For George Takei, this is personal.
George Takei has successfully built an incredibly second life in entertainment for himself as a signature voice in social media culture. But the 79-year-old also saw the horrors of America’s Japanese internment camps firsthand during World War II and explained what he sees as some disturbing similarities between the ghosts of racism and the tone of the billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
In a video posted to his Facebook page, Takei (speaking in Spanish) says:
“I want to give some personal, historical perspective on how Donald Trump’s words and plans can have very real and terrible consequences.” Talking about the reaction toward Japanese Americans after the U.S. entered the war, Takei compared their treatment to that of Muslims in America and around the world after September 11, 2001. “We were targets simply because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor,“ he said.
A lifelong Spanish speaker, Takei joked in his post, “I hope I did the language justice.” He used that connection to talk about the similarities between how he felt as a child in an internment camp with the broad, sweeping generalizations Trump has made against Mexicans. “They said we were all spies and saboteurs, that none of us could be trusted,” Takei said.
In the end, Takei didn’t endorse Hillary Clinton or any other candidates for office but instead encouraged Mexican-Americans to register to vote and help ensure that Trump “never comes to power.”