Waiting for the signal from home…


Title: Waiting for the signal from home…
Creator: Seuss, Dr., 1904-1991
Geisel, Theodor Seuss, 1904-1991
Publisher: PM Magazine
Date: February 13, 1942

 I found this photo a few years ago and It’s fascinated me ever since; mainly because it was written by Theodor (Dr) Seuss. To me it highlights an interesting time in both American history and media because of it’s portrayal of the native Japanese-American citizens where they were seen not only as the enemy, but also as a homogenous population (notice that all look the same and even have the same expression). Moreover the date of that the cartoon was published (February 13, 1942) is interesting, as the executive order that allowed for the internment of Japanese-Americans came the following week on February 19th.

In short I love this photo because of it’s uniqueness; It’s drawn by a famous children’s author and it reflects the racist beliefs of War Time America on the cusp of one of the most controversial acts ever ordered by the United States government. It raises many interesting questions such as the personal beliefs of wartime authors, how stereotypes impact our actions, to what extent does the media perpetuate these stereotypes, and how much (if any) did cartoons like these affect FDR’s decision to pass executive order 9066.



3 thoughts on “Waiting for the signal from home…”

  1. I believe in the time of uncertainty and fear, the American public turned to citizens of Japanese descent. People who had lived in America for generations and only shared heritage with the enemy.The ability to conduct an action instead of doing nothing in a time of fear is powerful to the human psyche The same can be said about people of Middle Eastern descent living in the United States at the time of 9/11. The aftershocks reverberated throughout the Arab community, whether through discrimination, people crossing the street in order to not walk by them, city governments dragging their feet when building permits for mosques, all of these were for the sole reason to have a scapegoat. All in support to make Americans feel safer at night.

  2. I also think this is a very interesting image because it comes from one of the most famous children’s author. I think this shows how the public tends to group all people together as well as dehumanize them. It’s much easier to fathom the idea of fighting one large group of people who are thought of as pure evil than it is to focus on person to person.

  3. This cartoon is so important. It seems that of all of the terrible and disgusting things that America has done in its past, Japanese Internment during WWII seems to be the one talked about the least. Its amazing to see how everyone, even a children’s cartoonist, was sucked into the blatant racism against American people of Japanese decent. Also, I agree with you jhancuch, its absurd how we as a people cannot learn from our mistakes; that generalization and racism isn’t going to solve our problems or make a painful memory go away. Racism, hate, and ignorance, only spurs more racism, hate, and ignorance. Its a vicious circle.

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