Saturday, January 24, 2009

Questions of Social Justice: Civil Liberties

It's time for another exciting episode of "May I have a question or two?"

I'm teaching a course using five popular culture films that deal with issues of social justice. I need some stimulating discussion questions.
It doesn't matter whether or not you've seen the movie.
The discussion should focus on the broad issue(s).

The next film is Come See the Paradise
Come See the Paradise is a fact-based 1990 film directed by Alan Parker, starring Dennis Quaid and Tamlyn Tomita. Set before and during World War II, the film depicts the treatment of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the subsequent loss of civil liberties within the framework of a love story.

To start you off, I'll offer the most obvious question (I'm lazy like that):
Was the internment of Japanese-Americans justified?

Your turn!

8 comments:

Rachel said...

Were the Japanese internments racially motivated?
Who benefited most from the Japanese internments?
Why were Italians and Germans not interred?
Why were U.S.citizens with only 1/8th Japanese blood considered eligible for internment?

stephanie (bad mom) said...

What would you have done if faced with this situation?

Are there any more modern instances of similar behavior?

What, if anything, should the US government do in the form of any apology to Japanese people?

Oh I'm so excited for your class! I should do this more often for my lessons...

Fantastic Forrest said...

We're on a roll. I knew I could count on my friends! Thanks, Rachel and Stephanie.

Other readers? Don't be shy!

Shana said...

How do you think people would respond to a similar government edict today? How do you think the reactions would vary amongst various age groups, socioeconomic groups and political affiliations?

Not having seen the movie, is the love story interracial? If so, that opens up a whole host of discussion about the differences in societal acceptance then v. now with regard to an American/Japanese relationship.

Fantastic Forrest said...

Thanks, Shana. This is one I've been struggling to phrase. I really appreciate you taking the time to think about it.

The love story is interracial - Dennis Quaid's character falls in love with a Japanese-American girl.

bushtool said...

1. What conditions must be met to justify restricting the freedom of individuals within the United States when you are engaged in armed conflict with individuals of the same descent or nationality in a foreign country?

2. Assuming there are conditions that warrant internment of individuals within the US during an armed conflict, how do you determine that an individual qualifies? For example, if we were at war with kenya, would Obama qualify for internment since his father was Kenyan but his mother was Kansan?

Fantastic Forrest said...

bushtool - Thanks for some thought-provoking and timely questions. Hope you'll go to the other posts as well. I really like tying the films into current day politics.

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