Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Enemy that Never Was
Define the term "racism" with the students. As a class, discuss examples of racist actions, both present and past. Ask the students to think about events in their lives that might have been a result of racism.
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the topic Relocation to Redress: The Internment of Japanese Canadians on the CBC Digital Archives website. Students should view the entire site, making note of information and actions that seem to them to be racist.
Have students imagine that they are a member of British Columbia's Legislative Assembly after the Second World War. This MLA holds a dramatically different perception on the internment of Japanese Canadians than the rest of the government. In role as this MLA, students will write a one- to two-page speech entitled The Enemy that Never Was, in which they will explain why there was never any threat to Canada from Japanese Canadians living in British Columbia.
Revisit and Reflect
Have students present their speeches to their classmates. As they listen, classmates will keep a list of the reasons given to explain why the Japanese Canadians should not have been considered a wartime threat to Canadian national security. After each speech, discuss the reasons presented and whether they are well supported and persuasive.
Ask students to consider the following: Could an entire group of people ever be interned in Canada again? How can individual rights be protected to ensure that one segment of society is not treated differently from another?