Looking Like the Enemy Book Read Discussion 2/19/14
Participants first became aware of the Japanese internment – as an adult, in college, very briefly in high
Underplaying, eliding historical events makes it easier to be “proud Americans.”
Why do we hear about some American history events (e.g. bombing of Pearl Harbor, Great Depression)
and not so much about others (e.g. Japanese internment camps)?
Book raised awareness about: destroying of culture; dividing loyalties; splitting self and sense of
Even though this series of events happened in the past, the impact is still embedded in our minds…antiAsian prejudices are still present.
At a meeting about the smoking on campus issue, an administrator said, “it’s those international
students!” and everyone else in the room (except the one Asian person present) seemed to confirm the
sentiment. This made the Asian individual very uncomfortable/awkward.
The internment came out of a half-century of anti-Asian prejudice. It didn’t just spring out of nowhere
or disappear into nowhere.
Prejudice continues here on campus…maybe beneath the surface…but felt more acutely by people of
color than by perhaps even noticed by whites.
There is still automatic doubt about the American identity of Asian American people.
Recommendations to DAC/eTeam:
Regarding smoking on campus discussion – if you identify a particular group as culprits (e.g.
“international students”) then make certain that the group is treated as a stakeholder and brought into
the decision making process.
Figure out how to make classes or curriculum that embeds and integrates the experiences of indigenous
peoples, women, union history, LGBTQ people a required part of curriculum for graduation.
Make it a requirement that upon hiring (faculty, staff administrators) new employees get undoing
institutional racism training.
Provide places/spaces where groups and/or individuals who don’t feel heard/feel silenced have a
voice/have the opportunity to express themselves on paper, online in a blog format, in a dedicated
room, etc. Make room for shy and/or quiet people.
Communicate with the Women’s Center about making that space a safe space for everyone.
Looking Like the Enemy Book Read Discussion 2/25/14
Every government has it’s own story about a war. It is important to listen to both sides, as the winners write the history,
and the other side is often not heard. Every country has a long sad and bad history, where oppression and human rights
violations have occurred.
The decision to intern the Japanese and not the Germans and Italians is based in the racist history of this country.
People from Korea shared the experience of Japanese oppression and violence against the Koreans in both Japan and Korea
over history.
This book reminds us of the importance of facing the history of racism and oppression in the US, which is a contrast to the
story that we tell ourselves about being a place of freedom and equality. Until the white people who primarily control
resources and power face the impact of historical racism so that we can make changes so that these things, such as what
happened in response to 9/11, don’t continue.
Look at how the systemic biases impact the students of color and the community at large on our campus.
It was wonderful to have the diversity of students at this session to share their stories and perspectives from the variety of
countries and experiences that the ESL students have shared with the group.
Good idea to have the books for discussions and understanding. Found some common feeling with others. Would like to
read together section by section to discuss the book, over time. Would like to have another time to talk about our own
feelings and experiences that relate to reading the book.
Looking Like the Enemy Book Read Discussion 3/3/14
Recognize that the discrimination and separating those who are “other” is still occurring, including harassment of Muslims,
people of color, immigrants who are undocumented, etc.
The pain and hurt is passed on and is still impacting the families today. Post traumatic stress is evident in how the families
responded with silence, and it has impacted families in an ongoing way, includes impacts of addiction, shame, lack of
keeping connections with culture and language, etc.
The message that only English should be spoken here happens in our country today, and even at our college at times.
The systemic racism is evident when you think about the difference in how Germans and Italians were treated during the
war. It is hard to imagine the immigrant families and their citizen children of the Germans and Italians in this country being
treated in the same way.
Make sure we have an annual event remembering the Japanese Internment.
Learning the history of the US from the eyes of the marginalized is important, such as Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of
the US. Bill Moyers work about the codes of racism today is also valuable resource.
We want to continue and expand the Beyond Inclusion work so more folks can understand systemic biases and how they
impact us, including the issue of folks speaking more than one language on our campus.
Keep the books from our book reads in one spot in the library so folks can easily find these resources to learn more about
diverse perspectives.
Discrimination tends to come out of fear, so it is important to approach the work of professional development that provides
for listening and learning by all.
Leadership Link is a district-wide professional development effort that is now developing a diversity component, so
hopefully all leadership people will be involved in such training down the line, to promote cultural competency to all,
including our NSCC LDI training. It would be good to keep expanding the Cultural Competency work with Ginlin Woo
(Training of Facilitators in Diversity and Inclusion – now summarized as DIF).
Goal is to create a welcoming environment for all to engage in this learning together.