Extra! Special Issue on Racism, July/August 1992

    'Asian Invasion' Cliches Recall Wartime Propaganda

    A 1943 San Francisco Examiner cartoon depicted Japanese-American men, drawn with huge buck teeth and thick eyeglasses, crossing their fingers as they recited the pledge of allegiance in a World War II concentration camp. The caption explained that "most of the Japs" crossed their fingers during the pledge—as a justification for why 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of them U.S.-born citizens, had to be confined. The cartoon is a frightening reminder of how the news media can whip up racism. Fifty years later, the media are still promoting stereotypes and fears of a different kind of "Asian Invasion." Whether ...