German Americans immigrated from Germany to the United States. They became Americans just like other Americans. However, during World War I, they were not treated like other Americans. They were judged based on where they came from and not based on who they were as a person. Posters showed German soldiers as monsters and beasts. It became popular to call German Americans Huns, which was a derogatory word.
Similar to German Americans during World War I, Islamic Americans and Arab Americans were mistreated after 9/11. There was a lot of discrimination against Islamic Americans and Arab Americans just because they seemed to look the same as a few terrorists that caused the airplanes to crash to try to kill a lot of Americans. Islamic Americans and Arab Americans were judged as a group, many people thought they were all bad because a few radical individuals that shared a similar background were bad. They weren’t judged for who they were as a person.
During World War I, there was a variety of actions taken against German Americans. Some of these actions were emotionally hurtful. For example, orchestras wouldn’t play music created by German composers. German measles were called liberty measles and Sauerkraut was called liberty cabbage. There were signs up at playgrounds against Germans playing there. Other actions were more serious as German businesses were vandalized and their things set on fire. German people were attacked and sometimes killed.
After 9/11, Islamic Americans and Arab Americans also had to deal with varying kinds of discrimination. They would be verbally and physically attacked just while walking down the street. This discrimination is still on-going seventeen years later. They are called terrorists even when they were born in America and are just like all other Americans. They are often “randomly” selected for screening in areas with security, like at airports, just because of what they look like. Mosques are vandalized and burned for no reason but punishing those who look like or share the same religion with the 9/11 attackers.
German Americans did not face much discrimination before World War I started. Similarly, Islamic Americans and Arab Americans did not face much discrimination before 9/11 happened. But they faced discrimination and violence during the war and after 9/11.
The United States government sometimes ignored criminals that hurt or vandalized German Americans during World War I. They wanted the public to support the war so they sometimes ignored what was happening. However, the hate for German Americans started going away when the war ending. After 9/11, the government didn’t ignore criminals and did charge the criminals with hate crimes.
However, rather than the hate towards an entire group of people going away, it just continues to get worse over time. With the internet and social media, fake stories spread mis-information causing hatred to grow. Some Islamic Americans and Arab Americans have developed anxiety or depression over how poorly they are treated and the fear they have developed.