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smiled and sat down, suddenly aware of what being of Japanese ancestry
was going to be like. I wouldn’t be faced with physical attack,
or with overt shows of hatred. Rather, I would be seen as someone
foreign, or as someone other than American, or perhaps not be seen
Jeanne comes to this realization about
the true nature of prejudice in Chapter 20,
“A Double Impulse,” after her classmate Radine expresses surprise
at Jeanne’s ability to speak English. Before the war Jeanne rarely
thinks about prejudice and does not even completely understand what
it meant to be Japanese. Radine’s reaction, however, forces her
to recognize that hatred is not the dark force she imagined would
be waiting for her when she left the camp, but rather a quiet undertone
in everyday interactions. Radine’s innocent comment is both a compliment
and an insult, which makes Jeanne realize that prejudice is not
the same as hatred and is not always malicious. Radine intends no
harm, but her comment reflects prejudiced beliefs unwittingly inherited
from her prejudiced mother, who later refuses to allow Jeanne to
join the Girl Scout troop. While Jeanne does not hate Radine for
viewing her as “someone other than American,” she finds this perception
of herself troubling and later connects the relocation of Japanese
Americans with white America’s inability to see the Japanese Americans
as individual human beings. The discovery that this kind of prejudice
can lie deeply hidden behind even innocent comments strips Jeanne
of her naïveté and marks the beginning of her transition from child
Ace your assignments with our guide to Farewell to Manzanar!