Our Human Linkage
September, 1999, ATLANTA — Last month I marveled at the myriad ways in which we are now interconnected technologically -- satellite communication, supersonic transportation and the internet (see "What's New" for August). On a recent trip to Atlanta I experienced the substance of our human interconnectedness more profoundly than I have ever felt before.
As a trustee of the Japanese American National Museum, I flew to Atlanta for the opening of two of our traveling exhibits, "America's Concentration Camps" and "Witness: Our Brothers' Keepers."
"America's Concentration Camps" is an exhibit on a dark chapter of American history that is also a story of my early boyhood. When I was 4 years old, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the U.S. was plunged into the fires of World War II. Our nation -- despite its ideals -- failed to draw the distinction between the imperialism of Japan and the citizenship of Americans of Japanese ancestry. With no charges and no trial, but simply based on race, Japanese Americans were forcibly rounded up from our homes on the West Coast and herded into 10 barbed wire camps in some of the most god-forsaken parts of the country.
As detailed in my autobiography To the Stars, I was taken with my family from our home in Los Angeles to a camp in the swamps of Arkansas. A year later we were moved to a desolate, wind-swept dry lakebed in northern California near the Oregon border. Four years of my childhood were spent confined behind the barbed wire fences of American concentration camps. Not until the end of the war did we return to Los Angeles.
For my parents, it was the most horrific experience of their lives. Everything was lost — property, business and, most of all, freedom. As astonishing as this story may seem to many Americans, it did happen right here in this country. The "America's Concentration Camps" exhibit had closed at the Ellis Island Museum in New York after a year-long run and opened in August at Atlanta's William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.
A second exhibit, "Witness: Our Brothers' Keepers," is another extraordinary story with an ironic linkage with the Jewish community. Despite the incarceration of their families, an amazing number of young Japanese American men and women put on the uniforms of the U.S. military and fought with uncommon valor in both the European and Pacific theaters of the war. The all-Japanese American, 442nd Regimental Combat Team returned from the battlefields of Europe as the single most decorated American military outfit.
A strange irony of this war, however, is that another Japanese American outfit, the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, forced open the gates to Dachau, the Nazi death camp that held Jewish, Gypsy and homosexual inmates from throughout Europe. While their own families were confined behind American barbed wire fences, these Japanese American soldiers were liberating the prisoners of the Nazis from their barbed wire incarceration. Certainly, the American concentration camps came nowhere close to the grotesque horrors the Japanese American soldiers found in the Nazi death camps. Providentially, there was no American policy of systematic elimination of people. But these Japanese American soldiers undoubtedly felt some poignancy in their linkage with the Jewish prisoners.
I certainly felt this linkage as I mingled among the people gathered for the opening of the exhibits at the Breman Jewish Heritage Museum. After the formal program where I shared the stage with Daniel Inouye, the war hero and U.S. Senator from Hawaii, my duty was to informally impart some of my childhood memories with the people in attendance as I moved among the exhibits. I found myself in turn deeply moved and enlightened by the stories that the Jewish people there shared with me of relatives lost to the Nazi holocaust. There is a horrific difference of degree in our stories but the lesson to be learned from both our histories is a common one. Bigotry combined with hysteria is the hideous ingredient of massive injustice.
This very same lesson was underscored the following day on a visit to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Atlanta, an important landmark of the American civil rights movement. Dr. King's birthplace is there, as is the Ebinezer Baptist Church where he, his father and his grandfather preached. His marble tomb rests on an island in the middle of a calm reflecting pool. Across the street is a museum of Dr. King's life and the civil rights movement.
As I moved through the exhibits, I was struck again by our interconnectedness. Bigotry takes on many forms. It manifests itself in different ways. Dr. King and the civil rights movement challenged the stony face of institutionalized bigotry. But he also confronted the bigotry and violence of his own people -- the rage that rises out of abject despair. His courage in facing down both the Black Panthers as well as a Sheriff "Bull" Connors, the personifications of racism in both races, was profoundly inspiring. He refused to be lowered to the depths of any bigot -- black or white. He was a firm apostle of non-violent social change.
