“It Must be Odd to be a Minority”: Multiracial Japanese Americans, Racial Segregation, and the U.S. Empire
Russ, Hannah Fumiko
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Multiracial Japanese families posed a problem for the U.S. government during the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The Mixed Marriage policy was an attempt to reconcile the question: Who did the U.S. government and the Japanese American community consider Japanese? Japanese Americans emigrated with the transpacific identity of both Japanese and American. In contrast, the U.S. government rejected the possibility of dual identities by arguing that racial identity was based on biology alone. The existence of mixed race individuals in Japanese mass incarceration camps upset the U.S.’s racial logic that emphasized segregator biology over the possibility of cultural assimilation. The Mixed Marriage policy built upon segregation policies to determine who could integrate into the American identity. Those who passed the appeal process of the Mixed Marriage policy were welcomed back into the categories of Japanese and American. These individuals became symbols for the U.S. government to project an image of benevolence and racial tolerance in the post-war empire.