This Mexican American Teenager Spent Years in a Japanese Internment Camp—On PurposeBreaking News
tags: World War II, WWII, Internment Camps, Mexican American, Japanese Internment Camps
The station was filled with worried faces and hushed voices. Soon, those who gathered there would leave their lives and livelihoods behind as prisoners of the internment camps where over 110,000 people of Japanese descent—most American citizens—would be incarcerated for the duration of World War II.They didn’t want to leave, but they had been ordered to go.
Except for Ralph Lazo, that is. The Mexican American teen wasn’t supposed to be at the station at all, but had volunteered to go. The person who took down his information in early 1942 had seen his brown skin and assumed he was Japanese, too. “They didn’t ask,” he told the Los Angeles Times later. “Being brown has its advantages.”
Lazo was about to become the only known person of non-Japanese ancestry who volunteered to live in an internment camp. What some saw as a years-long ruse or proof he sympathized with the enemy in World War II, he saw as an act of solidarity.
comments powered by Disqus
- Josh Hawley Earns F in Early American History
- Does Germany's Holocaust Education Give Cover to Nativism?
- "Car Brain" Has Long Normalized Carnage on the Roads
- Hawley's Use of Fake Patrick Henry Quote a Revealing Error
- Health Researchers Show Segregation 100 Years Ago Harmed Black Health, and Effects Continue Today
- Nelson Lichtenstein on a Half Century of Labor History
- Can America Handle a 250th Anniversary?
- New Research Shows British Industrialization Drew Ironworking Methods from Colonized and Enslaved Jamaicans
- The American Revolution Remains a Hotly Contested Symbolic Field
- Untangling Fact and Fiction in the Story of a Nazi-Era Brothel