Some lawmakers and members of the media have compared the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the United States to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Both incidents were egregious violations of U.S. national security that resulted in a heavy loss of life, triggering understandable outrage and anger among the American public.
Prominent lawmakers, however, including former Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, have cautioned citizens to avoid the mistakes of the past when the racism and paranoia that emerged after Pearl Harbor led to the illegal internment of Japanese Americans.
The following articles and activities will help students understand the injustice and dangers of scapegoating an entire group of people during a national crisis.
- "Home Was a Horse Stall," a story about the internment of a Japanese family during World War II.
- "Tolerance in Times of Trial" is part of the Public Broadcasting System's classroom resource page for its "America Responds" terrorism coverage. The activity looks at how the propaganda against nationalities and races produced by wars or conflicts creates a legacy of discrimination.