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Daniel Inouye: Returning to prejudice
Even a decorated soldier in uniform experienced racial prejudice back home.
Interview outtakes from THE WAR:
"Well, I was in Oakland getting ready to get on a ship for a boat ride back to Hawaii. I was in my uniform with three rows of ribbons and a captains bars on my shoulder, I must have looked pretty good. Like a big hero with a hook on my right hand, where it used to be. And so, I thought I'd just get a nice haircut so I'd look neat. I looked around Oakland, here was a barbershop. Three chairs. I remember that. All three empty. The barbers are just standing around, so I walked in. This one barber approached me and he looked at me and he said, 'Are you a Jap??' You know, that was a strange welcome. And I said,'I'm an American.' 'Well, I'm asking you, 'Are you a Jap??'' I said, 'My father was born in Japan, my mother is Japanese. I suppose that makes me one.' 'We don't cut Jap hair.' And I thought to myself, here I am in uniform. It should be obvious to him that I'm an American soldier, a captain at that. And that fellow very likely never went to war. And he's telling me we don't cut Jap hair. I was so tempted to strike him. But then I thought if I had done that, all the work that we had done would be for nil. So I just looked at him and I said, 'Well, I'm sorry you feel that way.' And I walked out."