Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Korematsu: the other side of the story

In these sad days, everybody knows about Korematsu v. United States. Roundly criticized, even by Justice Scalia, as a phenomenally wrong decision, its half-life pulses on among those like Michelle Malkin who would encourage ethnic profiling today. (Here's what Mr. Korematsu had to say to her.)

Eric Muller, who has been engaged in this debate for a good while now, gave the keynote address last week at the annual Northern California Time of Remembrance. The creed of this group, which gathers each year on the date of FDR's executive order that began the Japanese removal, is that "Justice is a matter of continuing education."

Eric's talk effectively participates in this continuing education, reminding us that though the government won Korematsu, in many contemporaneous cases its arguments faltered. At the same time, he reminds us that historical memory itself is forged out of conflict and contestation. Then and now, "what does power want us to forget?" he asks.

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