Etsuko Taketani is Professor of American Literature at the University of Tsukuba. She is the author of U.S. Women Writers and the Discourses of Colonialism, 1825–1861 (University of Tennessee Press, 2003) and The Black Pacific Narrative: Geographic Imaginings of Race and Empire between the World Wars (Dartmouth College Press, 2014). She has also contributed chapters to such edited volumes as Archipelagic American Studies (Duke University Press, 2017) and American Literature in Transition, 1930–1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2018). She is currently working on a monograph tentatively tilted "Aerial Archives."
During World War II, Malcolm Little, who would eventually become the charismatic minister and spokesman for the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, dissembled his true feelings toward war so successfully that he was banned from service. He found clever ways to avoid the draft. Malcolm Little played a “pro-Tokyo Negro” and acted crazy. He spread the word that he “was frantic to join . . . the Japanese Army,” and hoped that his words would reach army intelligence soldiers in Harlem (1). He whispered into the ear of the army psychiatrist in the induction center, “I want to get sent down South. Organize them nigger soldiers, you dig? Steal us some guns, and kill up crackers!” (1). His dissembling performance got Malcolm Little exactly what he wanted: a military classification of 4-F, not acceptable for military service, on his registration card.