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Places And Forms Of Power

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Par   •  29 Avril 2015  •  511 Mots (3 Pages)  •  1 086 Vues

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I am going to talk about the notion of Places and Forms of power.

First of all, I'm going to give a quick definition of this notion.

« Places » could be important buildings or institutions that represent a certain form of power.  « Power » refers to influence, authority or superiority, it is the ability to control others, events or resources, despite obstacles, resistance, opposition.

I would like to illustrate this notion by speaking about one aspect of political power, when it is the authority taken by a person or a group and not by democratic elections, the superiority of a majority in a country over a minority, who use the power of fear and discrimination.

To begin with, we will talk about a text extracted from a novel entitled ''Snow falling on Cedars'' written by D. Gutterson and published in 1995, which deals with the immediate reactions and consequences the Japanese surprise air raid on Pearl Harbor in Hawaï (Dec 7th 1941) on the Japanese American citizens. In this text, we share the point of view of a Japanese American family who live in San Piedro Island, off Seattle. The morning of the attack, their hear about the tragic news and they can't believe their ears : they are flabbergasted. They immediately anticipate that they will be targeted as scapegoats, and we feel the power of fear. Retaliations, punitive raids, and reprisals immediately start on Japanese American families, with threats and intimidations. In the text, they are called ''Dirty Japs'' by a group of White men, and they do not react to humiliations because they are afraid. Nevertheless, there was fear too for the White Americans, which became hateful...

Thereafter we can see what happened for the Japanese Americans in the oral document we have studied ''Life in relocation centers'', which is the heart-rending testimony of George Takei who was a little boy at the time, and remembers what happened. We know that in December 1941, thousands of Japanese Americans like him were arrested and in March, there were evacuation orders : he, his family and all the Japanese Americans were deported to relocation centers ; there were taken away like prisoners or traitors even though there had been no trials and they had not been found guilty of any crime. Takei says that the relocation centers looked like concentration camps, because they were heavily guarded by armed soldiers and machine guns, in camps situated in isolated places surrounded by barbed wire, all that until the end of the War. Here, we see the political power of the government and the authorities, who decide for the lives of minorities (the Japanese Americans), even if they are children, showing the discrimination and the injustice Takei went through.

To conclude, we can see examples of political power of the government or the authorities that use the power of fear and decide for the lives of minorities. A lot a political institutions have used the power of fear to make things happen as they wanted by means of their influence, their authority or their superiority.


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