Everyone carries history on their back. Well, this is mine and it is my social and moral responsibility to correct any wrongs done to my people; mainly my parents.
At the time when I was born, everyone was trying to move on from the past and assimilate in the society. While you took me to Buddhist Church where I felt like I belonged, when I would step out, I would feel strange. I noticed that Japanese always stuck together, and had this complex that white people were better than us. On some level, I blamed the Japanese for not stepping out of their comfort zone and breaking off from the herd, not actually realizing how hard and out of depth that would make me feel when I did that.
What hurt me the most and perhaps what I struggle to understand is the reason why you chose to never disclose any information about the internment camps. At first, I had little idea about the existence of these camps. Yes, you would mention it in passing but I always figured you meant some sort of a summer camp. To find out that these camps were not summer retreats that you went off to but concentration camps where you and so many others were herded in, not because of what you had done but because of who you were. Knowing all of this now, I am in utter awe of the strength and resilience that you and mom displayed. Having been through all of that, yet you manage to smile, laugh, and live your life as you do.
I remember as a child, I was told to blend in, but to excel in every field I set my foot in because that is how I would set myself apart and be indispensible. Basically I had to be as American as possible while never forgetting that I am Japanese. This did come in handy for me because I got into one of the best schools for my undergraduate program. A place where all the change started from; Asians started demanding that we be taught our original history and give admissions to make up for all the years of discrimination. It was then that I learned about the camps,