Whitewashing: A Distortion (An Introduction)

Whitewash:

a: to gloss over or cover up (such as vices or crimes)

bto exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data

This is the definition provided by Merriam-Webster and is the most suitable definition for this article.

       White-washing is not a racially charged term despite its recent re-introduction with respect to African-American history. The Black Panthers were considered a radical group that was characterized by its militant structure. They were accused of anti-black racism and yes, there were undoubtedly many members who believed in racial segregation for the purpose of a Black state. There were several groups and factions that had much larger roles in the Civil Rights Movement than classical historians afford them in history, and this can lead to a loss of context when addressing precedents for future decisions. To be fair, one cannot be certain of the exact range of a variable especially in history, but to disregard a variable by deeming it negligible can be a grave misgiving when considering the big picture.

        As a student raised in the American educational system, I understand that an introduction is more likely to be superficial as it is to being broad. As we advance our state education, we receive more in-depth teachings on particular subjects. I cannot say the same for history. In elementary, we learned very briefly about the Age of Exploration and The American Revolution. Junior high/ middle school saw vapid discussions on the American Civil War and lesser engagement on the Civil Rights Movement, depending on the demographics of one’s state. High school, the age at which we are to be developing our critical thinking, we spoke only of America’s interaction with the rest of the world. I did the advanced route for the latter half of middle school and for all of high school so my own education in history is steeped in reading the actual documents (agreements, declarations of war, propaganda, etc.) and of course understanding the context in which the documents were written as opposed to receiving only a blurb that I’m expected to memorize. This method of investigative learning is something that the College Board (the national authority on US college entrance exams) wanted to further while I was still in high school. There, of course, was a push-back because the short-list of the Advanced Placement United States History course treated Presidents Lyndon Baines Johnson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt more favorably than Ronald Reagan. For Ronald Reagan to receive less than honorable mentions without any respect to his being a Republican icon, seems suspiciously like an attack against conservatism. So the ensuing arguments against the short-list was that not only was there political bias but conservatives feared that American children would be less patriotic as a result. 

++++++Such an assertion makes the debate politically charged when it really is not a political debate. The reason why previous classes were taught the US could not err and to have an unflagging sense of patriotism was because the sense of nationalism was very fragile. There was context to why older generations had to believe that America was the greatest. That is to say: I give my kin the benefit of the doubt and “discovering” that a leader used to be much more radical justifies the behavior of my kin and therefore invalidates this person as part of a movement (and that movement itself for carrying them as a symbol). Why whitewash ethnic leaders? Yes, the same is done to white leaders but their crimes or misgivings are simply seen as a byproduct of circumstances whereas their general message is romanticized as being ahead of its times or as brilliantly infallible as the ultimate truth.

++++++There was the demonization of freethinkers, McCarthyism, and public dissension about the wars. It’s not to say that I myself am a proud Reagan-ite, but more that history always has undertones: classical, revisionist, and neo-revisionist. Recent history is not impervious to scrutiny. We must learn from history. The tail-end of the Cold War figures must admit the actual efficiency of their policies, the achievements and the casualties. That is what the College Board is proposing. This I can appreciate but social movements, thorough research into regional histories, and foreign policy classes should not only be allowed to college students. How many meaningless arguments are had when things are plainly etched in ink by the same deceased people for whom we argue? College Board is not perfect but it’s a step towards acknowledging that the United States is not flawless but that we are trying and that we can all work towards bettering the nation. If being honest about history means that a child would become unpatriotic, it obviously means that things have to change. To do the same thing and expect different results is insanity.

++++++Diluting what happened and why it happened makes it encourages dissent from those who don’t truly understand but are not comfortable with acknowledging that people that they knew and loved actively participated in such hatred. If people are constantly absorbed in their own daily lives, they tend to pay little attention to things that do not overtly and directly concern them. It also means that we often look for generalizations and take many things out of context in order to appear wiser than we are, which makes all conclusions convoluted. The 2016 election re-introduced George Orwell’s “1984” to the mainstream public as a best-seller. The book was formerly one of those books that all the Advanced Placement students tried to forget because of how unpleasant the ending was. The protagonist is basically brainwashed brutally though torture and re-integrates into society. It’s bleak. It was crucial that readers were aware of what led to the establishment the institutions that would forcefully re-mold him into a contributing member of Airstrip One. People then began Googling phrases like newspeak, doublespeak, class warfare, and police state.

++++++Why then, do we gloss over the anger and frustration felt by Civil Rights leaders in their early days and only focus on their peaceful years? We need to know why people are mad. We need to know both sides and address the bias. We can cry over bias in the media or we can actually take our time to hear it out. We don’t have to agree but when we completely ignore what is there, people begin to think that the other side can’t be reasoned with. “You have to have been there (the state of mind or the actual location) to get the joke.” We need to get everything straight and appropriately tackle gerrymandering and red-lining districts beyond their being vocabulary terms. We need to look at gun control and emphasizing that the Constitution is considered one of the greatest documents because it allows for change because there was the expectation that we would need to add onto it over time and that it wasn’t perfect but it was the beginning of something. We need to re-capture this enthusiasm to actually expand the possibilities of what the US can do.   

This is a new year. Hopefully, we’ll try something new. 

Comments are welcome.

