Asian Americans Throughout Time
Asian Americans Throughout Time
The Asian community has not always had it easy in the United States, Chinese and Japanese Americans in particular. They have been discriminated against both personally and politically. There have been acts passed both for and against them with great prejudice. There have been several groups to both fight against and support bills that take away and give Asian Americans the rights they deserve. With these groups in place, the Asian community serves a much better chance at equality in American society.
First, immigrants from China have been in surplus since before the European settlers started rushing to the US in the 1880s. This was a source of conflict for the larger group of European settlers because while Chinese Americans were hard workers, they had a different and strange culture that settlers found intolerable (Schafer, 2012). The people settling in the western United States also did not like having to compete economically with the Chinese. As a result, in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was created (Schafer, 2012). The act was an intended ban Chinese immigration for ten years but was not repealed until 1943. The repeal happened largely because of a group that lobbied in support of the repeal known as the Citizens’ Committee to Repeal Chinese Exclusion.
Although the law was repealed, there was still a quota system in place that limited the amount of Asian immigrants that could enter the United States. The first year allowed for only 105 Chinese settlers to enter the country (Schafer, 2012). After the first year, the limit was raised by the thousands after returning veterans wished to bring home Chinese wives. It was not until the Immigration Act of 1965 passed that Chinese immigrants began re-entering America in full force (Luddon, 2006). Today there are whole areas of most metropolitan cities dedicated to celebrating Chinese culture known as Chinatowns.
While the Chinese were out, the Japanese came rolling in. Japanese immigration really picked up after the Chine Exclusion Act was passed. Japanese Americans took over the hardworking cheap labor in the west that the Chinese left behind in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Japanese Americans separated themselves based on the number of generations the family in question had been in America. Issei are known as first generation Japanese Americans while Nisei, Sansei, and Yonsei are the second, third, and fourth generations respectively. Because they came at a time when tension with Chinese immigrants were so high, the same bigotry was directed their way. In other words, big businesses loved to hire them, while unions and other employees created stereotypes about the Japanese, labeling them as lazy and untrustworthy (Schafer, 2012). The tension was also known as the yellow peril.
With “yellow peril” at a high in 1913, California drafted and passed the Alien Land act. The act prohibited anyone who could not get citizenship from owning land and allowed them to only lease land for three years (Schafer, 2012). This drove the Issei generation to major