A Bad Day at Black Rock America

We should be able to learn from history to create better immigration policy today rather than repeating past mistakes

There have been a growing number of reports [1][2][3][4] this week of creating lists of Americans and immigrants. I’m worried about the long term repercussions these acts will have on not only America’s future but that of the world at large. Though some of these reports contained slightly softer verbiage than Donald Trump’s original campaign statements almost a year to the day last year[5], I can’t help but think that his original statements were closer to his real intent.

Many have likely forgotten about the horrific black eye America already has as a result of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Why would we be contemplating thinking about going down this road a second time? Almost a year ago I wrote a short homage to my friend and WWII veteran Millard Kaufman, who I know would be vehemently against this idea. If you haven’t seen his Academy Award nominated film Bad Day at Black Rock, I recommend you pick it up soon–it’s held up incredibly well since 1955 and is still more than culturally relevant today.

In Memoriam: Millard Kaufman, WWII Veteran and Front for Dalton Trumbo

A crippled character played by Spence Tracy shows us by example how not to cave in to menacing bullies in the John Sturges 1955 MGM classic Bad Day at Black Rock written by Millard Kaufman.
A crippled character played by Spence Tracy shows us by example how not to cave in to menacing bullies in the John Sturges’ 1955 MGM classic Bad Day at Black Rock written by Millard Kaufman.

Even Comedy Central’s The Daily Show ran a snippet of the news with their thoughts:

 

For those who don’t think that senior leadership in America might bend the rules a tad, I also recommend reading my friend Henry James Korn’s reflection of the incident in which Eisenhower expelled him from Johns Hopkins University for a criticism of LBJ during the late 60’s: “Yes, Eisenhower Expelled Me from Johns Hopkins University.”

Yes, Eisenhower expelled me from Johns Hopkins University

In his article, Henry also includes a ten-minute War Relocation Agency propaganda film which is eerily similar to some of what is being proposed now.

Needless to say, much of this type of behavior is on the same incredibly slippery slope that Nazi Germany began on when they began registering Jews in the early part of the last century. When will be learn from the horrific mistakes of the past to do better in the future?

Footnotes

[1]
D. Lind, “Donald Trump’s proposed ‘Muslim registry,’ explained,” Vox, 16-Nov-2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/16/13649764/trump-muslim-register-database. [Accessed: 18-Nov-2016]
[2]
“Trump’s Muslim registry wouldn’t be illegal, constitutional law experts say,” POLITICO, 17-Nov-2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/donald-trump-muslim-registry-constitution-231527. [Accessed: 18-Nov-2016]
[3]
N. Muaddi, “The Bush-era Muslim registry failed. Yet the US could be trying it again,” CNN, 18-Nov-2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/18/politics/nseers-muslim-database-qa-trnd/. [Accessed: 18-Nov-2016]
[4]
M. Rosenberg and J. E. Ainsley, “Immigration hardliner says Trump team preparing plans for wall, mulling Muslim registry,” Reuters, 16-Nov-2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-immigration-idUSKBN13B05C. [Accessed: 18-Nov-2016]
[5]
“Donald Trump says he’d ‘Absolutely’ Require Muslims to Register,” New York Times, 20-Nov-2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/11/20/donald-trump-says-hed-absolutely-require-muslims-to-register/?_r=0. [Accessed: 18-Nov-2016] [Source]
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Author: Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

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