Being White means never having to say you're sorry.
The annual commemoration of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is typically accompanied by a debate on whether the bombings were justified or simply an act of mass-murder motivated by revenge. Often, this debate then evolves into a discussion on whether the Japanese have done or said enough to redress the actions of their militarist regime of the period. Although Japan has issued several apologies to their Asian neighbours, many still feel that Japan has failed to genuinely, and fully, acknowledge atrocities committed by the Imperial Armies against its former enemies. So, even though it's been sixty-five years since the bombs were dropped, the political and social fallout from their use is still being felt.
Whatever position one takes on these issues, I think most people would agree that imperialism deserves condemnation and that any crimes of brutality resulting from any colonization process should be brought to some kind of justice. By examining the attitudes and ideologies that led imperialist nations to believe that they had the right to brutalize, exploit and enslave others, we are better able to understand the basis for much of the biases and prejudices that exist today, both in the way that international relations are conducted and in the racial dynamics within those societies themselves.
Again, although Japan's apologies are considered by some to be insufficient, of all the nations that attempted colonization of Asia - often brutally savage - Japan is the only one that has actually ever apologized for its actions. Somehow, yet for me unsurprisingly, not one Western country that waged wars of aggression on the peoples of Asia, has ever apologized for any atrocities committed during this process of conquest - even though some of these very nations have been vocal in insisting that Japan apologize for its atrocities.
Part of the reasoning behind the West's insistence that Japan fully acknowledge its atrocities is based upon the fear that without full acceptance of responsibility and the subsequent historical re-interpretation that this would entail, Japan might once again become militaristic. This is sound reasoning, yet the West seems unwilling to apply this reasoning to their own imperialism - "sorry" doesn't seem to be a part of their vocabulary. The biggest irony is that after Japan's defeat, the French, Dutch and the British all returned to their former colonies to wage war against the very Asian countries that they had supposedly fought so hard to free - killing millions in the process.
For a diverse country like America, accepting responsibility for colonial brutality is a necessary step in integrating its minorities. For example, the U.S has by and large accepted responsibility for slavery and by doing so has legitimized programs and policies leading to cultural acceptance and inclusion of the black minority. African-Americans are afforded a degree of respect, deference and empathy not given to other ethnic minorities (at least ideologically). This can be partially explained by the fact that America and other western countries have acknowledged their atrocities and in so doing have placed the presence of its black minorities in a context that supports their specific rights and needs, as well as their very right to be there.
If we compare this to social and cultural attitudes toward East Asian minorities in the U.S, you'll notice a vast difference. There is a fundamental distrust of Asia and its people and Asian-Americans struggle to be recognized as true, loyal Americans. Xenophobia and economic resentments combine to keep Asian-Americans on the periphery of society and therefore vulnerable to violence. Lacking the mechanisms to define and present our own identity, empathy for Asian-Americans is minimized by negative images controlled by a hostile media and propagated by racist institutions.
In short, America exists as the result of colonialism. Its diverse population reflects its past colonial aspirations. Asians are in America as the natural and necessary outcome of America and the West's aggression and interference in our countries. Naturally, this fact isn't covered in the history books. This is why Asians continue to be thought of as outsiders that don't really belong in this society.