to Adam -
That quote is derivitive of Deitrich Bonhoeffer, a German minister, who was commenting on Nazi policies. He was executed by the SS in 1945. You may be able to find the exact quote on the web - try http://www.dbonhoeffer.org/. Very interesting man.
They came for the Jews,
But I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
They came for the Unionist,
But I did not speak out because I was not a Unionist.
They came for the Blacks,
But I did not speak out because I was not Black.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.
America is one of a few nations that is not based on race or creed. Rather, America is based on principles laid out in the Constitution, including the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, also known as the Bill of Rights. This is important for all Americans to remember, especially in times of crisis.
I think that it could happen again because many Americans still do not know the difference between the following dimensions of a person: nationality, race, and creed.
Nationality refers to the nation of a person's citizenship. Americans citizens, by birth or naturalization, vote and serve their country in times of war.
Race refers to the origin of a person's ancestors. There are Native Americans, European Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, etc.
Creed refers to a person's religious orientation. There are Agnostics (those who don't know if there is a god), Atheists (those who believe there is no god), Theists (those who believe in a god or gods, for example, Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists), and Pantheists (those who believe all roads that lead to god are good), etc..
I think that it would be helpful to have more exhibits educating children that Americans come in all colors and creeds.
The attorney general and other politicians have assured that incarceration and detainment will be implemented when necessary. There is no question that it is possible, and likely that racially profiled individuals will be singled out and arrested/detained/incarerated as deemed necessary by politicians and law enforcment.
The question of whether or not this could happen again is one of most compelling parts of this exhibit, especially in light of what has happened recently. One thing that you often hear from people who lived through World War II is that anyone younger cannot understand the climate in the country following the Pearl Harbor attack. Later generations cannot know the fear and nationalism felt by Americans, no matter what their race; and we can't relate to the system of disseminating information which existed at the time. Propaganda, both at home and abroad, was an incredibly powerful force during World War II, and one which our "freedom of information" journalistic climate in the 21st century could no longer support. These fears, played upon by the press and the government, created an atmosphere which has not been replicated, and which does not seem likely to occur again. For these reasons, I do not think that something as massive as internment of an ethnic group could happen now. Thankfully, we know that there is one group always on the lookout for such violations! However, the rush to indict an entire group for the perceived actions of a few has been demonstrated in the time since the September 11 attacks. We should remember that the Japanese Americans who fought to regain their rights, and have the injustices done to them recognized by the government and the public, were fighting to be sure that no one's rights are violated in any way similar to their own experiences. Discrimination which only stops short of internment is hardly an improvement. We need to constantly remember how important our own rights and freedoms are to us, and how little they mean if they are not guaranteed for everyone.