[Repost] Don’t Feed the Trolls, and Other Hideous Lies

As the internet population grows and the influence of the internet over people grows as a result, the internet becomes an increasingly accessible tool to spread one’s views and attitudes. Trolls in recent years have received increasing coverage as their numbers grew and their tactics more malicious. Discussions on how to combat them have popped up, out of which, the phrase “Don’t feed the trolls” came from.  But, how does this strategy actually work out and how can these social parasites be cut from their host?

A Twitter follower reminded me of a line in the famous parable from Bion of Borysthenes: “Boys throw stones at frogs in fun, but the frogs do not die in fun, but in earnest.” Defenders of trolling insist it’s all just a joke, but if trolling is inherently designed to get a rise out of someone, then that’s what it really is. In many cases, it is designed to look and feel indistinguishable from a genuine attack. Whether you believe what you are saying or not is often immaterial because the impact is the same — and you are responsible for it, regardless of how funny you think it is. It is a lesson kids learn time and time again on the playground, and yet, it is ridiculously difficult for people to accept the same basic notion in online culture, no matter their age. Why is that so? Because those are the social norms that develop when you create a culture where everything is supposed to be a joke.

For the whole article, click here.

[Repost] What is a Woman Worth?

No matter how many times one hears about these statistics and these anecdotes about what it’s like to be a woman, the issue doesn’t become less real. These issues didn’t become a thing all of a sudden. It only seems so overstated because it wasn’t even deemed a real problem and ignored. When you hear so many of the same things from over half of our population, you’d think people would pay attention and see things for what it is but the same machinations that prevented 1992’s Year of Woman from coming to fruition is also at work now, once again, pushing back against a wave of voices that demand change. Our generation isn’t as idealistic or as naive as those before us. We know what’s up. This upcoming election is critical. Either way, we will break ground or live to see the old ways buried.

Excerpt:

In that same Atlantic Article, Fear of a Female President, I’d sent my father, author Peter Beinart makes the case that there is a clear link between how women are viewed and how they are treated. Hillary was hatedin large part because women are hated.

In 2010, researchers Victoria L. Brescoll and Tyler G. Okimoto conducted a study in which they asked respondents about a fictional male state senator and a fictional female state senator. They described both as “ambitious” and found  that the respondents’ views of the male senator did not change when they described him as such, but, when thinking about the female state senator, both men and women “experienced feelings of moral outrage.”

In 2008 Psychologists Jennifer K. Bosson and Joseph Vandello coined the term “precarious manhood.” Their body of research posits that manhood is something to be earned—a status that must continuously be asserted for fear of losing it. While womanhood is perceived as biological, manhood is determined by social achievements, power, status, and aggression. And men are keenly aware of this.

While womanhood is perceived as biological, manhood is determined by social achievements, power, status, and aggression. And men are keenly aware of this.

Merchandise sold in and around the arenas where Trump hosted his rallies read: Don’t be a pussy. Vote for TrumpFinally, someone with balls; and Life’s a bitch: don’t vote for one. And of course, the rallying cry of the right: Lock her up.

We assumed the “her” meant Hillary. But now the chants continue, some two years later. Over the summer, a group of high school students began chanting “Lock her up” at a leadership conference for young conservatives while Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed the crowd. He laughed and repeated the words back. Call me crazy (and some will), but the “her” feels bigger than one woman. The “her” seems to refer to female ambition, female autonomy, female power.

If manhood is something men must constantly prove, the policies men shape cannot possibly be immune to their need to exert dominance and power. To codify that dominance into law.

Link to full article here.

[Repost Poem] I Got Flowers Today

By: Paulette Kelly

I got flowers today. It wasn’t my birthday or any other special day. We had our first argument last night. He said a lot of cruel things that really hurt me. I know he was sorry and didn’t mean the things he said. Because I got flowers today.

I got flowers today. It wasn’t our anniversary or any other special day. Last night, he threw me into a wall and started to choke me. It seemed like a nightmare. I couldn’t believe it was real. I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over. I know he must be sorry Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today. It wasn’t Mother’s Day or any other special day. Last night, he beat me up again. And it was much worse than all other times. If I leave him, what will I do? How will I take care of my kids? What about money? I’ m afraid of him and scared to leave. But I know he must be sorry Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today. Today was a very special day. It was the day of my funeral. Last night he finally killed me. He beat me to death.

If only I had gathered enough courage and strength to leave him, I would not have gotten flowers today.

This poem is dedicated to all the victims and survivors of Domestic Violence.

You ask, why didn’t she leave?

I ask, why did he hit?

July Study Piece Part 3: We Should Start Over

How we should have approached things

“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”

– Desmond Tutu

This is why we study history

Timeline courtesy of Nemo.

We may have went overboard the moral political indoctrination. Some would call it a “brutal education” in and of itself. The content was clouded by the method. There exist many conspiracy theories because people are distrustful of authority figures that break their promises. Some people are mad because the nation’s leader didn’t uphold their promises to protect their people, federalists are upset because they feel the government infringes on most aspects of their lives. The idea behind conspiracy theories is: “If they would lie to us on one occasion, what else could they be omitting to save face?”

The Holocaust is not a conspiracy nor is it a mere theory. Real people died, were separated from their families, and stripped of their basic human rights. It seems not like a distant memory but a horror story parents tell their children in order to behave. It makes humans into gruesome monsters who prey on the suffering of others. It makes us look like demons that walk the Earth and people aren’t comfortable with that. Many of those who were put on trial, especially in the Nuremburg trials, took the defense that they “were simply following orders” as to deflect much of the blame away from themselves. Because before the trials, they were regarded as “good soldiers”. Before the trials, they were assured that they were making their country better by killing “the bastard races.” Before the trials, they weren’t considered criminals who had committed atrocities.

