Excerpts from Landscapes of Injustice Panel: Japanese Internment During WW2

Above: “Truck transporting Japanese Canadian men to Tashme camp”. Image and caption found here.

On Saturday, January 14th I attended a panel called “Dispossession and Internment” put on by Landscapes of Injustice at the Vancouver Public Library downtown.

Landscapes of Injustice, in their own words, is a group that:

“[…] is dedicated to recovering and grappling with this history. We will research and tell the history of the dispossession and engage Canadians in a discussion of its implications. This history still matters. Members of our society continue to be unjustly marginalized, differences among us can still seem unsurmountable, and future moments of national crisis will inevitably arise. Our team shares the conviction that Canadian society will be better equiped to address these challenges if we continue to engage the most difficult aspects of our past.”

I was moved and shocked by what the panelists had to say as their experiences were shared by my own grandparents and great-grandparents. I live tweeted comments from the panelists during the event, I expand on what I tweeted below.

From Mary Kitigawa

“They [the Canadian government] called it a ‘program’ but it was really a slave labour situation…it was terrible”

 

“We paid for our own imprisonment and by the end of the war we were all destitute”

Above, panelist and local Vancouver activist Mary Kitigawa was referring to how Canadians of Japanese descent had their savings slowly depleted by the government during World War Two. Having had their personal property seized as well, these people had nothing to return to once the war was over and had to start over again.

Kitigawa also spoke of one of the first places her family were sent to be interned, a farm in Alberta. She said of the farmer:

“He said ‘all Japs should be treated as criminals,’ and that he had every intention of treating us as criminals”

From Tosh Kitigawa

Above: “Japanese Canadians being processed in Slocan”. Image and caption found here.

Panelist Tosh Kitigawa said the political climate in BC was especially hostile:

“Racist politicians in British Columbia were relentless in trying to remove Japanese-Canadians from the province”

He also noted the long-lasting effects of institutional racism saying,

“The war ended in 1945, but we [my family] were under house arrest until 1948”.

I believe it was also Tosh Kitigawa who remarked on how, after the war, the parent generation of those interned had to return to work. This was challenging, because they were all older. This, combined with the continued atmosphere of racial prejudice against Japanese Canadians, meant a lot of grown men and women ended up with menial jobs that could barely provide for their families. This was especially degrading as many of them had had successful careers before the war–an entire lifetime of work erased by the Canadian government and their racist communities.

Hostility on Saltspring Island after WW2

Mary Kitigawa’s family returned to Saltspring Island after their internment, and were met with extreme hostility from their community, RCMP, and even their own church. I was especially horrified by these stories–the war was over, but prejudice clearly still ran deep in our Canadian communities.

“The RCMP said to us ‘the services of the RCMP are not for people of your race,’ and so we felt very unprotected.”

 

“I will personally come down here and wipe out your family”

The latter threat was uttered by an RCMP officer to Kitigawa’s brother. Upon his return home, he managed to start and run a successful business (against all odds, I might add). His success rubbed other local business owners and the RCMP the wrong way, and he received death threats like the one above if he did not cease running a strong business.

Above: “Group of Japanese Canadian girls participating in Bon-Odori (summer festival) at Greenwood camp.” Image and caption found here.

Can you even imagine? It just goes to show that policing bodies like the RCMP and police even here in Canada have a long history of openly discriminating against minorities, a racist tradition that continues today.

Kitigawa said her family very regularly received threats of death and violence. She said her parents were so brave for returning and staying despite this outrageously volatile environment.

“The Anglican church we were all baptized in said we were no longer welcome, and they felt that we were evil people”

The above anecdote from Mary Kitigawa was especially heartbreaking for me. She said she and her siblings were all baptized in this church, and her family were regular churchgoers before the war. She commented on how, before her family was interned, they had even helped to raise money for a new organ for the church.

Despite her family’s commitment and involvement to their church, their own religious community had been poisoned by the racist atmosphere WW2 had in Canada, and her family were shunned upon their return. That must have been devastating; a place of worship provides strength and hope for so many, to be rejected by your own church after such an ordeal must have been a blow to the spirit.

Overall, the panel was very moving and informative. I’m glad to see such work continues in Canada, even decades after this dispossession took place. The relevance of this project to the government’s attitude and care towards minorities cannot be understated–we must remember so we don’t repeat past mistakes.

Learn more about Landscapes of Injustice and the Japanese-Canadian internment during World War Two here.

All images throughout from unidentified photographers, do not reflect any of the panelists quoted in this post. Images and descriptions found on the UBC Digitizers Blog, here.

Further Reading: Racism in Academia, Then and Now

Covers & Content Annual Review 2016, Part 3: Flare

The 2016 publishing year is over for our three favourite Canadian fashion magazines, so it’s time to look back on every issue printed this year by Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare, to see how diverse they were overall compared to last year. Up next is FASHION!

