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Comparison Of 2 Ethnic Groups

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Lilly

Eng 112 - 005

May 9, 2007

Name two ethnic or cultural groups other than African Americans and Jews that have made stellar contributions to the development of the united states. List at least ten achievers from each group, and try to form intergroup pairs as Cornel West does in his essay. Also compare and contrast the groups as a whole and share your overall perspective on their achievements.

Asian Americans and Native Americans

Our America is so diverse that it is very difficult to single out any one ethnicity and their contributions to our country. The Native Americans and Asian culture are so different, yet the similarities in their significant addition to our country is so remarkable. From the Native Americans' skill of scouting out the enemies during war, to the Asian Americans that have stood on the front line helping us fight for rights that they were sometimes deprived of, these two groups have helped America in significant ways. We have also been entertained by inventions brought into our society by Native Americans thousands of years ago, as well as, inventions brought to us by Asian Americans that we use for our entertainment today. What if we would have lost a great deal of what we have today during World War II? How would we be able to function without some of the things that we have and use today to live? These two groups are significant in the way our society functions today and without their contributions we would be missing a great deal of our past times, as well as, the reasons our country continues to remain as free as it is today.

During World War II, Native Americans as well as Asian Americans of Japanese decent, were of great use to the United States military. A great majority of the Native American population served in the U.S. military between 1941 and 1945. American Indians took such great pride in defending this country during this time. They invested fifty million dollars in war bonds and contributed greatly to the red cross, as well as, the army and navy relief funds. To the Native Americans, strength, bravery and pride were all part of being Indian warriors, therefore their fighting was a type of cultural - self fulfillment. The United States army used the language of Navajo Indians to create an undecipherable code during World War II that was used to send messages to different branches of the military without the enemy catching on. This was very important to the U.S. military during this time and only twenty nine Navajo soldiers were able to decipher this code.

Many people wouldn't know that while the language of the Navajo Indians was of great importance during this time, so was the ability to translate Japanese. Many Japanese American soldiers worked for military intelligence services helping different branches of the military in translating radio transmissions that would stop attacks on various American military bases. The soldiers that were part of 442 regimental combat team were the most decorated in the United States military. Members of this unit earned over eighteen thousand individual decorations and were the only combat team to ever receive five presidential citations. All of its members were of Japanese decent.

Although the significant contributions made by these two groups were very important, they went through many obstacles pre-war and post-war. After the attacks on pearl harbor, Japanese Americans were very distrusted. Americans began to judge anyone from the Japanese race fearing that they would commit treason and aid the enemy. While dozens of Japanese Americans claimed conscientious objector status, many Japanese men and women contributed to the United States during World War II by entering the military and working as translators, interpreters, or intelligence officers. While the Japanese were judged pre-war, the Native Americans were judged post-war. Some tribes gave the war veterans a hero's welcome, while other tribes insisted that members of their tribe returning from war be cleansed prior to having contact with other tribal members.

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