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Analysis: Interpretation at Manzanar NHS gives oversimplified picture of racism’s role in internment

Revisionist history once was associated with Soviet Russia, where leaders repeatedly erased the names of disfavored revolutionaries like Trotsky and Kamenev from the nation’s collective memory and airbrushed rivals from old photos. Today it is increasingly prevalent in the United States, whether it’s students agitating for the removal of Woodrow Wilson’s name from buildings at Prince­ton University in the name of racial justice or the American Library Association stripping the name of Laura Ingalls Wilder from a literary award because she failed to anticipate 21st-century standards of inclusiveness in her attitudes about Native Americans.

One organization you might expect to dispense unadulterated history is the National Park Service, but its “interpreters” readily inject p.c. bias. Certainly this is the case at the Manzanar National Historic Site in California’s Eastern Sierra. I visited Manzanar the day after the Supreme Court’s Trump v. Hawaii ruling that found the executive branch had the authority to limit travel from countries posing a national security risk. California’s papers were full of angry editorials comparing the decision to Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 ruling that said the forced internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II did not violate the Constitution. Largely unmentioned was Korematsu’s companion case, Ex parte Endo, which ordered the immediate release of all Japanese-Americans loyal to the United States.


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