Even now, David Irving asserts that the Holocaust didn’t exist because there aren’t documents that say “Holocaust” but that’s because Holocaust is a Jewish word meant to illustrate the brutality of a cult of personality… it means sacrificial offering on an alter to a God (Hitler called himself der Fuhrer). The Nationalist Party called it “The Final Solution” or “Endlosung.” It would do Mr. Irving good to actually learn German and study the documents that may still remain, seeing as much of it was destroyed when the Nazis realized that they had lost the war and Hitler had committed suicide.  Of course, he would argue that seems mighty favorable for the prosecutors and coincidental.

I would rather not focus on the Holocaust because there are plenty of prolific sources out there but I would rather focus on what would drive people to do things like that to their fellow man and how many years in the making such plans would take. Make no mistake: Hitler did a lot of dreadful things, but he also did a lot of good things. Otherwise, why would everyone follow a mad man? Hitler is synonymous with the spawn of Satan and considered the very essence of all things evil, instead of explaining in detail why what he did was bad. Not everyone understands or wants to understand that it’s the very mentality of wanting to kill other people “for the good of all” is not only flawed but morally wrong.

 

TL;DR: The Germans had many victories and crushing defeats. Those who either studied history or felt they were dealt an unfair hand were more than willing to “have a go” at those who were accused of being the scapegoats, even going as far as aiding in “rectifying” their communities by doing away with the “bastard races.” There were of course dissenters but there may be a slim chance that those who cooperated weren’t entirely aware of exactly to what they were agreeing. This is where the Hangman poem has the most relevance.

Our Idiosyncratic Beliefs | July Study Piece Part 2: The “Orientals”

An Introduction

With an insight on major themes of the detachment of public opinion through a psychological lens, we now take a look at the same motifs prevalent on the Eastern Front of World War II, specifically Japan. In the general time span of half a century, Japan has undergone a physical, spiritual, and cultural metamorphosis. From the ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the country has since somewhat apologized for all of its actions during WWII and has maintained healthy economic and political relations with nations around the world. However, there are still tense undertones between the citizens of neighboring Asian countries and Japan. Their role in WWII has been downplayed or even denied; juxtaposed with the consistent badgering of Germany to pay reparations and make amends, some feel that Japan has gotten off easy, considering their role in WWII is arguably comparable to the likes of Hitler and the Holocaust. The interpretation and misinterpretation of histories, ideals, and communications on the Eastern Front of WWII blur the line of “righteous” and “evil” for not only the Japanese people but the general public perception, causing a mass polarization of nationalism and borderline supremacy.

Japanese Supremacy, “Land of the Rising Sun”
In the earliest time periods, the Japanese called themselves “wakoku”, or “Wa”, as designated by the Chinese [1]. The Wa tribe developed soon after the Chinese, gaining much of their influence from the neighboring Chinese and Korean (Paekche) cultures. The name, “Nihon” (Land of the Rising Sun), was first seen in Chinese transcripts designating Japan’s place east of China; however, the Japanese liked it so much that they requested to be known as Japan/Nihon/Nippon, Land of the Rising Sun. Around 500 AD, Buddhism was spread from India to China to Korea, and consequently, Japan, who based their religion on this influence. Their early expansion and development as a civilization came after they infused their government and politics with a conglomeration of Confucian ideals and Bushido philosophy (see Nanking Massacre, Topping Off China’s “Century of Humiliation”) [2]. The growth of Japan was now unstoppable.
So how did Japan, a country that started off running on borrowed culture, become the international superpower that it did by the 20th century, rampaging and conquering lands of Manchuria and Korea? Confidence from the Russo-Japanese War (1905) could be a factor. The Great White Fleet (1906) negotiating Japan into industrialization and westernization could also be a factor. However, in Hitler’s works such as Mein Kampf (1925) [3] and the Political Testament of Adolf Hitler (1945) [4], Hitler elaborates on what it means to be Ehrenarier, the “Honorary Aryan”. Hitler’s idea of the “Honorary Aryan” did not simply imply the “blonde-hair, blue-eyes” stereotype. To be Aryan meant to have pride in one’s race. It was in the blood. Hitler regarded both the Chinese and Japanese as held in high respects, and this, too, could have prompted the Japanese to embrace the title of “superior race” (albeit, Hitler still referred to the Japanese as Kulturträger in Mein Kampf, “culture carriers”, and recognized Western influence as the driving factor for Japan’s expansion). The only defining factor separating the Chinese and Japanese was their purpose in life.

“We (Japanese) were taught that we were a superior race
— since we lived only for the sake of a human god — our
Emperor. But the Chinese were not. So we held nothing
But contempt for them… the Imperial Army was consumed
With a prejudice so intense that the killing became easy.”
— Shiro Azuma, former Japanese soldier, (CNN 1998) [5]

As mentioned previously, the basis on which Japan was founded on religiously and politically came from other Asian cultures. The pedestal that the Western world held the Japanese at originated from (debatably) friendly negotiations between U.S. Navy Commodore Matthew Perry and his gigantic, shining, threatening naval ships behind him. And so, how could an entire country be mass mobilized to believe that they are superior to those that assisted their development as a nation?