I remembered a long ago day in the 60s, when I met Dr. King. I was performing in a civil rights musical titled "Fly Blackbird" in Los Angeles. The cast was asked to sing a few numbers from the show at a huge rally where Dr. King was to be the main speaker. It was a massive gathering at the L. A. Sports Arena. When he spoke, Dr. King's words connected mightily. He transported the crowd with his soaring eloquence. It was after this speech that we were escorted to Dr. King's dressing room. I will never forget this meeting. I remember taking his proffered hand. I remember the thrill of the human connection with an extraordinary man. Through his touch, I felt somehow linked to his ideals, his vision and his courage. It was this linkage that surely strengthened my participation in the civil rights movement. It was certainly this inspiration that galvanized me toward the movement to gain redress for Japanese Americans for our incarceration during World War II. It was his faith in the power of the American system and its ideals that invigorated me. And in 1988 -- more than four decades late, but ultimately nevertheless, this nation acknowledged its terrible mistake and Congress passed the redress bill for the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans. Dr. King's spirit was there with me in this struggle as well.
Our lives and our communities are not separate. We are inextricably interlinked. What happens to one group impacts another. Yes, we may live in an amazing technologically interconnected world. But ultimately, what gives substance to the technology is our human interconnection.
When we feel we have been wronged by someone, we tend to think the worst of them.
But the concept of what is evil depends on the individual and their level of tolerance.
So what is pure evil then?
It's not always about demons. Because the truth is, humans are capable of doing some of the worst things imaginable.
Curious to hear about strangers' experiences with sinister forces around us, Redditor ThatOneDude44444 asked:
"Who do you believe is literally evil?"
Those who prey on the weak and vulnerable are some of the worst kinds of people out there.
"I knew a guy who retired from an investment firm before he was 40. I inquired if I could get a job at the firm. He told me 'if you can look a woman in the eyes, who’s scrubbed floors all her life, and tell her that you can quadruple her life savings by investing in a stock you know is worthless. Then you could work there' I felt sleazy just listening to him. I lost all respect for him. He preyed on poor desperate people, and ruined their lives, so he could retire in his 30s. I found out from a friend that the investment firm was a boiler room fly-by-night scam. Everyone who worked there was taken out in handcuffs."
"Health insurance denying treatments that your doctors have personally recommended."
"Health insurance companies insisting that you try other treatments first, or insisting that you work with in-network doctors who can't be seen for 6-8 months, intentionally delaying your proper treatment. It's f'king murder as far as I'm concerned."
"I could keep listing ways that the health insurance industry is pure evil."
Where Is The Care In Medicare?
"My mother was just diagnosed with a very serious condition that if not treated will make her go blind, her insurance is refusing to pay for her treatment. She’s 73 and will now owe 1500 usd each month so that she doesn’t go blind despite having Medicare. This is our system."
And there are those who are the devil incarnate.
The Moors Murders
"Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. The tape recording of one of their young victims crying for her mum while being tortured is awful. They refused to say where they buried Keith Bennett and that boy's poor mum died without knowing where he was. I hope they are forever being tortured in Hell."
The Torture Mother
"Gertrude Baniszewski, the 'caregiver' of Sylvia Likens. Her story still gives me chills."
"I barely made it through that story it was so, so horrendous. And our f'king legal system did barely anything to the heinous b*tch Gertrude and her evil daughter."
The fact that an individual can be solely responsible for a major national crisis is unthinkable.
But here we are, and several people came forward to share their stories.
Origin Of The Opioid Crisis
"Richard Sackler specifically would be the more correct answer in my opinion. The rest of them are greedy and borderline sociopathic sure, but I think few of them truly understood the ramifications of what Richard was orchestrating. Richard intentionally orchestrated the opioid epidemic and he knew exactly what he was doing and what the outcome would be. He banked the future of his company on creating a legion of opiate addicts that had no idea they were becoming opiate addicts. That is evil."
