Acceptance of another derogatory term has come under attack. The Japanese American Citizens League is campaigning to rid newspapers and telephone directories of the use of the word Jap.
This term dates back to World War II and a low point in U.S. history when fearful Americans placed people of Japanese descent into internment camps. Now the group claims, use of the word is rampant, not only in everyday speech, but in more than 2,000 listings in directories because some places, such as car repair shops, use the term in the name of their businesses.
This is disappointing, especially thinking back to the cruel treatment Japanese American citizens endured 50 years ago. They shouldn’t still have to be reminded of the unfairness.
Because the word is often used to describe Japanese people, business owners may not see anything wrong with using the term in the shop names. However, people need to understand the connotation of the word and stop using it. It is a derogatory term, and, unlike some derogatory terms, it represents an injustice experienced by a group of people.
The government has apologized for the internment, recognizing that it was wrong. However, that apology doesn’t mean much when the victims and their descendants are still suffering from the aftermath.
Florida residents can show their agreement with the JACL’s campaign by boycotting businesses with the derogatory term in their name. This is a term many use without thinking twice, until now, and it’s relieving this group is campaigning for this to end.
Furthermore, everyone, including students, should make a point not to use the word while speaking about Japanese people. There is no excuse for using this, or any other ethnic or racial slur.