From An Anonymous Source: An Off the Record Memoir of Politics
In , she attempted to block the release of nonviolent second-strike offenders from overcrowded state prisons on the grounds that their paroling would result in prisons losing an important labor pool. Twice in , she brought criminal charges related to human trafficking against Backpage. In considering the gaps between this track record and the smoothed-over platitudes of The Truths We Hold , one story Harris tells is particularly instructive.
Is she going to have to explain to her employer where she was? Is she going to get fired? Harris never offers specifics of the larger story, and disappointingly, the text never questions their innate criminality.
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Harris acknowledges in The Truths We Hold that drug crimes were and are among the most disproportionately prosecuted offenses. In her home state and across the country, these kinds of raids tend to target black and Latino populations, upending lives and communities with little evidence of harm committed. She notes the deep bias baked into policing systems and affirms that the law does not treat all people equally. She endorses the legalization of marijuana with caveats , despite having literally laughed at the thought in , when her Republican opponent ran to the left of her on the issue.
A forthright explanation of her intellectual evolution, especially on criminal justice, would have more organically bridged the gap between the two texts. Often he learned from the mistakes of others. A district attorney had been too passive or disorganized, an attorney general too partisan, a governor too indiscreet in his public utterances, a chief justice not forceful enough in securing unanimity among his colleagues.
Regularly, however, Warren learned at his own expense. Financially pressed in an early campaign, Warren took a contribution from an independent oil contractor, creating embarrassment when he later attacked oil interests.
Thereafter he never allowed himself to be beholden to a benefactor, extolling nonpartisanship and denouncing conflicts of interests in public officials. The Japanese episode was a learning experience for Warren. His declaration about civil rights and the use of arbitrary governmental power was no campaign pap; he sprinkled similar pronouncements throughout his Supreme Court opinions. The Japanese relocation program was a vivid example of the use of arbitrary governmental power at the expense of the rights of a virtually helpless minority.
Two themes had intertwined to produce the Japanese relocation policy: military necessity and racial or ethnic stereotyping. The Japanese should be evacuated from the Pacific Coast, so the argument ran, because of the distinct possibility of sabotage preparatory to an invasion.
An invasion by Japanese forces was possible because, in and early , Japan controlled the Pacific. If one believed, as Warren did, in preparedness and civil defense, and if one thought that potential Japanese sabotage was peculiarly difficult to detect, then evacuation could be justified as a military necessity even though it was a drastic measure.
It was on these grounds that the military officials re sponsible for the relocation policy rationalized it; it was on these grounds that Warren supported it. Looking back at the episode, though, one could not gainsay its racist aspects. Because no reported cases of sabotage on the part of Japanese-Americans had emerged prior to the relocation decision, the decision assumed that something about the Japanese community on the West Coast—the indistinguishable features of its members to whites, or the purported cohesiveness and inscrutability of Orientals—made the prospect of sabotage among Japanese a vital military problem.
Sabotage among German-Americans or Italian-Americans, on the other hand, was a routine intelligence matter. Reflecting on the Japanese episode, Warren probably confronted the element of racial and ethnic stereotyping in his own thought. Board of Education in , Warren made no overt reference to, or repudiation of, the Japanese episode: at that time, and at least as late as , he did not see Brown as contradicting the relocation policy. The ideals of racial harmony, equality, and civil liberties that Brown fostered guided Warren throughout his tenure as chief justice; nothing he did in those years was inconsistent with his stand on civil rights.
But the Japanese relocation decision was.
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A man seemingly self-contained and resolute on the surface, Warren was capable of accommodation and growth within. Whenever the issue of the internment comes up, apologists and closet racists use the lame excuse "but we were at war. Other closet racists try to mitigate America's shame by pointing out how racist Japan is.
All true, but this very inability to distinguish between people in Japan and Americans of Japanese descent betrays hidden racism. All right, by this kind of sick logic I have a right to take revenge on you just because some white people you had nothing to do with did me wrong. Lastly, the criterion for internability one-eight of Japanese blood was exactly the criterion Hitler used in his Nurnberg Laws to determine who was legally a Jew.
Interesting similarity, huh?
Anyone making excuses for the internment is either a racist or a fool. I have no beef against sweet, open-minded whites of today's generation. But when it comes to Archie Bunker's age group, what Imperial Japan did to them was no worse than what they did to thousands of African-American lynching victims. View cart Subscribe Login.
Thatcher’s ‘Anonymous Source’ Goes Public With His ‘Kill the Messenger’ Memoirs
How to Give Why Give? How to Give Store. Edward White. III The detained Japanese were eventually released from the relocation centers in January , despite considerable protest by various California newspapers and organizations. IV In the fall of Warren showed me a draft of his memoirs which included a chapter on his years as attorney general of California. Retrieved Retrieved February 28, — via Twitter. February 25, The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, BBC News. November 30, Retrieved December 3, Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
Retrieved May 24, Press Herald.