Victim Speaks Out
"I am a victim of this f'ker. Slipped a disk and was prescribed Oxycontin 2 40mgs a day. Within 6 months I was upped to 80mgs 3 times a day. That's the equivalent of 48 5mg percocet. I'm still struggling and this happened in the late 90s."
Time For Commiserating
"I’m so sorry to hear that that happened to you and that the effects are lingering 3ish decades later; that’s a significant period of time/portion of your life."
"I would like to also let you know that I am victim of this f'ker/family, but in the opposite way. I have had 2 discs in my neck collapse, I have had 2 spinal surgeries, I am in intractable pain. And all I can get is Rx ibuprofen or aleve or other NSAIDs that don’t touch the pain and can cause kidney and liver damage at the dosages I’m being prescribed. I’ve gotten to try every treatment EXCEPT opiates: surgeries, injections, lidocaine patches, antidepressants, nerve medication, massage, yoga, acupuncture, physical therapy, prolotherapy, and plasma rich protein treatment. The one time I asked for low dose opiates (like a single 5 mg Percocet as needed - not 48 daily), I was discharged from the pain management practice immediately for 'drug seeking'. And they’re the biggest practice in my state."
"Further, in the intervening time between my 2 surgeries (before I knew I needed the second surgery as my second disc had collapsed), I presented to the ER in intractable pain with physiological indicators like elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Not only was I not given any pain medication at all (not even toradol, an NSAID), I was also urine drug tested and told that even though I had no drugs in my system that I 'didn’t deserve' any medication and was wasting their time when they could be saving someone else’s life."
"We are BOTH victims of the Sackler family and the opiate prescription practices that led to what’s being called the 'opiate epidemic'. I am not trying to invalidate your experience (and I hope that comes through). I am just trying to show people reading these comments my side of the coin too. I see you u/bucklebee1. And I validate you. And I send you nothing but the best."– caboozalicious
Anyone who is capable of taking another life without even a hint of remorse doesn't deserve the title of being human.
They are purely evil.
And what's terrifying is that we don't really know the capabilities of most people until they snap.
It's a sad truth that just about all women find their bodies objectified or, for better or worse, the unwanted subject of conversation.
One of the many reasons why too many women are self-conscious about their bodies and suffer from sometimes crippling body image issues.
More often than not, women often find themselves most self-conscious about a part of their body or appearance most people will never notice, or even see.
But much to their surprise, sometimes it is that very thing they hate most about themselves that others might find most beautiful about them.
"Men of Reddit, what is something women hate about their bodies that you actually love?"
"Everything that has to do with getting older."
"When my wife and I got married, we were obviously younger and in our 20s."
"Although never thin, I was more slender."
"My wife, 5’9 and legs for days and just banging body."
"I’m not as thin (same as her) we have two kids, and I find her sexier now more than ever."
"In our almost decade together, we have slept on a floor, used change for gas and had our electricity turned off 3-4 times for non payment."
"She’s my Ride or Die."
"She has more of a tummy now, bigger boobs, maybe doesn’t shave like she used to or wear skimpy lingerie outfits randomly."
"I wouldn’t trade it for the world."
"We have grown older together and I honestly couldn’t find anything in this world that still turns me on as the certain way my wife runs her fingers down my back or how she looks naked."
"And it’s because she’s mine."
"Not in a possessive sexist way."
"But in a, I’m the luckiest guy in the world that this beautiful human wants to spend the rest of their life with me (and have sex with me)."
"Hopefully this isn’t too long winded."
"Long story short…..girls spend tons of time worrying about getting older."
"Age isn’t always a detractor."- Ok_Animator_9218
Sometimes being "cheeky' pays off.