For a review of the Covers & Content project, please check out the FAQ page here.

Closet Feminist Terminology

Whiteout Issue: an issue of a fashion magazine where neither the cover star nor models booked/used for any of the major editorials are people of colour.

Token Diversity Spread: When a fashion magazine books/uses an ensemble of models, including some models of colour or models representing other minorities in the fashion world (i.e., plus size models or visibly older models), but are careful not to allow the minorities chosen to make up the majority of the spread or the majority of models chosen.

Has FASHION improved at all over the years? Check out our data from the last three years.

FASHION 2013 Annual Review

FASHION 2014 Annual Review

FASHION 2015 Annual Review

Did you miss Part 1 of our 2016 review focused on Elle Canada? Check it out here.

Part 2 of our 2016 review focused on FASHION can be found here.

***

This review is bittersweet, because as of January, 2017, FLARE will no longer be doing print issues. Flare was not perfect, but it’s reporting was timely and interesting. We will truly miss this Canadian fashion magazine.

That being said, did this glossy go out with a bang or a whimper? Read on to find out.

JANUARY

The January 2016 issue of Flare was technically its Winter 2015 issue, covering December 2015 as well.

Grimes was on the cover. There was one fashion editorial in this issue featuring one thin, white model, making this issue of Flare a Whiteout Issue.

FEBRUARY

Ilana and Abbi of Broad City were on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial in this issue featuring one thin, white model, making this issue of Flare a Whiteout Issue as well.

MARCH

Rebel Wilson was on the cover.

For a third month in a row, Flare put out a Whiteout Issue–the one fashion editorial this month featured one thin, white model.

APRIL

The April cover of Flare featured Ania Boniecka, Sonya Esman, Alanna Durkovich, Kayla Seah, and Dajana Rads. It bears noting that the cover was really more of a tedious Joe Fresh advertorial.

There was one fashion editorial in the April issue, starring one thin, white model.

MAY

Shay Mitchell was on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial this month starring one thin, white model.

JUNE/JULY

The Summer issue of Flare featured Ellie Goulding on the cover.

There were two fashion editorials in this issue. The first starred a thin, mixed-race model, the second starred Caitriona Balfe who is thin and white.

AUGUST

Herieth Paul was on the cover.

Above: Herieth Paul in Flare’s August issue.

There were two fashion editorials, counting Paul’s cover story. The second editorial starred one thin, white model.

SEPTEMBER

Priyanka Chopra was on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial in this issue, starring one thin, white model.

OCTOBER

Bella Hadid was on the cover.

Above: From the second fashion editorial in Flare October 2016

There were two editorials in this issue including Hadid’s cover story. The second editorial featured three thin models, two of them were women of colour.

NOVEMBER

Mandy Moore was on the cover.

Above: Evy Jane stars in the one fashion editorial in Flare November 2016

There was one fashion editorial in this month’s issue, starring one thin model of colour.

DECEMBER

Aww, Flare’s last print issue 🙁

Anna Kendrick was on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial in this month’s issue, starring one thin model of colour.

Covers & Content Annual Review 2016, Part 2: FASHION

The 2016 publishing year is over for our three favourite Canadian fashion magazines, so it’s time to look back on every issue printed this year by Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare, to see how diverse they were overall compared to last year. Up next is FASHION!

For a review of the Covers & Content project, please check out the FAQ page here.

Closet Feminist Terminology

Whiteout Issue: an issue of a fashion magazine where neither the cover star nor models booked/used for any of the major editorials are people of colour.

Token Diversity Spread: When a fashion magazine books/uses an ensemble of models, including some models of colour or models representing other minorities in the fashion world (i.e., plus size models or visibly older models), but are careful not to allow the minorities chosen to make up the majority of the spread or the majority of models chosen.

Has FASHION improved at all over the years? Check out our data from the last three years.

FASHION 2013 Annual Review

FASHION 2014 Annual Review

FASHION 2015 Annual Review

Did you miss Part 1 of our 2016 review focused on Elle Canada? Check it out here.

***

FASHION is such an odd magazine. It is by far and away the most popular Canadian fashion magazine, arguably featuring the more “aspirational” aspects of a traditional fashion magazine. As such, the content is usually quite dry and conservative. The reporting is a snooze, with the exception of the cover stories which are done by Elio Iannacci (whose feminist reporting and engaging interviews are a CF favourite).

This year, FASHION remained somewhat of an enigma. On the one hand, FASHION came out on top with the most issues featuring a woman of colour on the cover. On the other hand, it tied with Elle Canada for the most Whiteout Issues, which indicates the issues were either super awesome and diverse, or bizarrely whitewashed.

