History Is Repeating Itself With Attitudes Towards Asian-Americans

Sep 7, 2021

Outside of his role in Star Trek, George Takei is known for his narratives and talks about Japanese internment. In a recent interview Takei talks about how history may be repeating itself.

“I've spoken in Japan, and at both places, they never knew such a thing happened in the United States, to American citizens of Japanese ancestry. Innocent, we had nothing to do with it. And yet, the country was slipped up by war hysteria,” Takei said.  

This hysteria, he said, stems from the fact that Japanese Americans look like the people that bombed Pearl Harbor. The experiences of Japanese Americans at the time of World War Two, he said, are comparable to the attitude people have had towards Asian Americans due to the pandemic. 

“We were spat on and assaulted. Our homes, businesses, cars were graffitied. The government came down with a curfew," said Takei. "We were imprisoned in our homes from 8pm to 6am in the morning, and they froze our bank accounts, our life savings were taken from us.”

Takei said that we learn slowly when it comes to repeating history. He gives an example about when Donald Trump introduced a Muslim travel ban. 

“His rationale was all Muslims are potential terrorists, and so we need to ban them. But some people had learned the lessons from the 1940s, Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general, said, I will not defend this executive order,” said Takei. 

Takei said its important to remember the lesions from history, especially in a democratic society.