"My ex-girlfriend always complained about the size of her cheeks and how she looked like Quico (a character from an old Mexican TV series)."
"For me she looked gorgeous, I loved to kiss and caress her cute round face."- Raul_H2000
Presumably, He's Also One Of The Only People Who Sees Them
"My wife was very self-conscious about her inverted nipples, but I adore them."- nsfbc
Beauty Truly Does Come From Within
"A bit longer than others, but I have a full story to tell which might help someone."
"A few years ago, my lady got a breast cancer."
"We live in a country with high level medical facilities, and the doctor told us at the very first meeting that we were here to heal, no reason to think otherwise."
"But her cancer is genetic."
"It means if she kept her breasts, her risk of having a new cancer would be very high."
"So it's clear for both of us, she got a mastectomy."
"She now has no breast anymore."
"She just has two big scars on the chest."
"On her side, she f*cking hates her body."
"She is scared as hell to wear anything that could reveal her scars."
"She also got some weight during the treatment, and she is pissed at that too."
"But I f*cking love her."
"I choose to love with this woman, and it does not matter if she had lost her breasts, her legs or her face, I will still love her."
"I will fricking love those scars until my dying breath, because, to me, it means she survived."- Vitrebreaker
"Adds character and makes paying attention to each one a separate adventure."- Inevitable_Shift1365
"Probably a lot of stuff but something in particular is like minor 'imperfections' or whatever you would call them."
"A woman I used to work with had a thing where it was like her teeth didn't quite line up like normal (I think maybe a mild crossbite) and I found it weirdly attractive."- tasteful_tomfoolery
They're Easier To Appreciate When You Don't Have To Deal With Them Yourself...
"My wife’s boobs."
"She hates them with a passion and I cannot figure out why."
"They are perfect."- Reddit
Androgyny Is A Wonderful Thing
"I love sleepy, set-back bedroom eyes."
"And I love boyish clothes on girls."
"I also like when a woman has a deeper voice."
"God it’s hot."- Slurpydurpy711
You Never Know What Turns Them On...
"I was always very insecure about my hip dips until my boyfriend told me he loved them."
"I was standing in front of him one day and he just said 'I love the way your hips go in a little there, it makes your butt so cute, it's my favorite' and I was shocked, honestly."
"I used to spend hours watching videos about how to exercise them away, creams that would fill them in, and other ridiculous horsesh*t that would never work."
"He's somehow found every insecurity I have and told me how attractive it is before he ever even knew I was insecure."- trash_bin_84
Getting A Little Scientific
"Maybe a little too clinical or intimate for this thread but I really appreciate unique labia and I find it absolutely heartbreaking that there is so much widespread insecurity about this that there are cosmetic surgeries to 'fix' 'imperfect' labia."
"Past girlfriends and flings who had more prominent or 'unconventional' labia were dreadfully insecure about it and some went as far as to be absolutely astounded that I’d compliment them during/after sex because a past partner hated it or was very cruel and callous about it."
"One of the most pernicious and evil beauty/porn standards out there."
"As long as hygiene is well-accounted for, there’s no such thing as a labia and vulva that are better or worse than any others."
"It’s not ever crossed my mind to compare or critique what’s down there and I always speak out about this when my friends say some stupid or insensitive sh*t."- e-co-terrorist
And Always Handle Them With Love...
"They're called love handles for a reason."- devilthedankdawg
It's very easy to think ill of ourselves, particularly in the judging eyes of others.
But we were given our bodies and appearance for a reason.
And if we embrace all that is unique about us, chances are all others will find that beautiful.
People Over 50 Share The Things Young People Don't Know That Could Help Them
Reaching 50 is a life goal.
Getting to that milestone is something we should all aim for.
So many years, so much life lived.
Which means there is so much story to tell.
Who can't help but look back and advise about how to do it better?
