Facilitating Injustice: The Complicity of Social Workers in the Forced Removal and Incarceration of Japanese Americans, 1941-1946

ISBN : 9780199765058

Yoosun Park
488 Pages
156 x 156 mm
Pub date
Dec 2019
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"On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066-the primary action that propelled the removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans. From the last days of that month, when California's Terminal Island became the first site of forced removal, to March of 1946, when the last of the War Relocation Authority concentration camps was finally closed, the federal government incarcerated approximately 120,000 persons of ""Japanese ancestry."" Social workers were integral cogs in this federal program of forced removal and incarceration: they vetted, registered, counseled, and tagged all affected individuals; staffed social work departments within the concentration camps; and worked in the offices administering the ""resettlement,"" the planned scattering of the population explicitly intended to prevent regional re-concentration. In its unwillingness to take a resolute stand against the removal and incarceration and carrying out its government-assigned tasks, social work enacted and thus legitimized the bigoted policies of racial profiling en masse. Facilitating Injustice reconstructs this forgotten disciplinary history to highlight an enduring tension in the field-the conflict between its purported value-base promoting pluralism and social justice and its professional functions enabling injustice and actualizing social biases. Highlighting the urgency to examine the profession's current approaches, practices, and policies within today's troubled nation, this text serves as a useful resource for students and scholars of immigration, ethnic studies, internment studies, U.S. history, American studies, and social welfare policy/history.


Preface: An Occluded History
Chapter 1. Discursive Elusions
Chapter 2. The Start of War
Chapter 3. The Removal
Chapter 4. Incarceration
Chapter 5. Social Work in the Camps Part I: Public Assistance
Chapter 6. Social Work in the Camps Part II: Abnormal Communities
Chapter 7. The Emotional Crisis of Registration
Chapter 8. Resettlement Part I: The Scattering
Chapter 9. Resettlement Part II: The Work of the Welfare Sections
Chapter 10. Conclusion: The Value of a Social Work Staff in a Mass Evacuation Program
Appendix A. Glossary of Terms
Appendix B. WRA Incarceration Camps
Appendix C. WCCA Station List
Appendix D. Relocation Offices
Appendix E. WRA Eligibility for Unrestricted Residence
Appendix F. WRA Administrative Manual-Welfare
Appendix G. Job Descriptions

About the author: 

Yoosun Park, PhD, MSW, is Associate Professor in the School for Social Work at Smith College and Editor-in-Chief of Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work. Dr. Park's scholarship, framed within the broad substantive area of immigration, is informed by poststructuralist theories of discourse and methods of inquiry. It pursues two overlapping lines of inquiry: social work's history with immigrants/immigration and the study of contemporary issues pertinent to immigrants/immigration. Her examinations of the current and past discourses of the profession aim to identify and engender the development of alternative lines of inquiry, question formulation, and conceptualization.

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