Dwight Okito's 'In Response To Executive Order 9055'

Decent Essays

Noted British philosopher, Bertrand Russel said, “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom” (Edberg). In his quote, Russell a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950 (Monk), questions the irrationality of fear, which pushes people to commit cruelty against others. Russel believes the best way to conquer fear is by captivating wisdom. Although fear is a primitive instinct, an involuntary reaction developed to ensure our safety, if not monitored and kept in check, it will drastically alter the way we conduct our daily life. Dwight Okita’s poem, “In Response to Executive Order 9055” exposes the negative impact of Executive Order 9022. The executive order was issued in 1942, shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack when an atmosphere full of fear and anger spread throughout America. This order forced tens of thousands of Americans with Japanese heritage to leave their homes and be confined in internment camps (Roosevelt). In his poem, Okito describes the situation through the perspective of a young Japanese American girl. Okito is actually relating the personal experiences of his mother, Miss Ozawa, who was in a state of shock and distress because she was treated with such prejudice from her best friend. Okito's poem encourages the reader to examine how fear clouds judgment that might brings traumatic consequences on certain minorities, how people are pressured to conform with government

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