FASHION also stands out in 2016 for publishing two issues featuring an Asian woman on the cover (Soo Joo Park and Michelle Phan)–neither Elle Canada nor Flare managed to publish even one issue with an Asian woman on the cover, though they did publish issues with mixed race women.

That being said, FASHION is also unique in that it is the only Canadian fashion magazine this year that did not have a black woman on the cover solo. Elle Canada had Beyoncé, and Flare had Herieth Paul exclusively. Normani Kordei shared a cover with the rest of Fifth Harmony in the Summer issue of FASHION.

And now for the month-by-month breakdown!

JANUARY

FASHION does Winter issues, covering December/January. As such, the January issue of 2016 features the same data as their December 2015 issue. Chiara Ferragni was on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial in the December 2015/January 2016 issue of FASHION, and it starred one thin, white model. The editorial featured a racist collection, rather adding insult to injury considering this issue of FASHION was a Whiteout Issue.

FEBRUARY

Above: Natalie Dormer in the Feb 2016 issue of FASHION

The February issue was also a Whiteout Issue, starring Natalie Dormer on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial in this issue starring one thin, white model.

MARCH

For a third month in a row, FASHION produced a Whiteout Issue. Olivia Palermo was on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial in this issue starring one thin, white model.

APRIL

Finally, FASHION showed a little bit of diversity on their pages with Soo Joo Park on the cover (image from the shoot below).

There was one fashion editorial in this issue starring one thin, white model.

MAY

Olivia Munn was on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial in this issue starring one thin, white model.

JUNE/JULY

Fifth Harmony was on the cover of the Summer issue (covering June and July 2016), comprised of Dinah Jane Hansen, Ally Brooke Hernandez, Normani Kordei, Camila Cabello, and Lauren Jauregui.

There was one fashion editorial this month, starring one thin, white model.

AUGUST

Michelle Phan was on the cover.

Above: from the August 2016 issue of FASHION

There was one fashion editorial in this issue starring one thin, mixed-race model.

SEPTEMBER 

Karlie Kloss was the cover star of a boring Joe Fresh advertorial.

There are two fashion editorials in this issue. The first stars one thin, white model. The second stars Canadian mixed-race model Mackenzie Hamilton.

OCTOBER

Kate Bosworth was on the cover.

There was one fashion editorial this month, starring one thin, white model. This means that the October issue of FASHION was a Whiteout Issue.

NOVEMBER

Tatiana Maslany was on the cover.

Above: from FASHION November 2016

There were two fashion editorials in this issue. One starred one thin, white model. The second starred one thin model of colour.

DECEMBER

Above: from the FASHION Winter 2016 cover story

The December (and the January 2017 issue of FASHION) issue starred Hailee Steinfeld on the cover.

There were  two fashion editorials in this issue. One starred a thin, white model, and the second one starred one thin Latina/mixed race model.

Covers & Content Annual Review 2016, Part 1: Elle Canada

The 2016 publishing year is over for our three favourite Canadian fashion magazines, so it’s time to look back on every issue printed this year by Elle Canada, Fashion, and Flare, to see how diverse they were overall compared to last year. Up first is Elle Canada!

For a review of the Covers & Content project, please check out the FAQ page here.

Closet Feminist Terminology

Whiteout Issue: an issue of a fashion magazine where neither the cover star nor models booked/used for any of the major editorials are people of colour.

Token Diversity Spread: When a fashion magazine books/uses an ensemble of models, including some models of colour or models representing other minorities in the fashion world (i.e., plus size models or visibly older models), but are careful not to allow the minorities chosen to make up the majority of the spread or the majority of models chosen.

Has Elle Canada improved at all? Check out our data from the last three years.

Elle Canada 2013 Annual Review

Elle Canada 2014 Annual Review

Elle Canada 2015 Annual Review

***

cf_2016_ellecanada_allissues

Elle Canada has made some steady improvements since last year. In 2016, they had four cover stars of colour–last year, they had none. Diversity within the pages has also improved. This year, Elle Canada had four Whiteout Issues, and last year, they had five.

Another big win for this magazine–this year, Elle Canada was the only magazine of the three studied here to do a fashion editorial featuring a plus size model. That would be their October issue starring Ashley Graham.

cf_2016_coverscontent_ellecanada_tablesummary

And now the month-by-month breakdown.

JANUARY

The one and only fashion editorial in this month’s issue starred cover star Kate Bock, a thin, white model, which means that this month was a Whiteout Issue.

FEBRUARY

elle-canada-mackenzie-hamilton

Rita Ora was on the cover. There was one fashion editorial this month and it starred mixed-race model Mackenzie Hamilton.

MARCH 

ellecanada_march2016

There were three cover stars for this issue: Lilly Singh, Ebony Oshunrinde (Wondagirl), and Maria Qamar.

Despite the diversity of the cover, there were two fashion editorials this month, and both starred thin, white models.

