By Deems Tsutakawa / For The North American Post • Thur, February 2, 2018
My old hi school pal, Wayne Rabb, is a talented drummer and has played on several of my albums. We worked together in several bands through the sixties and seventies and it was always a blast. During the decade of the 70's he decided to become a union cement finisher. Wayne is an outgoing, outspoken African American man and had to show great patience to get a cement job. For the good part of a year he went down to the union hall daily in hopes of being sent out on a job. Five days a week the boss sent out all the Caucasian workers but would never call MR Rabb's name for any work. Finally after waiting out the months upon months of frustration he got sent out to work. Eventually Wayne became a journeyman and spent some thirty years doing cement labor. You have to respect his perseverance. He used to tell me with a big smile on his face that he was making 'white money,' He knew it was real cool to making the same as the other guys.
In my personal opinion, the Executive Order 9066 was not only about racism but had other spin offs that would benefit the non-Japanese Americans. Before WW2 my dad's family had a large import/export business of steel and lumber to and from Japan. The company was, of course, shut down and never reopened. The entire inventory, warehouses, land, and a fleet of trucks were confiscated and never returned. I suspect that with the signing in 1988 by Ronald Reagan of the redress for all JAs that the family case will be closed and no more property claims will be allowed.
At a Japanese American Chamber of Commerce meeting back a few years ago, I listened to Taul Watanabe speak. Taul was a very successful businessman. His theme was simply that 'politics is economics and economics is politics.' On occasion while playing a good paying piano gig, I can hear MR Rabb's voice echoing around in the back of my mind and it puts a smile on my face.