On November 28, the Los Angeles Times published an article in its travel section titled “Our national parks can also be reminders of America’s history of race and civil rights”. In essence, the story, written by Carolina A. Miranda, covered national parks that commemorate America’s history, racial ties and civil rights.
Readers, as in most cases, have something to say.
Nearly two weeks later, the LA Times published three reader responses in its “Letters to the Editor” column — two of which instantly irked many Asian-Americans.
Below are some excerpts:
“The interned Japanese were housed, fed, protected and cared for. Many who now complain would not even be alive if the internment had not been done.” – Steve Hawes, Sunland
“War is evil, but I would have much rather been interned by the U.S. in California than by the Japanese in their captured lands.” – Dick Venn
In response to these letters, Korean-American Phil Yu, who writes as Angry Asian Man, wrote:
“There is no other side of this history. The wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans is widely and officially acknowledged as one of the most egregious civil rights violations in our nation’s history… This is simply not up for debate, and any arguments otherwise, like these bullshit letters, are revisionist noise.”
“Steve and Dick can believe whatever fucked up crackpot history they want, but a major metropolitan newspaper giving a platform to their whackshit arguments is dangerous and, frankly, irresponsible.”
— LA Daily Mirror (@LATdailymirror) December 11, 2016
Koji Steven Sakai, the Japanese American National Museum’s former vice president of programming, is also displeased. He said (via Take Two):
“Slaves were also housed and fed, but nobody would argue that slavery was a good thing.”
Sakai shared further:
“The Japanese-Americans’ civil rights were taken away from them, they lost everything. Including my family: they lost their house, they lost their property and they lost many years of their lives. For a lot of Japanese-Americans, we righted a historic wrong, and now we’re retrying these moments in history.”
It did not take long before LA Times editor-in-chief and publisher Davan Maharaj determined the letters should not have been published, saying they did not meet editorial standards for “civil, fact-based discourse.”