Table Topics questions are meant to stimulate family and classroom discussion.
Use the questions below after reading,"Abundant dreams diverted"
Japanese immigrants made a life in the new country against difficult odds, working hard to farm the area and establish businesses. The racism they encountered could be overt, like that of the Anti-Japanese League, or more subtle as in the Alien Land Law, which did not allow immigrants to buy or even rent property. How successful was the Japanese community in combating racism? In retaining their culture? In blending into mainstream society?
- America was shocked by the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Overnight, life changed for the Japanese-American community. Was there any justification for the suspicion with which Japanese-Americans were regarded? How did the Japanese community attempt to show its loyalty to America?
- Japanese-Americans lost so much during internment--from land, homes and businesses to the opportunity to graduate or compete for a championship. In 1988, the Civil Liberties Act provided reparations payment of $20,000 to each surviving internee and acknowledged the injustice of internment policy. How do you feel about this? Is it too little too late or a questionable precedence to set? Should the ancestors of other minorities like African-Americans and Native Americans collect damages from the federal government for wrongs suffered? Is there any real or fair way to atone for past wrongs?
- Though some Seattleites came to their defense, much of the community seemed hostile or indifferent to the plight of Japanese-Americans. The Japanese themselves were, with some exceptions, quiet in the face of their terrible misfortune. Why was this so? Could something like internment happen today, with or without the extreme conditions of war?
- Immigration policy is a complex issue. America has long been a destination for immigrants from around the world, attracted by political freedom and economic opportunity. At different times, America has limited or prohibited immigration by people of particular nationalities. Do you think this is necessary or unfair? What are some of the issues behind immigration control? Should America offer unlimited immigration? Why or why not? Should legal immigrants that are not yet citizens benefit from American social assistance, like welfare, health care and schooling? What about illegal immigrants?
- Japanese immigrants encouraged their children to retain their heritage and attend Japanese language schools. What are some advantages of speaking more than one language? Should English be the 'official' language shared in common or should our society make more effort to become bi- or multi-lingual? How does a bi-lingual society such as Canada's differ from our own?
Copyright © 1996 The Seattle Times Company