Uproar after American-Japanese book was stuck in Muskego classroom
MUSKEGO – To Two America’s, where we show you a side of American history that some of you may know and some of you may not.
We talk about what happened in Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. The idea of having Muskego High School students read this book, which delves into this history, was quickly abandoned. Now, leaders in the Muskego-Norway school district face an uproar.
This is after a member of the school curriculum committee pointed out offensive remarks she believes her peers made while reviewing the book at the Coalition of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI ) from Wisconsin.
“What she passed on to us were the comments that it’s too diverse a book, he said it’s too sad. It doesn’t have a balanced point of view,” said Ron Kuramoto, AAPI Coalition of Wisconsin. “Asian American history is American history. It’s part of what weaves the fabric of the country.”
At the center of it all is the novel titled “When the Emperor Was Divine” by Julie Otsuka. It is based on true historical events from the 1940s. 120,000 people of Japanese descent were sent to American internment camps.
Muskego-Norway School Superintendent Kelly Thompson sent us a statement, acknowledging that concerns have been raised as to why the book was blocked by a subcommittee and was not presented to the full school board for consideration. She says staff will now “start the process over again to ensure a fair and non-discriminatory process is used to select a book for this class.” However, we were not told when this would happen.
Kuramoto and other Wisconsin AAPI Coalition leaders believe more talks could take place. AAPI leaders held their own meeting Monday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the story.
“Move[d] getting them out of an area just not for what they did but because of what they looked like but based on race,” said Kuramoto who believes this story should never be forgotten. “It really robs an entire generation of a quality educational experience. “
A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction tells us that there is no statewide policy regarding districts selecting books for any subject. It all depends on the individual school boards.
The Muskego Teach-In takes place Monday at 6:30 p.m.
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