The Los Angeles Times has announced it will not use “internment” to describe the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Instead, it will use words like “incarceration,” “imprisonment” or “detention.”
The announcement was made in an article written by reporter Teresa Watanabe, whose parents were incarcerated during the war.
“No, my parents were not interned. They were not “evacuated” or “relocated,” even worse euphemisms. They were incarcerated. They were imprisoned in remote Idaho facilities ringed with barbed wire and guard towers manned by armed soldiers who were their fellow U.S. citizens,” she wrote in the article.
The Los Angeles Times also reflected on its support of Japanese incarceration after announcing it would stop using the word “internment.”
“The Los Angeles Times itself supported the incarceration at the time, and this style change reflects our commitment as an institution to better represent the communities we serve. We hope this will help bring closure to the families of those unjustly incarcerated and deepen our society’s understanding of that period,” Times Executive Editor Kevin Merida said in an interview with Watanabe.
In 2022, the AP Style book also announced that it would not use the term “internment.”
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It took the LA Times long enough. I narrated a documentary “Uncommon Coursge” produced by Gayle Yamada in 2001 and we called it imprisonment not internment.
Those were prisons, despite the efforts to minimize the perception. It was not a minor detention or temporary inconvenience. The USA imprisoned an entire race of men, women, and children without due process and without convicting any of committing any crime. Citizens were incarcerated in prisons simply for being of Japanese descent.