Redditor h-gotfred wanted to hear from the over 50 crowd, so they asked:
"To you Redditors aged 50+, what's something you genuinely believe young people haven't realized yet, but could enrich their lives or positively impact their outlook on life?"
There is so much to know about life.
And we have to age to learn it.
So let's chat...
Be Happyjust married love GIFGiphy
"Marriage/relationships should be fun, and happy. Life is hard, things get tough. Find someone that makes the tough times easier, not harder."
"Piggybacking off this and saying, even the happiest marriages get into arguments. It's not a reason to leave."
"Not everything that you disagree with deserves an argument. Pick your battles and let trivial things slide."
"To echo this: Not everyone you disagree with is 'wrong.' They are simply operating with different information. You can disagree with someone on an issue and still value the person. Don't let one issue define your entire relationship with another person."
"If you die, your employer will have your job posted before you are buried. Remember that when making work/life choices."
"I started my career at corporate headquarters for a large insurance company. I was doing GREAT, but I just didn’t like the industry. I applied for a job at a major university and someone took a chance on me and gave me the position (transitioning from for-profit to non-profit is notoriously hard)."
"I made less money over the course of my career certainly but I wasn’t on poverty wages by any means. But I remember about 5 years in, one of my old VPs was in town and we got together. His comment was 'We miss you, but you look so much happier, the psychic income is showing.' Insightful guy."
"2 things I will be eternally grateful to my grandfather for instilling in me..."
"Failure is not an end state unless it is where you choose to stop. He loved to quote that line by Churchill whenever something didn't work out for me, Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."
"Honesty is the most powerful tool you can use to define yourself. Admit your mistake, frankly and honestly. The truth always comes out in the end no matter how big or small and it doesn't get better with age. You can give back something you steal, and you can help those you hurt but once they brand you a liar, it's all you will ever be."
Be QuietGolden Girls Rose GIF by TV LandGiphy
"Unless you don't mind hearing EEEEEEEEEEEE like all the time day and night, use hearing protection in loud situations. Tinnitus is a bi*ch."
Take care of your ears.
One of life's greatest lessons!!!
Live by the Moonbart simpson maggie GIFGiphy
"I just had a quick look at my 50-year-old upper chest, frequently exposed to the sun in my youth, and compared it to my 50-year-old belly, which has always been clothed and covered (I have never liked two-piece swimsuits). What a difference!"
"Take a genuine interest in what other people have to say, ask them follow-up questions about their passions in life. Don’t just talk about yourself, or wait for your turn to talk. That’s how you have a conversation, and build a relationship."
"Sometimes you gotta be careful with that. Pay attention if the other person is doing that too, it's important for you to share about your life. It can be kind of lonely when you know so much about your friends, but they don't know about you."
Practice makes Perfect
"Every skill takes determined practice to master. I see my young friends/relatives try and give up on so many things because 'they weren't very good at it.' If you keep doing that, you'll never be very good at anything."
"I love cooking - and find it easy and relaxing. I have hit a point where I can make several dishes that I can honestly say are far superior to what I could get at a restaurant. I love delighting my family and friends with what I cook."
"But the truth is - I've prepared thousands of dishes. I've practiced for 40+ years. I have f**ked up every single type of food there is at least once. I've burnt things. I've undercooked chicken. I failed to emulsify things that should have been emulsified. I forgot to set the timer. I've added too much salt. I chopped when I should have torn. I did all of the wrong things at some point. And because of all of these things, I can walk into any kitchen and make something delicious."
"I’d say invest in your health by regularly exercising. My wife got me into running when we were in our twenties, and it has been a big part of our lives ever since (I’m 63). Nothing crazy, no marathons, we don’t time ourselves or follow a strict training plan, we just pick a route, go at our own pace, and have fun. We still go 3-4 miles, 3-4x per week."
