+
I made my daughter cry by sharing the history of a local landmark. She needed to hear it.

I made my 11-year old daughter cry yesterday.

We were driving to the beach, and we passed the Portland Expo Center. It's not the usual way we go, but the traffic was bad and this would let us avoid downtown.

I asked her if she knew anything about World War 2, and she knew a little… she remembered, for instance, that in that war the US was fighting against Germany and Japan.

So I pointed out the Expo building to her, and I told her, "During the war, the US government was afraid that Americans with Japanese heritage might be spies or might side with Japan, so they gathered them all up in that building. It was a livestock building. They moved all the cattle out and moved all the people in, and they kept them there for almost a year."

"Did they kill them?" she asked.

"No," I said. "But they all lost their jobs. Many of them lost their businesses, their houses, and most of their possessions."

She didn't say anything after that, but she's a sensitive kid and I looked over to see that she was softly crying, wiping the tears from her eyes with the sleeve of her sweatshirt.

Why would I do that to my kid?

Well it's not because of "CRT" or because I hate white people, or because I want her to. It's not because I'm cruel or overly fixated on race. It's not because of political correctness or politics.

It's because things like this still happen today and they'll happen again in the future and when that day comes I don't want her to stick her head in the sand and say, "Well that could never happen in the Land of the Free," but instead be one of the people standing up to say, "Not this again, this is wrong, how dare you."


It's because she has Asian-American friends, and when they are in danger or the victims of Anti-Asian racism or violence I don't want her to be confused or surprised, I want her to be able to stand in the gap to protect, support, and comfort her friends.

It's because she has Latina friends who have been deported. It's because she has Asian-American friends who have family members who have been spit on or harassed. And just because she's 11 and white doesn't mean she should be shielded from that… her friends of color aren't. She's old enough to know that the world her friends live in is the same world she's in.

And yes, she needs to know that these things happened in living memory. That right now there's a kind older woman who volunteers at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon who will tell you the story of when her family packed their bags and met at the Expo Center. She'll tell you about how they stayed in a cattle stall with a sheet for a door, and how the flypaper hung over her, heavy with flies, while her family tried to figure out what was going to happen to them all, what their own government was going to do to them (the answer being, send them to a camp in California and then transfer them to a camp in Idaho where they would live one family to a room, sleeping on cots, the guards outside the camp with their rifles, barbed wire on the fences. The answer being that some of their fathers and brothers got out early if they volunteered to fight, but the families remained in the camps, imprisoned by their own government, not "innocent until proven guilty" but "presumed guilty because of their ethnicity.").

She needs to know that if every story she ever hears about the USA is "we are the good guys" that she's listening to liars. We have done some incredible, beautiful things in the world (and still are), and we have done some horrific, evil things in the world (and still are).

Because we're not raising her to be a good American, we're raising her to be a good person.

And because when we're driving through the streets of our cities, the history matters. We should be able to point out, "This church belonged to Black people until the city decided it was time to revitalize downtown and they forced all the African Americans north, out of downtown." We should be able to say, "This is Fort Vancouver" and also know that the coming of that fort meant that in a span of barely thirty years entire cultures of Native people were nearly wiped out by smallpox and other diseases… and many of the remaining peoples were forced onto the worst pieces of land at the threat of death so that the great American empire could continue to expand.

I tell my daughter all of this not because of some political agenda. I tell her because it's true.

I tell her this because if she's going to be a good citizen she needs to know what to fight against. She needs to know who we've been to recognize who we are.

I tell her this because I love America and I want us to be better.

I tell her this because I love her and I don't want her to grow up closing her eyes to injustice.

I tell her this because she needs to know that when we talk about camps built for racist reasons in World War 2 we call them "concentration camps" in Germany and we call them "internment camps" in California or Idaho. She needs to know that we try to hide it, to soften it, to make it somehow something understandable rather than something evil.

I tell her this because once upon a time on May 2nd, 1942, three thousand six hundred and seventy-six Japanese Americans showed up at the Expo center carrying their bags – they could only bring what they could carry -- or carrying their infants and toddlers, and were moved into cattle stalls. They lived there, in our city, for five months until we could get our camps built, get the barbed wire installed, get the guard posts filled, get the trains ready to pack with our own citizens.

I tell her because their story – OUR story – matters. She needs to know.

I tell her all this because if she's never cried about something America has done, she doesn't know America.

This post was first published on the author's Facebook page. Find more writing from Matt Mikolatos on his website.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

Keep ReadingShow less
Gen Ishihara/Facebook

"AI art isn't cute."

Odds are you’ve probably seen those Lensa AI avatars floating around social media. You know, the app that turns even the most basic of selfies into fantasy art masterpieces? I wouldn’t be surprised if you have your own series of images filling up your photo bank right now. Who wouldn’t want to see themselves looking like a badass video game character or magical fairy alien?

While getting these images might seem like a bit of innocent, inexpensive fun, many are unaware that it comes at a heavy price to real digital artists whose work has been copied to make it happen. A now-viral Facebook and Instagram post, made by a couple of digital illustrators, explains how.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

Keep ReadingShow less

A Home Depot store in Newington, Connecticut.

One of Home Depot’s core values is "doing the right thing." The company explains it as exercising "good judgment by ‘doing the right thing’ instead of just ‘doing things right.’ We strive to understand the impact of our decisions, and we accept responsibility for our actions.”

The value is so important that it is written on all of its employees' work vests.

There’s no better example of employees following the company’s values than an incident that happened late last month at a Home Depot store in Bellevue, Tennessee. This story was originally reported by WSMV in Nashville, Tennessee, and we thought it was such a good deed that we wanted to share it far and wide through our Upworthy audience.

Keep ReadingShow less