U.S. History (Check)(REED)

Write 2 paragraphs describing some of the race issues the United States dealt during WWII.

A: The United States dealt with many issues during World War II. Most of these issues were race-related or involved racism. For example, when hordes of African Americans migrated from the South to the North and West to obtain jobs in war factories during World War II, local residents often treated them with hostility and suspicion. Sometimes these attitudes led to violence, such as in the Detroit race riot of 1943. African Americans, however, were not the only people who were subject to such discrimination. A large amount of wartime prejudice was aimed toward Japanese Americans. When Japan attacked the base at Pearl Harbor, many West Coast Americans lashed out at Japanese Americans by attacking their businesses and their homes, refusing to cash their checks, and refusing to sell them food. Rumors about Japanese spies in the Japanese American community made matters worse. Members of Congress, mayors, and many business and labor leaders who came to believe these rumors believed that Japanese Americans would not remain loyal to the United States while at war with Japan and wanted all people of Japanese descent to be removed from the West Coast. Eventually, Roosevelt gave into their demand and signed an order allowing the War Department to declare any part of the United States to be a military zone and to remove anyone from that zone. As a result, all people of Japanese descent who lived in the West Coast were forced to sell their homes, businesses, and personal property and evacuate to internment camps. Since the U.S. was also at war with Italy and Germany during the time, Italian and German immigrants also faced discrimination. Many lost jobs because of curfews and were were subject to police searches, confiscation of fishing boats used to provide a source of income, forced relocation, and even internment. This was a major race issue during this period because, despite fears and rumors, no immigrant of these races had committed treason. In fact, Japanese Americans served as translators for the U.S. army during the war in the Pacific.

Another major example of the race issues that the United States dealt with during the war was the “zoot suit.” In Los Angeles, prejudice against Mexican Americans and the fear of juvenile crime became linked after rumors that zoot suiters (Mexican American teenagers) had attacked several sailors spread. Consequently, 2,500 soldiers and sailors stormed into Mexican American neighborhoods and attacked the teenagers, cutting their long hair and ripping off their zoot suits. Police forces did not intervene or stop this violence for several days, and the city of Los Angeles banned the zoot suit in response.

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