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‘FDR was the paranoid, xenophobic, and racist one’: Professor flamed after claiming FDR didn’t have to deal with the same xenophobia Biden does

The internet is reminding him of Japanese internment camps.

 

Siobhan Ball

Internet Culture

Published Apr 29, 2021   Updated May 3, 2021, 10:50 am CDT

Analysis

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Thanks to an ill-judged tweet from Berkeley Professor Robert Reich, in which he appeared to be claiming that Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency was free of xenophobia, paranoia, and racism, “Japanese Americans” wound up trending on Twitter this week as people used the World War 2-era internment camps to highlight just how wrong Reich’s assertion was.

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"The guy who put Japanese-Americans in camps was the paranoid, xenophobic, racist." Embedded tweet by Reich: Biden could be as transformative a president as FDR. But FDR didn't have to contend with a paranoid, xenophobic, racist opposition drenched in lies and extremist propaganda from right wing media.
@karol/Twitter

Though Reich’s tweet has since been deleted people are still discussing the historical revisionism and racism necessary to ignore the atrocities committed against Japanese Americans in order to make such a claim. His tweet received 13,200 likes amid high engagement before going offline.

A reminder that many school curriculums (which are approved by your local school board) do not teach about the Japanese internment camps that were ordered by FDR.
@taegyshi/Twitter
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In fact, FDR never found himself arguing against the paranoid, racist, xenophobes who wanted to imprison Japanese Americans in camps.
@taegyshi/Twitter
That’s because FDR *was* the paranoid, xenophobic, racist one.  ✅ Japanese internment ✅ Denied asylum for European Jews ✅ Sterilization of mentally handicapped women https://twitter.com/rbreich/status/1387590505039482884
@strxmxn/Twitter

Some are using this as an opportunity to educate the public on what happened to the thousands of Americans of Japanese descent during the second world war, and the racist reasoning behind it.

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"https://twitter.com/USAS_WW1/status/1387790471339167746" a map of the United States showing where the camps were located next to a black and white photograph of FDR seated by a microphone
@USAS_WW1/Twitter
That's simply wrong. Of the 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were interned, 2/3 were US Born Citizens.  The Ringle Report, by Navy Intelligence, was intentionally suppressed by the Solicitor General, and it showed Japanese-Americans were not a national security threat.
@USAS_WW1/Twitter
and why are there people in my replies saying that japanese americans need to get over it, like??? some of my family won’t even talk about it NOW because of how it fucked with them
@mademoisellerat/Twitter
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Many Japanese Americans wanted to express their unhappiness and discomfort over the fact that the only time Japanese Americans are ever trending or talked about seems to be when people want to bring up the internment camps. There’s a lot more to Japanese American identity, history, and culture than this, something the community would like to see more of being discussed in the public eye.

in this day of our Lord 2021, another reminder that 1) they're called incarceration camps, not internment camps, and 2) we are still apparently not yet at a place where Japanese Americans can trend for any reason other than our greatest collective trauma
@jaminlin/Twitter
"Japanese Americans" is trending and of course its about internment camps. I feel like when it comes to history, Japanese Americans are nothing but a talking point to touch on America's racism and xenophobia. We  existed before internment and we have been here since.
@jaminlin/Twitter
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why is that whenever there is a conversation about Japanese Americans it is only to talk about how they were put in camps ? we existed before and after then too yknow.. why do u only like talking abt us as ammunition in politics ? why do u ignore us when we ask for help ?
@yunawaltz/Twitter

Historical revisionism is an intellectually dishonest and harmful approach, and using it in an attempt to make a contemporary political figure look better as Reich was doing is particularly damaging. Activists have been warning since President Joe Biden’s election that the relief of no longer having to contend with a Trump presidency would encourage many liberals to step back and stop pushing for change on matters like the detention camps at the border. Reich’s tweet seems like a perfect example of this, blending a desire to excuse Biden with an ahistorical take that reinforces racist attitudes that are harming Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) right now.

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"Save America by not Repeating History! Japanese Americans suffered discrimination for decades, don't make this the case for new Immigrants... Say No to Concentration Camps...  #DemVoice1" photograph of a soldier leaning down to speak to latino children by the wall
@Rachelmoor29/Twitter

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*First Published: Apr 29, 2021, 5:34 pm CDT