By Erika Lee, associate professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. IHRC Affiliated Faculty
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 mark a definitive turning point in many aspects of American life. We tend to think in terms of "before 9/11" and "after 9/11." On the morning of the attacks, I was getting ready to teach my Asian American history class at the University of Minnesota. I can't remember what the prepared lecture for the day was, but I do remember abandoning the lesson plan and instead spending the next hour talking with students about what we knew and what might happen. Given the subject matter for our course, we were highly aware of America's history of racial profiling, race-based immigration restriction, and incarceration. Many of us wondered aloud if Muslims or Arabs might experience similar treatment that many Asians did before and during World War Two.