APRIL

The April issue of Elle Canda was a Whiteout Issue. Iggy Azalea was on the cover. There were two fashion editorials this month, both starring one thin, white model each.

MAY

Beyoncé was on the cover.

elle-canada-15th-anniversary-featuring-beyonce-4

There were two fashion editorials in this issue. The first starred two thin, white models. The second starred one thin, white model.

JUNE

Elizabeth Olsen was on the cover.

There were two fashion editorials in this issue. The first starred on thin model of colour. The second editorial was a particularly offensive editorial starring one thin, white model.

JULY

Amanda Seyfried was on the cover.

There were two fashion editorials in this issue. the first starred one thin, white model. The second starred a thin model of colour.

AUGUST

ellecanada_august2016

Charlize Theron was on the cover.

ellecanada_august2016_02

There was one fashion editorial, starring an ensemble of five models. Two of the models were women of colour.

SEPTEMBER

Demi Lovato was on the cover.

There are two fashion editorials in this issue. Both star thin, white models.

OCTOBER

ellecanada_ashleygraham_october

Ashley Graham was on the cover.

There were two fashion editorials in this issue. One starred a thin, white model, and the other starred one thin, Latina model.

NOVEMBER 

Dakota Fanning was on the cover.

The November 2016 issue was a Whiteout Issue, as there were two fashion editorials in this issue, both starring thin, white models.

DECEMBER

Miranda Kerr was on the cover.

There were two fashion editorials this month. One starred one thin, Latina model. The other starred one thin, white model

UPDATED: I Read 50 Books by Women in 2016.

18490533

In 2016 I read fifty books total, forty-eight fifty-two books total, fifty of them are by women. I have highlighted my favourites below.

  1. Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth
  2. The Long-Winded Lady: Notes from The New Yorker by Maeve Brennan
  3. Gutshot: Stories by Amelia Gray
  4. Listen to the Squawking Chicken: A Memoir (sort of) by Elaine Lui
  5. Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays by Joan Didion
  6. Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth
  7. The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente 
  8. White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
  9. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosch
  10. Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
  11. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  12. Speed Dreaming: Stories by Nicole Haroutunian
  13. An Unofficial Rose by Iris Murdoch
  14. The Color Master by Aimee Bender
  15. Tempting the Gods: The Selected Stories of Tanith Lee, Volume One by Tanith Lee
  16. My Ántonia by Willa Cather
  17. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  18. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  19. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
  20. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
  21. The Birthgrave by Tanith Lee
  22. Dancing Girls: Stories by Margaret Atwood
  23. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente 
  24. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  25. Don’t Lose Track Vol. 1: 40 selected Articles, Essays, and Q&As by Jordannah Elizabeth
  26. All over Creation by Ruth Ozeki
  27. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
  28. Pink Noises: women on electronic music and sound by Tara Rodgers
  29. The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
  30. Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur
  31. Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
  32. Flight from the Enchanter by Iris Murdoch
  33. Letters Home: Correspondence 1950-1963 by Sylvia Plath
  34. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
  35. Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey
  36. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
  37. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  38. The Electrical Field by Kerri Sakamoto
  39. Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery
  40. Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
  41. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  42. Waiting by Ha Jin
  43. What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours: Stories by Helen Oyeyemi
  44. My Year of Meats by Ruth L. Ozeki
  45. Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman
  46. The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats & Ex-Countries by Jessa Crispin
  47. Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
  48. Space Is Just A Starry Night: Short Fiction by Tanith Lee
  49. The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by P.D. James
  50. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
  51. In the Country we Love by Diane Guerrero
  52. One of Ours by Willa Cather

Here are some tidbits about the books above.

mitford

The Mitford novels were hilarious and I want to read more of her work. Elaine Lui’s memoir had me in stitches also.

Helen Oyeyemi continues to be one of my favourite authors, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours and White is for Witching were amazing.

oyeyemi

For these troubling times, I would strongly recommend reading Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road and anything my Ruth Ozeki. Ozeki’s books are about ordinary women who end up doing amazing activism in page-turning, addictive stories full of compelling characters. Steinem’s book is inspiring and very much focuses on the positivity of humanity in a way that inspires hope,

I’m pretty sure my wedding vows will be one of Rupi Kaur’s poems in Milk & Honey.

I read some awesome books about women and music this year, but my favourite was Don’t Lose Track Vol. 1: 40 selected Articles, Essays, and Q&As by Jordannah Elizabeth

I’m not one for reading mystery/thriller books that contain murder, but the P.D. James short stories and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History were awesome! It’s fun to read something different.

I keep thinking about Valente’s Radiance. I think it’s because I’m re-watching Battlestar Galactica right now.

The Closet Feminist is big on #ReadWomen. Check out more awesome books here:

My 2014 reading list

My 2015 reading list 

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