Nanking Massacre, Topping Off China’s “Century of Humiliation”
From the first Opium War (1842) to the end of WWII (1945), China has been at the mercy of the hands of various nations such as Britain, the US, France, Germany, Japan, and others (officially called the Eight-Nation Alliance by the time the Boxer Rebellion rolled around). After the Russo-Japanese War led Russia and Japan to fight for regions of Northern China (Manchuria) and Korea to conquer, tensions between China and Japan began to rise, culminating in the Sino-Japanese Wars. China was ultimately at a disadvantage, as they were undergoing a domestic divide between Nationalists led by Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists led by Mao Zedong, leaving the Japanese with the opportunity to attack in 1937.
In 1937, Japanese troops were led to invade China, led by three generals:

“Nakajima has been described as a cruel violent man, a specialist in thought control, intimidation, and torture. Matsui was a Buddhist from a scholarly family. Yanagawa was a serious man who focused on the importance of military discipline and control. Their forces had reached the outskirts of Nanking by December. On December 7, General Matsui, of a generally weak constitution, grew very ill on the field and was replaced by Prince Asaka Yasuhiko, a member of the royal family, who brought the authority of the emperor’s crown to the front line in Nanking. On December 9 the Japanese launched a massive attack on Nanking.” [6]

From the gruesome events that followed, there are multiple accounts of horrendous rapes, disembowelments, and murders plaguing Nanking. Definitively, what is the difference between the events that occurred in Nanking alone and those that occurred during the Holocaust? And why, if they are both such gruesome crimes against humanity, has Japan not been shamed as much as Germany has? Is it because of the fragile political and economic relations that other nations need to have with a powerful Japan? Or is it because of the philosophy that each event was politically governed by? And why does that mere difference make it okay for the general public to hold one event to a higher memorial than another?
The Western Front and Hitler’s governing political philosophy was indeed Nazism. The general public opinion was raised on anti-Nazi propaganda; the usage of Social Darwinism to dictate a nation was absolutely wrong and needed to be stopped (see July Study Piece Part 3). However, Japanese political sentiment was arguably based on the honorable Bushido philosophy.

“It argues a sad defect of information concerning the Far East, when so erudite a scholar as Dr. George Miller did not hesitate to affirm that chivalry, or any other similar institution, has never existed either among the nations of antiquity or among the modern Orientals. Such ignorance, however, is amply excusable, as the third edition of the good Doctor’s work appeared the same year that Commodore Perry was knocking at the portals of our exclusivism.”
-Inazo Nitobe, Bushido: The Soul of Japan [7]

In Nitobe’s Bushido: The Soul of Japan, Nitobe details the loyal and benevolent spirit of the Bushido. The Eight Virtues are:

      1. Rectitude or Justice
      2. Courage, the Spirit of Daring and Bearing
      3. Benevolence, the Feeling of Distress
      4. Politeness
      5. Veracity or Truthfulness
      6. Honor
      7. The Duty of Loyalty
      8. Self-Control

The key to being a good soldier, leader, and strategist is to keep these virtues in mind for they dictate how one treat others. However, an individual mustn’t forget that as a descendant of the loyal Japanese samurai, one must serve his master well above all else. Recall the three generals leading troops into Nanking. General Matsui, the most benevolent and scholarly of them all, had given an order for his troops to invade Nanking with the utmost moral dignity to earn the Chinese people’s respect as their new rulers. He demanded the Eight Virtues to be enforced; however, he fell sick only to be replaced by Prince Asaka, one of royal blood. Thus, in dutifully serving Japan’s one “human god”—the Emperor—by adopting Prince Asaka as their master, ruthlessness, and bloodshed had fully taken its place in Nanking. Loyalty and obedience of the Japanese samurai took precedent, before all else… and just like that, the honorable Bushido code had, arguably, gravely and widely contributed to the Japanese soldiers’ mindset to wreak havoc in China.

An Interjection from LtDemonLord, “No Conceptual Scapegoats”
For one, the Japanese army had little means to provide for themselves once they’ve made landfall and resorted to pillaging the locals. The conflict that ensued automatically brought Chinese civilians and Japanese soldiers into direct contact, often resulting in murders of households and the “taking” of women. The death toll from the murders were then joined by ranks of the starving as the survivors faced empty food stores and ruined fields. The fact that the army at the time were made up of mostly civilians themselves (Japan being a country with a relatively small population) who are fed a propaganda-rich diet of self-righteousness and disdain for China’s resistance to their rule meant that they were far more willing to treat the Chinese as less than living beings than their more well-educated and well-trained counterparts in the navy and air force (as evidenced with their treatment of the Russian POW during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) although cultural changes could have also been the reason). Another reason for their brutality may also have resulted from the unexpectedly strong resistance they faced as they advanced further inland. Their generals, who believed that their campaign would be quick and the Chinese would surrender, grew increasingly frustrated as the war dragged on and their campaign in Nanking may have been the direct result of an attempt to frighten and subjugate the Chinese citizens into surrendering as many of the officers either “failed” to keep discipline or actively encouraged their men to act out their base desires. Keep in mind that this sort of senseless violence wasn’t the first time the Japanese had forced onto the people they’ve tried to conquer — in fact, Koreans who were colonised by the Japanese earlier in the century experienced the same dismissal of human rights and lack of humane treatment.
Among a people who you were destined to conquer and with divine judgement on your side, crushing those in the way of your Manifest Destiny becomes nothing.

