[Fred] Korematsu was just a fugitive, but is it any wonder that when he was arrested across the bay, the headline read Jap Spy Arrested in San Leandro? (James Fulford)
The context is that Korematsu`s behavior was extremely suspicious—although the "only a fugitive" part refers to the fact that the his behavior was morally no worse than draft-dodging. Here`s the paragraph and four bullet points that went before the money quote.
I was also surprised to see that Korematsu, rather than engaging in civil disobedience on principle, like Thoreau, or Gandhi, had done the following:
- He had plastic surgery, to make himself look less Japanese.
- He crudely altered his draft card, to give himself a new name: Clyde Sarah.
- He claimed to be Las Vegas born Spanish-Hawaiian, a claim that was exposed when he couldn`t speak Spanish.
- He fled his San Francisco residence with his girlfriend.
Frankly, short of carrying a silenced Nambu pistol and cyanide pill, it`s hard to see what he could have done to make himself more suspicious. That`s the context—that and the fact that this is the kind of history that you don`t hear about.
The expression "Jap Spy" is the wartime headline writer`s, of course, and was quoted by Korematsu himself in a San Francisco Chronicle article attacking In Defense Of Internment; the article [Do we really need to relearn the lessons of Japanese American internment?, September 16, 2004] makes no mention of plastic surgery, phony ID, or a false name.
I`m not, in fact, sure why Muller thinks this is racist at all. It seems to be just a hysterical reaction to the word "Jap" appearing in print, or it may be that he`s just overreacting, as he has done in the past, to any defense of internment.