Friday, April 01, 2005

Hero or victim?

The victim oif the worst Supreme Court decision in the last 148 years has died. No, not Al Gore, but Fred Korematsu, whose case before the Court confirmed the constitutionality of interning the entire Japanese population of the West Coast during World War II. Here's a fact I didn't know about Fred, that makes his elevation to a symbol of racial pride all the more interesting:
Korematsu had undergone plastic surgery in an effort to disguise his Asian features and had altered his draft registration card, listing his name as Clyde Sarah and his background as Spanish-Hawaiian. He hoped that with his altered appearance and identity he could avoid ostracism when he married his girlfriend, who had an Italian background.
Contrary to the nostrums of identity politics, you don't have to take pride in your racial category to fight being discriminated against on the basis of it. The only sense in which Fred Korematsu was a hero is that he handled his victimhood with dignity.

Read the obituary, and then read today's defenders of the decision to intern the entire Japense-American population such as Daniel Pipes and Michelle Malkin. We report; you decide.

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