Omission


CAR Diary - Takaki Preface
1/27/2015
Mr. Magbual

Omission
“In my answer, I said, ‘Jane, both of us have read E.D. Hirsh’s book Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know.’ This was a best seller at the time, and Jane quickly nodded. ‘Well, In the back of the book, there’s a long list of terms that every American should know, and this list includes Ellis Island but it omits Angel Island. Ellis Island was the entry point for European immigrants, and Angel Island was the location of the immigration station for ‘strangers from a different shore’ for Chinese and Japanese immigrants.’” (Takaki, p.xi)
Huge amount of Europeans were immigrated in the United States, Ellis Island. Similarly, huge amount of Chinese and Japanese were immigrated in the United States, Angel Island. Although Europeans and Asians were immigrated in the US for the same reason to work for a better opportunity, they were recognized differently. European immigrants from Ellis Island were recognized as a history but Asian immigrants from Angel Island were recognized as a mystery. As a history, we have learned about the arrival of white Europeans to Ellis Island in detail in the bestselling book, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. As a mystery, arrival of Asians to Angel Island was omitted in the bestselling book. Educated writer, E.D. Hirsch from the book Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, views “American” as “white” or “European” and omitting many other groups around the world including Asian American. If Ellis Island is part of the history we should learn from that book, Angel Island should be another part of history that Hirsch should not omit. That kind of omission forces the history of Asian Americans to become the mystery of strangers in the United States.
As I remember, I was in the US history class, taught by white teacher when I was in high school. I’ve never realized about what kind of history I’ve learned until I read about the omission of Angel Island by educated author, Hirsch, in his best selling book, according to Takaki. My high school US history teacher did teach us about Ellis Island and Europeans via presentation slideshows and documentary videos. Although he taught us about the immigrants in Ellis Island, he never taught us about Asian immigrants in Angel Island. It’s a shame that he didn’t teach us about bay area’s Asian history of Angel Island where school also located in bay area. I am pretty sure that I’ve never learned about any Asian American history such as settlement of Saint Malo, gold rush or Angel Island when I was in high school, US history class. That omission of the Asian American history should stop. Instead of omitting Asian American history, I think we should learn about it in K-12 because it is one of the histories of the United States.
Sacrifices
“By serving in the U.S. military during World War 2, Asian Americans shared what Lincoln called ‘the mystic chords of memory’ stretching from battlefield to patriot graves. In a letter written from the battlefront, a Japanese-American soldier explained to his family why he was ready to die for his country: ‘By virtue of the Japanese attack on our nation, we as American citizens of Japanese ancestry have been mercilessly flogged with criticism and accusations. But I’m not going to take it sitting down! I may not be able to come back. But that matters little. My family and friends – they are the ones who will be able to back their arguments with facts … In fact, it is better that we are sent to the front and that a few of us do not return, for the testimony will be stronger in favor of the folks back home.’ Many Japanese - American soldiers had left behind families unjustly evacuated and incarcerated in internment camps. Altogether, 33,000 Nisei served in the military; many of them did not ‘come back’ to America. All of them had earned the right, through bloody sacrifices in defense of our democracy, to call upon their nation to rededicate itself to its founding principle of equality.” (Takaki, p.xiv)
In the history of World War 2, white American’s sacrifices were presented and taught, but not Asian American’s sacrifices for their country, United States. The history