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1.18.2017

This Old Headline Reminds Us That Some Things Change... and Some Things Don't.

"This boy was born here and has every right of an American citizen."



There's nothing like a 75-year-old newspaper headline to remind you that some things, unfortunately, do not change. This front page Seattle Times story from April 24, 1942 reports on a man who was charged and found guilty of dragging a Junior Safety Patrol member from a school crossing because the boy was Japanese.

11-year-old Roy Tsuboi, a member of the Junior Safety Patrol, was on duty when 67-year-old Karl R. Paykull reportedly grabbed him, dragged him down the street and forced him into a car in an attempt to take him to police headquarters. With the United States currently at war with Japan, this guy apparently thought a Japanese American kid shouldn't be allowed to, um, help people safely cross the street.



"Paykull, an engineer living at 1258 John St., testified that he did not believe it was right for Japanese to be members of the patrol and that he merely wanted to take the boy the police headquarters to see if the Japanese had that right," the Times reports. That is some serious racist bullshit.

Fortunately, the judge at the time agreed that it was, indeed, racist bullshit.

"If we were at war with Ireland, do you think we should discharge all Irishmen from the New York Police Department?" Judge James Hodson asked Paykull. "There is no racial prejudice in the Junior Safety Patrol. This boy was born here and has every right of an American citizen."

That is definitely the entitlement of an old white man, to think it's totally okay to grab an 11-year-old crossing guard off the street, force him into someone's car and question his loyalty and citizenship. Paykull was found guilty of disorderly conduct and fined $25. Make American great again, am I right?

Reading this story from 75 years ago, you can't help but be reminded of some of the similar contemporary acts of ignorance and intolerance we've been experiencing lately. Some things really do not change.

And oh yeah. Just days after this story was published, the order came down: thousands of Japanese Americans in Seattle and the surrounding area were forcibly removed and incarcerated in concentration camps.

(Thanks, Bif.)