New York, NY, August 6, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) unveiled a new online curriculum that teaches students about the dangers of stereotyping, prejudice and racial profiling, and how those fears led the United States government to intern more than 120,000 people from the Japanese-American community during World War II.
"Voices of Japanese-American Internees" is an ADL Curriculum Connections lesson for high school students which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, a law that provided an official government apology for the grave injustices committed against Japanese-American citizens and legal residents during World War II.
"This new curriculum teaches important lessons about the dangers of prejudice and racial profiling, and how they can lead to disastrous consequences," said Ed S. Alster, ADL's Director of Education. "These lessons are particularly important today, in the post 9/11 world, as our country faces the difficult task of balancing national security needs with the protection and preservation of individual rights and liberties. The best way to avoid repeating history is to study and learn from it."
The "Voices of Japanese-American Internees" curriculum includes video, oral and written testimonies of Japanese-American internees who discuss the discrimination they faced, and the impact that the Civil Liberties Act had on their lives. Students will also learn about the Act itself, and discuss whether it was a sufficient remedy for the mistreatment.
The League also prepared a backgrounder, "Understanding the Civil Liberties Act of 1988," which provides a more detailed account of the history surrounding discrimination against Japanese-Americans, legal challenges to internment, and the role ADL played in securing the enactment of the Civil Liberties Act itself – in an effort to ensure that this dark chapter in U.S. history never be forgotten nor repeated.
Curriculum Connections is a collection of original lesson plans and resources that help elementary, middle and high school educators integrate multicultural, anti-bias, and social justice themes into their curricula. Each issue is organized around a particular topic or theme and is distributed via e-mail three to four times per school year.