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Never again is now : parallels between Japanese American incarceration and Trump's Muslim Ban in the construction of the ideal citizen
May 8, 2019
Department or Program
This project analyzes an amicus curiae brief submitted by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) on behalf of the respondents in Trump’s Muslim Ban as a form of cross-community solidarity. The brief draws the historical parallels between the Ban, Korematsu v. the United States, and Japanese American Incarceration. In my critique of the brief as vernacular discourse, I perform a comprehensive historical analysis of the JACL’s controversial role during the Incarceration. This historical analysis further informs how the JACL constructs Japanese Americans and those subject to Trump’s Ban in the brief as ideal citizens. This echoes its assimilationist campaign from the 1940s. I argue that the brief is a form of vernacular discourse that reinforces hegemonic discourses from the United States government and in many capacities, the JACL serves as an extension of state power.