Hirohito, Tojo, or the Japanese Common Man?, “A Diffusion of Responsibility”
The ruling figure of World War II was none other than Emperor Hirohito, Japan’s longest-ruling emperor. However, Hirohito’s role in the vicious actions of Japan during World War II is largely debated among historians. Some say he had absolute control over the events that Japan executed, but others say that his Prime Minister, General Hideki Tojo, was the true villain. Indeed, although Tojo was powerful, he could never amount to a ruling dictatorship like Hitler or Stalin. Thus, although both played a part, Hirohito and Tojo only worked to polarize each other’s corruption but never amounting to full power as others have succeeded to do so on the Western Front. For the most part, Hirohito and Tojo were only so successful in obtaining what they desired because of the mass indoctrination occurring decades before in the education system. Emperor Hirohito’s status as Divine Emperor and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo’s accomplishments as a militarist spurred the Japanese concept of being the “superior race”.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 9.15.39 PMRiseofAsiaLeaf

         (The Advertiser, Aug 12, 1929)                               (“Rise of Asia”, 1943)

Even prior to the beginnings of WWII, Japanese education largely revolved around their “superior race” teachings. Those sentiments only grew stronger, however, with Japan bombing Pearl Harbor. Education then shifted to indoctrinate young students into becoming “children of the Emperor”, creating a mass production of young minds believing that they are a race of celestial divinity and immortality [8]. They were to remain loyal to the Emperor, to bring honor to their country, and to succeed in fulfilling “superior race” status. This certain upbringing, a common one for the Japanese citizen, proliferated progressively, forcing an entire nation into a “mob-mentality” type of society. Their whole beliefs centered on the idea to take back Asia from the Westernized civilizations (disregarding two-thirds of the Axis Powers as westernized), to lead the other Orientals into independence—under Japanese rule. Obviously, to post-WWII society, the idea sounds almost presumptuous. However, at the time (and even now in present-day Japanese society, see The Country Holds No Liability, “国家無答責”), it made perfect sense to the loyal and obedient Japanese citizens who were indoctrinated into believing that they worshipped divine blood, the Emperor, and for that, their blood also held some divinity.

RooseveltFeastBones

(Churchill and Roosevelt: “Their true character is that of devils and beasts.”)

The Country Holds No Liability, “国家無答責”
Throughout the years following, it can be observed time and time again that Japan refuses to issue a full, heartfelt apology concerning their role in World War II [9].

Not only World War II, the country cannot even seem to acknowledge its wrongful acts against its fellow Asian countries [10]. After the addition of the “Comfort Women” statue release in San Francisco, Osaka had cut ties with its sister city, claiming that the citizens feel as though they are being criticized for the controversial past of their nation [11]. Many Japanese have since believed that their role in WWII was not as extreme as depicted, or even, fully nonexistent.
This can be illustrated with denial of the Nanking Massacre ever occurring [12]. The Japanese believe that there is no official proof or record that the events in Nanking were so gruesome [13], and yet, even though they admitted to invading Nanking, they claimed it was a bloodless invasion. One website is full of photos that show peace and laughter between the Chinese citizens and the Japanese soldiers, and there is even a section on how the soldiers were not, in fact, violent due to General Matsui’s orders. However, the website fails to mention anything about General Matsui’s illness and consequently his replacement, Prince Asaka [14]. On another website, obtained pictures of the event displays the public horror of rapes, decapitations, and murders, contrary to the popular belief that “no documented proof exists” [15].
Here is an example of the muddled truth during what really happened at Nanking. The following is a famous photograph known as, “Shanghai Baby”.

shanghaibaby.jpg

(“Shanghai Baby”, 1938)

Japanese historian, Mr. Shudo Higashinakano, is convinced that the Nanking Massacre was a fabrication. He appears on a Japanese show to prove that every single horrific photo is edited by the Propaganda Department of the China National Party on July 1938. Higashinakano claims that the “Shanghai Baby” was taken by a Chinese photographer named H.S. Wong (王小亭) who worked for the Documentary Film Team of the Propaganda Department and that the baby was actually placed there for dramatic effect.

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 11.13.19 PM.png

(unknown, 1938)

Here you can see someone picking up the Shanghai Baby. Higashinakano believes that this is the man who placed the baby in the scene, but according to another source,

“Moments later, an adult male, presumably the child’s father, arrived on scene. Emergency responders tended to the youngster as best they could before the man and child disappeared into the crowd. Wong never learned the infant’s name or fate.” [16]

Is this man working for the Chinese National Party? Or is he the Shanghai Baby’s father? The issue with this distortion of truth is that we may never get an answer… And that is the problem.

 

 

A Conclusion
With Japan’s strong connections and pride in their own country and government, the nation has made itself liable to distort the truth of its own past. In an even broader context, the online resources provided to a curious inquisitor like myself make it hard to understand what really happened at Nanking. Both sides appear to be extremely biased with no nations intervening with their own narrative of what went down. The Chinese government-funded Youtube channel uploading “extremely rare footage” of the events of Nanking filmed by an American pastor, the former Japanese soldiers admitting to the crimes while others are placing the blame on Chinese soldiers, and the power shift between Hirohito, Tojo, and the indoctrinated Japanese people… In an era where our idiosyncratic beliefs allow us to selectively put certain history behind us, one can only imagine what truly occurred to drive the Land of the Rising Sun to be in the dark about its past… and what our own governments are leading ourselves to believe.

Additional Video:


Sources Cited

((TRIGGER WARNING))

[1] Spacey, John. “Why Japan Is Called Land Of The Rising Sun.” Japan Talk, Japan Talk, 27 Aug. 2012, http://www.japan-talk.com/jt/new/why-japan-is-called-land-of-the-rising-sun.

