Lt. Ehren Watada, a Japanese American, became the first commissioned officer to speak out against the Iraq War. Asian Americans from all generations and experiences expressed their views on his actions. In essence, he was racialized: the mere fact that he was Asian American became a catalyst to opinions on what he represents as an Asian American. The significance of these viewpoints has yet to be assessed, which is precisely what this research explores, at least in a fundamental sense. This analysis examines various Asian American organizations and their opinions on Lt. Watada. These insights offer glimpses into the views of the Asian American community and the forms of racialization associated with these groups. Categorizing similarities in racialization, the implications of such constructions and what they represent to the Asian American community is discussed. The analysis sheds light on the significance of Lt. Watada and his significance beyond the mere facts of his trial, the story behind the story. The analysis also provides suggestions for further research for people who are interested in studying race relations in American society and contemporary Asian American issues.
Kohshi A. Itagaki graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. He currently resides in Sharon, MA. His research revolves around race and the law, with a focus on Asian Americans.