|Updated: 2/24/2012 10:04 am
||Published: 2/24/2012 8:41 am
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Actor and activist George Takei, known around the world for his role in Star Trek as Mr. Sulu, spoke in Arkansas on Thursday night.
Takei, a Japanese American, spent time in an internment camp here in Arkansas during World War II. The focus of his lecture: Equality in America.
The actor, turned community activist and human rights supporter, addressed an audience at the Robinson Center about discrimination in America, having experienced that first hand as a child in an internment camp.
"We were a hated group," Takei said. "Housing was impossible, jobs were very difficult to get, and actually, for us kids, camp became a normality."
Takei remembers what it felt like to be treated like an enemy in his own country and how Japanese Americans who fought in the US military helped change stereotypes.
"It was offensive to be called enemy just because of the way we look," Takei said.
Takei said Japanese Americans moved forward from that time and made progress.
"I am an American today because of them," Takei said. "Because of their heroism, many of the discriminatory laws at that time aimed against Asians started to melt away."
But he says society still has a long way to go to reach a truly equal democracy.