[2] Watanabe, Akira, and G. Cameron Hurst. “The Meiji Restoration.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 19 July 2018, http://www.britannica.com/place/Japan/History.

[3] Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. 1925.

[4] Hitler, Adolf. The Political Testament of Adolf Hitler. 1945.

[5] Kamimura, Marina. “A Japanese Veteran Attempts to Make Peace with Haunting Memories.” CNN, Cable News Network, 16 Aug. 1998, http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9808/16/japan.war.crimes/.
[6] Cook, Karen. The Rape of Nanking: Analyzing Events From a Sociological Perspective. Stanford University, web.stanford.edu/~kcook/history.html.
[7] Nitobe, Inazo. Bushido: The Soul of Japan. 1900.
[8] Friedman, Herbert A. “JAPANESE PSYOP DURING WWII.” Psychological Operations (PSYOP), Psywarrior, http://www.psywarrior.com/JapanPSYOPWW2.html.
[9] McCurry, Justin. “Japanese PM Shinzo Abe Stops Short of New Apology in War Anniversary Speech.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Aug. 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/14/shinzo-abe-japan-no-new-apology-second-world-war-anniversary-speech.
[10] Baird, J. Kevin. “War Crimes in Japan-Occupied Indonesia: Unraveling the Persecution of Achmad Mochtar | The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.” The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, The Asia-Pacific Journal, 1 Jan. 2016, apjjf.org/2016/01/4-Baird.html.
[11] Fortin, Jacey. “’Comfort Women’ Statue in San Francisco Leads a Japanese City to Cut Ties.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 25 Nov. 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/25/world/asia/comfort-women-statue.html.
[12] “Japan Hotelier’s Nanjing Massacre Denial Angers China.” BBC News, BBC, 19 Jan. 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38673407.
[13] “Nanjing Survivor Sues Japanese Authors.” BBC News, BBC, 29 Nov. 2000, news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1047188.stm.
“‘The Shanghai Baby’ – The True Story Behind One of History’s Most Dramatic Photos.” Military History Now, 8 Nov. 2017, militaryhistorynow.com/2016/04/15/the-shanghai-baby-the-true-story-behind-one-of-historys-most-dramatic-photos/.
[14] Kubo, Arimasa. “The So-Called Nanking Massacre Was a Fabrication.” Remnant, http://www2.biglobe.ne.jp/~remnant/nankingm.htm
[15] Cook, Karen. The Rape of Nanking: Analyzing Events From a Sociological Perspective. Stanford University, web.stanford.edu/~kcook/.
[16]  “‘The Shanghai Baby’ – The True Story Behind One of History’s Most Dramatic Photos.” Military History Now, 8 Nov. 2017, militaryhistorynow.com/2016/04/15/the-shanghai-baby-the-true-story-behind-one-of-historys-most-dramatic-photos/.
Additional Readings:
Japanese Imperialistic Effects on Korea: Black Flower by Young-ha Kim (fiction)

[Repost] More on “Redefining Incivility”

Some time ago, we documented how reactionaries have a habit of redefining incivility (and civility) to suit their purposes, making huge shifts of the goalposts as it suits their needs. In recent days, there have been two well-publicized incidents that have made this tendency painfully apparent: the Red Hen affair, and the Maryland newsroom shooting. […]

via More on “Redefining Incivility” — The Propaganda Professor

Our Sunken Place |July Study Piece Part 1: The Psychology

“What good fortune for governments that people do not think.” – Adolf Hitler

 

In humans, there has always been an intrinsic struggle between the self and others. We must be able to maintain a distinct self-identity while at the same time be able to fit as one of the innumerous cogs of society. Because of this need to fit in, over the course of history, the actions and thoughts of the public have been hijacked many times to make them pliable under the will of their governors.

The idea of government and other governing institutions is to consolidate decision-making power into a central body so that the citizens are able to free their hands to do other things. However, this opens up the door to complacency where the public would rather not worry about the finer details of policy and lawmaking and doesn’t take notice before it’s too late.

There are several ways that we can be told information that is clearly wrong but we still believe what’s being said. In this first part to this month’s study piece, we’ll look at some of the ways that we can be suggested to second-guess our own thoughts, focusing on what we know so far from psychological studies.

Conformity: Informative vs Normative Social Influence

First, we’ll start off with a well-known experiment:Asch’s Line Experiment. In it, a group of students were asked which line (a, b, or c) most closely matched the length of the original line.

Asch_experiment.svg

In reality, within the group of students, there was only one that was truly a participant of the study; the rest of the group were confederates of the researchers. This is done to gauge how group pressure, even when the group is wrong, can sway a person’s public belief even if they secretly believe otherwise. In the trials where the group said the wrong answer, a significant portion of the time, the participant went along with what the group. After the study was concluded, when the participants of the study were debriefed, the participants admitted that they didn’t think the group was right but went along with it anyway.

Now imagine this scenario playing out in the real world with much higher stakes. This has happened many times throughout history. Ultimately, this study was done to gauge the level of conformity that we display in a group setting. In other words, this study demonstrated the power of normative social influence over our public actions: when others believe one thing or perform one action, we are more likely to also believe that thing or perform that action even if it’s against our values.

This sort of conformity is also why a person’s vote is kept confidential. Otherwise, their vote may not stand for what they truly believed in.

To more aptly illustrate, this is a famous poem called First They Came… by Martin Niemöller, a pastor and Nazi concentration camp survivor:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Inaction in a time of crisis is just as bad as having committed the crime itself.

