Tutorial 12 – Multiculturalism and the Wars

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21 Mar 2012
Department
Tutorial 12 Multiculturalism and the Wars
1. How does Takaki use examples of racial prejudice against African
Americans and Native Americans to show how Americans experienced the
war?
Personal experiences of people during the time period, not third person
Brings up examples of how the soldiers were rejecting and prejudiced
towards the African American soldiers
o Incident on the bus, train
Not one uniform perspective
Powerful people made segregation and prejudice institutional
Ira Hays: hero of Iwo Jima
o Even though he was a war hero, he was still a second class citizen
White man’s war: some natives like the Navajo didn’t want to help defend the
people who conquered their lands
o Some supportive: “the red soldier is tough”
o Condemned the Axis powers as an “unholy triangle”
Fighting not just for their country, but commitment to their own ethnic
identities
o Make democracy more multicultural, gives hope
Nation as a collection of people; all in it together for the larger struggle
Powerfully influenced by white, Protestant men for a very long time
o Large, conscious melting pot idea
o Way to earn the credit of being an American citizen
2. What important conflicts did the two speeches mention? How is American
nationalism constructed out of it?
Still the idea of the melting pot: creates a national identity
No mention of individual groups, all are “Americans”
Kennedy focused on international relations, Johnson on internal affairs
Popular culture plays a huge role (television, movies, newspapers, etc.)
America as an exceptional country, but minority groups may feel like JFK and
LBJ are overlooking them
American exceptionalism based on their newly achieved superpower status
And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask
what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, ask not
what American will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom
of man.”
Mass consumer culture
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