Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Chandos Michael Brown
Although African Americans continually reconstructed their perceptions of the Japanese throughout the Great Depression and World War II, these changing views were formed in the context of their own positions within the United States. During the 1930s, with the exception of the Communist Movement, the African American press and other intellectuals generally regarded Japan as a consequential nation challenging existing international relations and creating expectations of a new paradigm of racial equity on the world stage. Although some key intellectuals still maintained hope that Japan would serve as a leader for the "Colored races," Japan's aggressive invasion of China in 1937 was largely viewed as indicative of Japan's opportunistic imperial desires, no different from those of the European powers. Overall, African American servicemen in the Pacific, while tending to be less racially prejudiced than their Caucasian counterparts towards the Japanese enemy, still regarded the Japanese as a dangerous and ruthless opponent and not as a possible liberator from discrimination in the segregated American military or society at large. African American servicemen in the Occupation of Japan reconstructed their conceptions of the Japanese based on their comparatively colorblind reception as occupiers, which ultimately led to a growing sense of dissatisfaction with discrimination upon return to the United States.
Davy, Jennie Anne, "From Color Line to Colorblind: Changing African American Perceptions of the Japanese during World War II" (2008). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 805.
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