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Michelle Malkin’s impact on the island

September 4th, 2004 · 8 Comments

I haven’t kept up with the debate concerning Michelle Malkin and her book In Defense of Internment. However, while reading the local papers I noticed that her opinions seem to be affecting the schools on Bainbridge Island, the first place where Japanese-Americans were evacuated under Executive Order #9066. From the Bremerton Sun Japanese internment curriculum under fire:

A 62-year-old debate about Japanese internment could result in a curriculum shift in Bainbridge Island schools.

A special social studies program for Sakai Intermediate School sixth-graders called “Leaving Our Island” is missing context and rises to the level of “propaganda,” some parents say.

Their complaints will result in changes to the curriculum, but the class won’t back away from its central idea that Japanese-American internment was a mistake.

The internment of Japanese-Americans, about two-thirds of whom were born in the United States, has generally become regarded as a U.S. overreaction to wartime hysteria, but there are notable dissenters from that belief. Newspaper columnist Michelle Malkin recently wrote “In Defense of Internment,” a book that collects some of the reasons the internment decision was made.

Today I decided perhaps I should read Malkin’s book. I put a hold at the library. I am #8 in the county. In comparison, I was #88 when I tried to reserve David Guterson’s book, soon after its publication last fall. Living here, where the internment has been incorporated into our identity and shaped the character of our community, I feel I must read Malkin’s book and see what she says for myself.

Tags: books

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bob V // Sep 4, 2004 at 12:05 pm

    Ansel Adams documented the internment in photographs that you can view here:

    He obviously seems opposed since he titled the collection “Suffering Under a Great Injustice.”

  • 2 John D // Sep 4, 2004 at 7:52 pm

    See http://tinyurl.com/4tpph

    The book is a despicable fraud IMHO.

  • 3 Julie // Sep 5, 2004 at 1:34 am

    Thanks, Bob. I have seen some of Ansel Adam’s photographs. They were on display at the island museum when I was there once.

    I’m not that excited about reading the book, but I figure if it is impacting our community, culture, education and identity here, then I want to know.

  • 4 rick // Sep 5, 2004 at 1:34 pm

    I haven’t read Malkn’s (sp?) book, but after reading her various editorials over the years, I found that I rarely agreed with her, and I found her writings more annoying than informative. I mean, its good to question things, but she’s way over the top. I suspect that she likes to push buttons to keep the “right” inflamed.

    As for the recent ruckus over the school district curriculum – check out the history of the person raising the complaints. i’ve known people on the textbook and curriculum review committees over the years, and she’s no stranger to them. (Personally, I think she’s on a “mission from god” or something and I thus don’t take her very seriously, but then I rarely take anyone like that seriously since I don’t have to!) She’s expressed her opinions on the subject, as she has a right to, but in this case I think the majority of people with experience on the curriculum disagree with her.

    If you’re interested, I have a copy of an Adam’s book on Manzanar, replicating many of the prints at the museum.

  • 5 rick // Sep 5, 2004 at 9:56 pm

    me again – i just went through the material criticizing the book posted at the tinyurl above – and it certainly seems like Malken is up to her usual tricks. I guess I’m going to have to rely upon ‘secondary’ sources here, plus past experience with the primary source herself.

    Frankly, its hard to second-guess any decisions made in the past, without being fully immersed in the historical “context”. But to try to use such a questionable policy as the internment as justification for racial profiling today just seems to take incredible gall. (Maybe she’s pushing the “Big Lie” theory?)
    This certainly helps solidify my opinions of the person who started questioning the curriculum as well.

    One thing I might add: in the comments about where to remove people from first – BI shows up not only because its across the channel from the ship yard, but also because the govt’s listening post, code school and crypto people were based here. (That’s what used to be at Fort Ward – most traces of it gone now – but the code school is now some high-end residence, the “parade ground” had a huge rhomboid antenna that got sold off in the 1970’s, and there’s at least one house down there with the equivalent of a Faraday cage in the basement.)
    Its been awhile since I’ve read “The Puzzle Palace” but I think they did the decrypts of Magic msgs regarding Pearl Harbor here.

  • 6 rick // Sep 6, 2004 at 2:12 pm

    i did a little checking in the light of day, and given that this story made the Seattle Times today – I figured I better retract something I said last night. What I need to correct was this: the person filing the complaints with the District was not the same person I was thinking of – I know nothing of this person’s history with the various review committee(s).
    She may be just a concerned parent who’s fallen for Malken’s fallacies, or she may have her own political agenda.
    (And if so, she’ll have a field day when her daughter gets to high school because they teach real history here and those folks don’t usually like real history when it comes to the US.)
    I’m sorry, but I find it rather difficult to take anything Malken writes seriously.

  • 7 rick // Sep 7, 2004 at 9:51 pm

    well, i noticed that the Seattle PI has an editorial on this subject, in case anyone else is following along…

  • 8 Michelle Malkin // Jan 19, 2005 at 4:31 am


    The controversy about how Japanese internment should be taught continued last week on Bainbridge Island, Wash.: New and improved? Not everyone thought so as a revised curriculum for sixth-graders on Japanese internment was presented Thursday to the Bai…