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Marc Piercy Ethics 171F Hashima My America: Or Honk!

if You Love Buddha A history is an interpretation of events that weaves various events togeather in a coherent and logical narrative that gives an accurate account of what happend and why it happend that way. What makes a history vailid is the strenth of that interpritation and wether or not that interpretation stands up to critical investigation. Both invalid and valid histories of an occurance will deal with much of the same facts, but what inferences are made from those facts are what separates something like a crackpot conspiricy theory from a history disscussed in a college level history class. A good and easily relatable way of showing how several things can be strung togeather to form a histrical narrative is individual anecdote. Once a history in valid and understood ancedotes can offer valuable information about how individuals are affected by history and how individuals shape history themselves. My America is a film where the filmaker, an asian woman named Renee Tajiama-Pena, already armed with some idea of Asian-American history seeks out ideal people to interview so she can get a deeper understanding of the Asian-American narrative. What makes this ancectodes useful is that they fit well into the already valid history of an Asian-American experince. The Anectodes in the film are much like small snapshots of a much larger image. A good example of this is when Tajima-Pena and an elderly couple visit the site of a WW II Japanese-American and have a conversation with a man who was on the constuction team that tore that camp down. Because the history of Japanese-American that were placed in interment camps for a myriad of reasons is a valid history the stories that these people have to share become

valueable and informative not only to get a sence of what happend and why but the reactions that people have tword a past event will inform thier future actions allowing to build a sieries of connections between events. The outrage that was expressed over the interment of JapaneseAmericans served to help inform the actions of the various civil rights movments decades later. The stories of families or indiviuals in intrumental in linking various histories togeather to form a cohiecive history that is both broad and deep. In the film the story of Walter is a good example of this. Walter was the son of the mayor of China Town in San-Fransisco and was also very rebellious. Walter joined up with the beatnik movment and followed the counter-cultures of the time. The history of Walter shows how the history of two seeminly separate groups do infact share a narritive in a larger sense. It serves to broaden the sense of history to include various peoples and movents to form a single history and also gives insight into why the indeviduals in those situations acted the way they did giving us a deep understanding of history. Walter details how he was taught to act American. Walter says he was told to ignore asian culture because they where in America now and they should act American. Walter then in a sense had to create a culture for himslelf one that could not be exacly American or Asian because his interactions with both groups were not wholly discriptive of his situation. My own family follows a similar conflict. My Mother came to this country as a reffugee during the Nicaraguan civil war. She did little to expose me to a hispanic coulture so I now most closely identify myself as being white, but I don't feel very much of a connection with what I pervice to be the value and traditions of white americans. My friends also experience similar situations, most of the people I spent time with in high school were of a mixed white and hispanic decent and spoke very little spanish if any at all. Our idea of a family history did not extend past the relative that we did not meet in person. It seems to me that this is what happens to many children of immgrants.

The culture of the old country is cast off and forgotten and the culture of the new country is adopted, but not entirly because they seem strange and alien. The story of my family and the anectodes provided in My America serve to reinforce and give colorful illistrations of a valid history. But thier most important funcion is to give context to a history. A history may be valid, but without the feelings and thoughts of the people who experinced it has no place or connections with other events to make a larger history. Without first hand accounts history would have not detail or richness and I figure as an extention of that there would be fewer history majors.