Between 1942 and 1945, the United States government forcibly removed approximately 120,000 people "of Japanese ancestry" from their homes and into self-proclaimed concentration camps across the American West and South. At every step in the way, social workers played integral roles in the intricate machinery of racism and bureaucracy that allowed this process to take place. Dr. Yoosun Park, an associate professor of social policy and practice at the University of Pennsylvania, describes the role of social workers in Japanese Internment in her new book, Facilitating Injustice: The Complicity of Social Workers in the Forced Removal and Incarceration of Japanese Americans, 1941-1946 (Oxford UP, 2020), in a history that has not heretofore been told. From processing, to daily life in the camps, to relocation after the war, social workers played roles in every step of the process, a fact that, Park argues, the field of social work has never truly reckoned with. This is a landmark study examining an old story under a new lens, and a work that will be illuminating and disconcerting to social workers, historians, and the general public alike.
Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.