U.S. Army’s “How To Spot A Jap” Pamphlet

This “How To Spot A Jap” comic was included in the U.S. Army’s 1942 “Pocket Guide to China,” which it distributed to soldiers who were being sent to fight in China. Milton Caniff, creator of the Terry and the Pirates comic strip, did the illustrations.

Instructing people on how to distinguish Chinese from Japanese people was apparently a common theme of World War II-era propaganda. For example, the December 22, 1941 edition of Life magazine ran a feature titled How To Tell Japs from the Chinese.


Henry Ossian Flipper

I had never heard of Henry Ossian Flipper until a Black Studies professor I know introduced me to The Trial of the Moke, a 1978 movie that includes one of Samuel L. Jackson’s earlier appearances.

Flipper was a former slave who became the first African American to graduate from West Point in 1877. Flipper was court martialed and drummed out of the military in a situation that appeared to many to have been set up to provide a pretext to dismiss him.

According to Wikipedia,

Colonel William Rufus Shafter assumed command at Fort Davis in March 1881. He had been the commander of the First Infantry Regiment at Fort Davis. Shafter had a reputation as harassing officers he disliked. While he tolerated black Buffalo Soldiers, he hated seeing a black officer. Flipper was dismissed without cause as quartermaster within days. Then Shafter “asked” Flipper to keep the quartermaster’s safe in his quarters. Being “asked” by a superior officer was a de facto order and Flipper complied. In July 1881, Flipper found a shortage of over $2,000.00. Realizing this could be used against him by officers intent on forcing him out of the army, he attempted to hide the discrepancy, which was later discovered, then he lied about it when confronted. In August, he was arrested by Shafter for embezzling government funds. Word quickly spread about the missing money. Many felt it was a setup and soldiers and the community came up with the money to replace what was missing within four days. Shafter accepted the money, then convened a court martial on September 17, 1881.

In December 1881, the court martial found Flipper innocent of the main charge, but another charge was added during the trial, and he was found guilty “of conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman”, and sentenced to be “dismissed from the service of the United States”. It was more than a harsh sentence. In two prior situations involving white officers who were found guilty of embezzlement, neither officer was dismissed nor dishonored. The letters exchanged between Mollie Dwyer (Nolan’s sister-in-law) and Flipper were used against Flipper. Relationships between whites and blacks were strictly forbidden in the viewpoint of the white officers on the board. Despite appeals, and denial of a lighter sentence from President Chester A. Arthur, Flipper was drummed out of the army with a dismissal, the officer equivalent of a dishonorable discharge, on June 30, 1882. For the rest of his life, Flipper contested the charges and fought to regain his commission.

. . .

In 1976, descendants and supporters applied to the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records on behalf of Flipper. The board, after stating it did not have the authority to overturn his court-martial conviction, concluded the conviction and punishment were “unduly harsh and unjust” and recommended that Flipper’s dismissal be changed to a good conduct discharge. The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) and the Adjutant General approved the board’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations, and directed the Department of the Army to issue Flipper a Certificate of Honorable Discharge, dated June 30, 1882, in lieu of his dismissal on the same date. On October 21, 1997, a private law firm, Arnold & Porter, filed an application of pardon with the Secretary of the Army on Flipper’s behalf. Seven months later, the application was forwarded by the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) to the Office of the Pardon Attorney at the Department of Justice with a recommendation that the pardon be approved. Many pardon applications had been rejected in the past – as a matter of policy – because the intended recipients were deceased. However, President Bill Clinton pardoned Flipper on February 19, 1999.

Ohio Teacher Suspended for Racist Remarks

Sad that such an ignorant person would become a teacher,

Superintendent Paul Otten said the incident took place earlier this month when an African-American student expressed an ambition to be president. [Teacher Gil] Voigt allegedly replied, “We don’t need another black president.”Superintendent Paul Otten said the incident took place earlier this month when an African-American student expressed an ambition to be president. Voigt allegedly replied, “We don’t need another black president.”

Of Course They Let Bigots Vote

Politico carried an interesting analysis of an AP-Yahoo news poll which is one of the examples of why I’m so ambivalent about voting,

More than a third of all white Democrats and independents — voters Obama can’t win the White House without — agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for [Barack] Obama than those who don’t have such views.

Ah yes . . . even bigots get to vote. Of course that’s hardly the only irrational views held by those who will determine the next leader of the free world. Depending on the poll, 40 to 50 percent of Americans believe God created the world in just 6 days — and presumably, those people also go to the polls to vote.

Which is not to say that I have any particular sympathy for Obama (or McCain for that matter) knowing that people who hold irrational views hold the futures of the candidate in their hand. After all, both of the candidates not only hold irrational views but go further and espouse views they clearly do not personally believe in but nonetheless feel they have to make public displays of fealty in order to curry favor with this or that cross-section of voters.

I see ads about the importance of voting, civic duty, the ideals of democracy, blah blah blah, but our presidential elections have always struck me as more like episodes of mass delusion and hysteria that rock the country every four years. Modern political campaigns are simply social versions of ergot poisoning that induce hallucination and madness in true believers.