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The Response of the American Society Against Oppression

There were several responses form the American society towards the oppression. However, it was clear that oppression existed even before the World War 2. At that period oppression had a different dimension mainly focused on racism and growers in plantation. The blacks were discriminated against the distribution of national resources. They were not recognized in several spheres of the national grid. They could not participate in matters of importance such as elections. The leaders were never concerned with their plight. They sought to channel their issues through the legal means but that proved futile. This was however on a minimal scale. When the World War 2 began the United States took a more neutral ground.

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However matters were worsened after Japan bombed the pear harbor. This was unbelievable, both to the original American and the immigrants. Who acquired citizenship.More notable of that group was the Japanese. Most of the immigrants had opted to identify themselves fully with the American dream. They destroyed all their Japanese documents and the flags. (Wakatsuki and Houston 1972:16).The bombing however shocked all the American society including the immigrants. It led to Americans losing confidence in immigrants from Japan. They were regarded as spies and traitors.

The oral narratives began by stating how the security agents of United States moved quickly and arrested all the Japanese immigrants. They were accused of assisting the Japanese military in their logistics. One of those arrested included Jeans father KO who was accused of supplying oil to the Japanese submarines. (Foner 1998:45). He was imprisoned at the fort Lincoln near Bismark at Dakota. Later several arrests followed suit. A presidential executive order in 1942 led to all Japanese- Americans to be sent to internment camps such as those located in California.

The conditions in the camps were quite unbearable. The detainees were over crowded and faced miserable conditions. There was lack adequate food, dust storms, diarrheic, lack of privacy, foul toilets and annoying impersonal red tape. Those who were oppressed through such means were the dwellers at Oklahoma. The farmers on the other hand were faced with other problems of dust storms and alienation of land. They were greatly affected by the drought that forced them out of their farms. That pushed them to desperate measures such as looking for farm work in other states such as California(Foner1998:46).The farmers had to grapple with the problem of taxation. The crops yielded little for the tax to paid (babbs, 2006:3) Other American farmers were forced to sell of their cars for plots. The well to do families made life to be difficult on the poor ones they bought their land at throw away prices and rented back to them.(babbs,2006:4) Those conditions forced some of the citizens to confine themselves in small rooms. For instance Milt and Julian and their two girls shared a room with Mrs. Starwood, her three children and Frieda. This was to enable them meet their income. Indeed those conditions dehumanized them.

The blacks on the other hand had with government negligence of their plights. White supremacy had overridden in all the aspects of life. They were not integrated in the political social and economic arenas of the American society. It is these grievances that prompted the use of direct resistance to fight against such injustices. The forces that were used were either personal or in groups. In relation to individual response milt’s wife one of those affected by farm poverty wrote to a cousin to be sent clothes during the winter. However her husband responded by tearing the clothes and vowing not to use them (babbs2006:4).That was sufficient evidence that the poor resorted to destruction of the rich’s property at all costs. They were not willing to associate themselves with any commodity from the even their wealthy relatives. They expressed their anger by rejecting any form of assistance.

They proved to be hostile when ever confronted by the people who sympathized with their actions of denial of the gifts. In fact he went ahead and slapped the man they lived with for the claims of the discarded clothes. (Babbs 2006:5).The civil rights group were engaged in personal resistance to oppression. Medgar on his part as a civil rights activist resorted to be avenging for all the attacks against him. However one of those actions proved futile after it led to his death. The personal reactions were not effective overall. They led to members assembling to face the oppressive regime. That was applied by Dunne who decided to join their fellow workers after he realized that a unified community was the most formidable force in their hands.

They began their struggle to improve migrant workers conditions through collective protests. The demonstrations were sparked of by the imagination of the people being taken into crowded tents and found themselves bumping into beds and boxes and seated around an old table for meals coupled with the overflow of seats on beds with plates on their laps. Another factor that led to violent reactions was their shock upon their migration to California. The farmers found themselves abused.They were nicknamed oakies which portrayed them as marked for beatings and worse payments.Despite the existence of secret agents for the land owners, the workers boycotted their duties. They refused to report to the fields and well prepared to face the consequences. Men and women sat down around along the fields across the huge squire of cotton the fields that were suddenly deserted. That took place to the surprise of the land managers. Protests began with a commitment to a new beginning to the new Birmingham. The option of resistance took a larger scale when it involved all the victims. The civil rights groups opted to form resistant movement by use of children at the preliminary stages. (Walker1995:125) indicated how the street mass marches were formed by the children.

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The whites were confronted through the national attention that children created. Their emotions were provoked when they saw the children marching on the streets. During Medgars funeral, the civil rights activists provoked people’s hatred of the whites. Violence sparked out unexpectedly and later spread to all other parts the country especially in areas where the blacks resided. The rights groups were angered by the death of their colleague.They fought with police who were brought up to quell the violence. This led to several death, injuries and arrests. The immigrants of Japanese descent were victims of circumstances. When the conditions became unbearable to all the detainees, they organized for camp riots amongst themselves. That commotion created room for escape for some of the detainees. The authorities moved first and became more human in dealing with them.

A Christmas tree was organized for them. There were different reactions in some instances. In response to oppression of the whites the Japanese migrants for instance they took a moderate method of reaction that was exhibited in several forms since they expected a counter- reaction from their oppressors. The civil group just like other oppressed entities also used the non- violent means of addressing their grievances. They sought to attract the media. They were actively engaged in voter registration in order for them to elect the person of their choice. They fronted for election of candidates who were more democratic for whites and blacks. They used the church and other religious based motivation to foster their desires. The non violent means was widely used by each of the groups. However they were taken for granted by their oppressors. This bore them less fruits as their conditions soured. That made all of them to opt for a more proactive ways. The responses of those victims were categorized into passive and active. These were most effective ways of addressing their a result of them the non violent means, the Japanese migrants for instance emerged victorious. In all the troubles that came their way they maintained hope and perseverance.

For instance they believed that the end of the dust storm would lead to things getting better. They also had hope that they start farming and lead their agricultural lives. The Japanese trusted that the war would end and they would still be regarded as American citizens entitled to all the national benefits. Another approach taken was the resignation by members who could not cope with the precarious situation that prevailed. There were doctors quite working in the camps. They lacked medical facilities to handle the diseases that spread rapidly among those who lived in the camps.

The oppressed had empathy for themselves. They assisted one another in solving the problems they faced such as funeral. They were engaged in pulling of their resources. They shared houses and rooms. They stayed together as a unit. They treasured each other and wanted not to be separated at all. Eventually they managed to achieve their freedom to some extent. The Japanese for instance were able to escape from the camps and began a new life.The civil rights group received the recognition they yearned for. The farmers were able to meet their economic needs.


Babbs S and Lawrence, R (2006) Oklahoma: university of Oklahoma.

Foner, E (1998) The Story of American Freedom. New York; Norton.

Wakatsuki, j and Houston j (eds)(1972)Farewell to Manzar 3rd edition.US:Laurel leaf.

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Walker (1995) some body is calling my name. New York: Judson press.

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