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by Olivia Salah

Montgomery College held an informative dialogue between Montgomery College President Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard and Neil Nakadate called “Through the Lens of Difference: Re-Narrating the Nation.” Nakadate is the author of the book Looking After Minidoka and also an English professor at Iowa State University. The dialogue event was focused on his book and his experience growing up as a Japanese American. Looking After Minidoka is a memoir filled with stories about different experiences of being a Japanese American during WWII. Many of his family members’ experiences are shared in this memoir. He shared that it took a long time before his family members could open to him about what it was like. There is a lot of emotional pain connected with living in the incarceration camps.

An important point Nakadate made sure to expand on was the fact that “incarceration” is a better word than “internment” when speaking about the camps because of how internment is related to the camps in Europe. His second reasoning was based on the conditions of the camps, explaining that it was more like incarceration. When researching these events, he found out much more than his family had ever told him. He explained that every Japanese American has a different experience and story. These camps affected each family differently.

I learned a lot about the Japanese American history from this dialogue. The incarceration camps are rarely talked about in today’s society. I will use what I learned today to be more socially aware of those around me. Hearing this talk was humbling and eye opening. It showed that American culture is widely diverse and it is important to know that. As a potential future business owner, I must take into account the many different cultures that exist in America. Target markets of businesses in America are not limited to one culture.

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