"I also started working out at the gym 3x a week with free weights in my 30s, and have been doing it ever since. I’m no Schwarzenegger, believe me, but I can still work around the house, move furniture, shovel snow and have fun tossing a ball around with the kids without injuring or exhausting myself. Between aerobic fitness and weights, I’ve been able to stay remarkably healthy my entire adult life, knock on wood. It’s also been great for my mental health and managing stress."
"You don’t have to go nuts and set unreasonably strict requirements for exercise goals or diet that a normal person can’t possibly maintain - just do the best you can, make exercising a few times per week a habit, eat a reasonable diet (avoid fried stuff, eat fruit and veggies, lay off the sweets), and 40 years later you’ll really thank yourself, believe me!"
Plan AheadMake It Rain Money GIF by yvngswagGiphy
"Debt can really ruin your life. If you want to take on a lot of it, make sure you have a good plan and run it by a lot of smart people first."
Debt. Everyone should learn about avoiding debt as early as possible.
This whole list should be taught in Universities.
It's amazing to think how, as times change, so do the quality of products.
But this also includes items that were once considered commonplace that are now seen as vintage or even luxury.
For those who were around at the time when an item was first introduced, it can be surprising to see how the availability of that item changes over time, and even frustrating when it becomes increasingly expensive.
Redditor zombiem00se asked:
"What was normal 20 or 30 years ago, but is considered a luxury now?"
"New furniture made out of real wood."
"It's legit why I started woodworking. Even my s**tty projects that I'm unhappy with are infinitely better than the junk in stores."
"I hate that everything is a subscription now. I miss being able to just straight up buy Microsoft Office. Now you need a subscription."
"There's a hidden way to buy a license, but it has very basic functionality and limited apps, so it's kinda useless."
"Even my printer needs a d**n subscription to use the ink that came with it (which I hadn't realized or I wouldn't have bought it)."
"The days of paying no more than 30% of your income in rent."
"I lived in poverty housing and this was how they determined our rent. It was 30% of mom's income, regardless of how much she was making."
"That was 20 years ago, not sure what starving kids do today."
"Not being expected to be reachable 24/7."
"Yes, f**k this. I hate being bothered about work when I'm off work. I used to have a boss that expected me to answer when I wasn't at work so he would b***h and moan about it. Then I became known as the one who never answers."
"Concert Ticket prices."
"Sure does seem like ticket prices went from $50 to $200 really f**king fast."
"Household products that didn't break within the first few years of use. My grandma had the same fridge from 1993 for a good while before deciding to switch to a newer, bigger option two years ago. Yes, it broke within those two years. My mom's wedding cookware is still going strong 25 years later, but whenever she needs new pans, they start flaking Teflon into the food within a few months."
"Retirement plan built-in to your job."
"Or just retiring in general, lol (laughing out loud)."
"Farmer's markets. You used to be able to go down and get fruit and vegetables cheaper than the grocery store. Now it seems like they charge three times more than stores do."
"Being able to get things repaired instead of buying new."
Right to Privacy
"Privacy used to be implicit. It was just there. You didn't have to think about it."
"Now it's explicit. You have to seek it out and take steps to ensure it remains in force."
The Good Ole Days
"Being left the f**k alone."
"Buying something and just like, owning it."
"Playing a video game without an internet connection."
"Not having to provide your email address for every single f**king thing you do."
"I still miss the days of just putting a game in, turning it on and you go right into playing it. The game alone was the sole focus and purpose of the console. The GameCube is the last system I remember playing that had this."
Bins of Photo Albums Under the Bed
"Photographs on actual photographic paper. I know it's still possible but oh so rare."
"Good quality fabric in clothing. I have clothes from the 90s (and 80s from my mother) that still hold up today. These days, I'm lucky if my shirt isn't saggy and misshapen within a year."
FriYay and TGIF
"Being able to go out every Friday after work and being able to afford it."
We're always moving forward and looking forward to future advancements, but sometimes, it's nice to look back on where we've been and what we miss about the old days. Sometimes, it may even be a little sad to think of what's not available anymore, but at least we got to experience it.