On the other hand, we also have informational social influence. This type of influence is in how willing we are to accept the word and instructions of a person who seems to know better. Whereas normative influence comes from a person’s desire to be liked and accepted, informational influence comes from a person’s desire to reflect what seems to be the correct behavior or belief. This occurs more when the person in question doesn’t know what to do in a certain situation. This type of influence is partially why the bystander effect exists where since no one else if doing anything to help a dangerous situation, you as an individual are less likely to help as well. This is also why children in cults can be taught to hate things and people they’ve never seen and to fear things that they don’t even know. If it’s an adult or some other authority figure speaking, then it must be true because they know better.

That is simply not true.

Don’t give up the burden of individual thought just because you’re tired and don’t know who to believe anymore. This is the time when you need to think for yourself the most.

In part, this submission to peer pressure is evolutionarily hardwired into us so that we don’t get ostracised by the social group that we belong to. In the wild, this promotes our ability to survive by creating a like-mindedness among the members of a group so that everyone works better together. However, this also means that we are more likely to stay silent when we do see something that goes against our values especially when whatever’s happening doesn’t directly affect us.

Obedience

Obedience to an unsavory cause can stem from many reasons even when the person knows that what they’re doing is wrong. Most come from fear.

First, we’re going to look at another famous study: theMilgram Experiment. The experiment revealed the willingness of participants to harm another human being under the orders of an authority figure.

For brevity’s sake, this video helps illustrate both what the Milgram Experiment was and how it relates to this month’s topic (be warned: there are segments of original footage from concentration camps as well as the experiment — viewer discretion is advised):

Under the pressure of authority, even the ordinary, compassionate citizens would be willing to do great harm to others, sometimes with great conviction.

Power

Everyone knows the saying, “Power corrupts” and science can prove it. The first study we’re going to bring up is Professor Zimbardo’s infamousStanford Prison Experiment.

If you haven’t heard of what the experiment is, please watch this introductory video (that I found on YouTube):

In it, we saw how students who by all accounts were outstanding intellectuals at Stanford University turn into the abusive and abused that we hear about from news stories to the point where, to the students’ safety, the experiment had to stop at six days. All it took was six days.

The whole point of the experiment was to understand the developments of norms as well as the effects of labels and roles on people and their behavior. What we see that it only takes very little time for anyone to degenerate into a state of suspended morality.

It’s so easy to become used to ever-escalating levels of shocking events especially when the events separated from you by barriers. A different race, a different place, other humans. It shouldn’t matter who is suffering because of our actions. If it was happening to you, you would want others to stand up for you so why should you sit idle when it’s happening to others? This includes criminals, people who come from other lands, and those that aren’t able to speak for themselves (those with disabilities, mental conditions etc.).

If it only took that much time before bright, young college students who didn’t have any external pressure to perform as inhumanely as they did (they didn’t have any real benefit from treating fellow students like crap), then what would happen if we happened to live in a world where we thought we were the policemen of the world, that our way was the right way? We would adopt that role and grow into it, imposing our views, our values and our needs on others, thinking that since we know better, everyone else is better off doing what we think is best for them, never entertaining the idea that, just maybe, we don’t know better and it’s better that we don’t play God with the rest of the world. It’s easy to say that another Holocaust/Trail of Tears/Rape of Nanjing/genocide won’t happen to us or our country nowadays but at the same time, those that came before has demonstrated again and again that it is possible and might possibly happen again.

Cognitive Dissonance and Defense Mechanisms

A very effective way to squash a person’s conscience towards crimes committed or views held is to rationalise what is being done. Often, arbitrary standards are used to measure the victim to dehumanise them and make them a being that we can’t relate with and therefore don’t feel bad if they’re hurt, tortured or killed (includes mental and emotional hurting, torturing and killing). This is all to ease our cognitive dissonance and acts as a defence mechanism because no one likes to think they’re bad people doing bad things.

Rationalisation is the same as lying to yourself to justify your actions. It’s obvious to see with alcoholics and other addicts but it’s not so easy with yourself. This can take form in the associations we make to the people we hurt or through “alternative words”. This can be seen in the doublespeak-like fashion that we use to term unpleasant things. This might be euphemisms that we hear in day-to-day life or we might it hear it on the news and from our policymakers where concentration camps are referred to as “tent cities” and concentration camps for young children are called “tender age shelters”.

Other ways that people ease their cognitive dissonance is to victim-blame. Is it the victim’s fault for carrying their wallet in their back pocket when he gets pick-pocketed? People like to believe that bad things don’t just happen for no reason and that bad things won’t happen to good people. Rationalisation comes after the fact so many justifications didn’t apply at the time the event is happening. In other words, we make up faults in the other person to make it seem like the other person deserved it. It takes a very introspective person to recognise when they’ve been rationalising their actions and it takes a strong mind to own up to any actions they weren’t proud of.


In total, we will have three parts to this month’s study piece. We will, for the most part, focus on WWII and in particular on Japan and Nazi Germany. In the second part of this series, we will look at how the Japanese, who are normally a courteous and honor-focused people, managed to commit evils on par with and beyond those committed by the Nazis under Hitler’s rule. The third part will, then, be focused on Germany during WWII. Overall, we hope that by analysing these two instances of hate and unspeakable violence, we are better able to understand and recognise the very symptoms of intolerance and detached morality that led to what happened and prevent it from happening again today.


