Chapter

Report on Redress

Eric K. Yamamoto and Liann Ebesugawa

in The Handbook of Reparations

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199291922
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603716 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199291926.003.0008
Report on Redress

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How does a country repair its harm to a vulnerable minority targeted during times of national fear because of race? How did the United States redress its then popular yet unconstitutional WWII incarceration of 120,000 innocent Japanese Americans in desolate barbed wire prisons without charges, hearings, or bona fide evidence of military necessity? In response to a Congressional inquiry, political lobbying, and lawsuits, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 directed the President to apologize and authorized over one billion dollars in reparations. Congress also created a fund to educate the public about the government’s false assertion of “national security” to restrict civil liberties. Some considered redress a tremendous victory — rewriting history and personal healing. Others questioned reparations for one U.S. group but not others. Japanese American Redress served as a catalyst for reparations movements worldwide. This paper examines its genesis, legal implementation, and apparent effects. It also explores wide-ranging political mobilization and social meanings of redress and “unfinished business”. Reparations cannot be measured by laws alone. Diverse communities must engage contested questions of history, justice, and belonging. Reparations claims face often unforeseen benefits and limitations. The paper concludes with these “lessons learned” to date.

Keywords: United States; World War II; Japanese Americans; Civil Liberties Act; reparations movements

Chapter.  11003 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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