the article, "Two worlds, one family," Jen Maldonado was imposed on pressure by her Taiwanese friends who insisted on Chinese culture, when she wanted to develop a cross-cultural relationship with an American. It is hard to successfully balance two different cultural identities because of racial discrimination and the adherence to people's former culture as will be shown using evidence from Farewell to Manzanar, "Two worlds, one family" and my personal observations. In the 1940s, Japanese-Americans suffered from racial discrimination; thus, they had a hard time getting into mainstream society and balancing their cultural identities. The government never showed full trust towards these immigrants who were viewed as threats to American national security. In order to supervise Japanese-Americans and prevent any potential danger, the government relocated Japanese Americans to internment camps, which exacerbated cultural conflicts and undermined basic human rights. The...
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