Additional Readings:

Causes and Motivations (Nazi Germany)

The Obedience Studies at 50

Post Hoc Rationalisation – Reasoning Our Intuition and Changing Our Minds

1984, The Handmaid’s Tale and Fahrenheit 451

Framing as a Propaganda Prop

The Hangman | A Poem

 

[Repost] AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s week of faulty claims: MS-13, Russia

Check out what the Associated Press has to say about the latest rhetoric surrounding healthcare, immigration and Russia.

AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s week of faulty claims: MS-13, Russia

http://flip.it/Dnfj3a

Thoughts On Our Walkout | Student Responses

In the past decade or so, one of the social movements that have been gaining momentum is the one for gun reform. Most of it, you all already know; it’s been on the news and everyone’s outraged one way or another, understandably or otherwise. It’s been a while since the March 24th and the April 20th Walkout and we see that the continuous publicity from both the continuing school shootings and the actions of the student activists has pushed the issue to the forefront of national news and remains one of the biggest sources of disagreement in government.

Right now, gun reform remains one of the most contentious issues and it’s something that we as young students have a lot of stake in as the instances of weapons appearing on campuses has increased regardless of whether there were casualties in all those instances. Still, this has widespread consequences on our youth. While we may be desensitised to violence in the ghettos of places like Chicago, school shooters aren’t tied to a specific marginalised demographic so not even the gov’t can pretend that it’s because of the moral failings of a specific demographic. They can’t attach the old terms to this type of threat so this is a chink we can use to expose the fallacies they’ve been using to divert attention and sit on their hands for important policy reforms that should be passed when Columbine happened.

Over a hundred thousand students have been directly exposed to gun violence at school since Columbine [link]. Some come away with PTSD, some never go back to school and still others see that they will need to take matters into their own hands.

Amidst the political discourse in this country, even the sacredness of childhood has been violated. It is something that everyone should have in common. It is something everyone should relate to. If you can’t understand how frightening it is to have to have an increased number of drills we’ve had these past few years, the crazy number of security cameras in each hallway — all in a place where we are supposed to grow and feel safe, then you’re an unfeeling human being.

Imagine hearing a loud sound in the school cafeteria or accidentally breaking a beaker in science class and thinking, even for a split second, that it was a gunshot. If it doesn’t change and guns are just as easily available, this is what the future holds while schools become more like prisons with metal detectors and security guards. All so that that one person who does decide to bring a gun to school can’t use it.

A classmate at my school collected some responses from our students after our walkout. These are some things that students at my school have said about it:

What are your thoughts about having this walkout? What effects or changes would you like to see as a result of this event?

Safi Haider, Senior

“I completely respect the students who walkout AND those who choose not to. 2nd amendment rights are a polarizing issue, but they cannot be discussed when both sides are unable to have a calm discussion.

“However, I believe that scheduling the walkout like the school did turn it into an assembly rather than a demonstration. Ideally, I would like to see legislators take steps to ensure that schools are safer, be it through mental health programs or gun control. Although this is unlikely, I would be satisfied if officials at least recognize that students are willing to take actions to support their cause. In other words, I want the government to see that our generation does more than “just complain and do nothing.”

Raeed Zaman, Senior

“I think the walkout is a small but necessary step towards the peace that we all want. Although it may seem as if it’s political significance is minimal, it’s still a baby step that will exemplify the cause. However, there is a common misconception about the purpose of the walkout. People seem to look over the idea of remembering and honoring the people who passed and politicizing the event.

“One change I would like to see as a result of this event is unity. Because of the way politics works in this country, social issues all end up being politicized. Once something is politicized, we stop listening to each other and conform to the ideologies of the party we affiliate to. So instead of uniting to fix the problem together, we are dividing and arguing about who’s right and who’s wrong.

“I hope that this walkout will teach children, adults, and politicians the fact that we all have similar goals but different ways to approach them. I hope that we can find a way to come to a middle ground by reaching out to people who have different viewpoints than us and looking for middle ground rather than shutting those people out.”

Ellen Zhang, Senior

“The walkout is a way for us to physically show that we care and that we will stand out and do things that some adults and Congress aren’t willing to do. If we don’t say anything, then we will just be letting others speak for us. We have voices too and we are the ones being affected the most. If the adults in Congress won’t do the most logical thing to keep us safe, their children and our country’s children safe, then we are forced to grow up faster to do what they couldn’t do for us. This is why we walk out.

“The walk out is for advocating for stricter gun control. Schools are banning backpacks, installing security cameras and setting up security checkpoints because they couldn’t prevent teenagers and those who wish to do harm from acquiring weapons. This is backwards.

“Are we protecting guns from people or are we protecting people from guns? There is no debate on which way it should be. There’s no use pretending that pro-gun-control is anti-democratic or whatever other reason people come up with because democracy should be for the people and by the people. When the people are endangered, those who oppose measures to rectify that are the ones who are anti-democratic. Protect people, not guns.”

Anonymous, Junior

“My thoughts about having this walkout were that it was about time. Throughout the last several years, school shootings have occurred time and time again. Why? Its because significant change has not been made. This walkout, led by students across America, was a way to bring awareness to this issue so that change can occur.

“This walkout gives me hope and this hope is what I and other people need in order to truly make a change in their community -the hope that their actions will contribute to the greater good. Overall, I feel grateful to have this experience. I’m hopeful for changes in gun laws. I hope to see people unite and find a solution to this tough problem.”

To read the whole article, click the link here. The article was written by Madhurya Gajula.

Never let up the pressure. Never forget. Never again.