ethnic and religious comparison paper

Submitted By Raay-Vergamini
Words: 802
Pages: 4

Buddhism and Asian American Discrimination Comparison
Religious and Ethnic Groups Paper

Raay Vergamini
University of Phoenix
January 25, 2015

Buddhism is often misunderstood in American culture. While it often doesn’t experience the scrutiny associated with other religions in today’s society, Buddhism has a long history that has included much prejudice and discrimination, in America and in other parts of the world. Many Americans may not have even a basic understanding of Buddhism, or how it differs from other religions. Buddhism has its origins around 2500 years ago, and differs greatly from many of the other religions commonly found in the United States. Buddhism does not involve a belief in a “god” or a creator, but instead involves the idea of enlightenment and inner peace. The goal is to achieve enlightenment through the elimination of ignorance and cravings, with the ultimate goal of attaining Nirvana (Buddhism, 2015). While many Americans are tolerant of Buddhism, few understand or have knowledge regarding the beliefs of Buddhism, and may not view Buddhism as favorably as a Christian-based religion. Few people recognize that Buddhism has made contributions to many parts of American and other cultures. Buddhist art and architecture is well-known and recognized all over the world, and has become an iconic part of Asian culture, and what Americans view as integral to Asian culture (American Zenophilia, 2015).. Additionally, Buddhist ideology permeates American culture, such as the spiritual themes in Star Wars and in literature and song lyrics (American Zenophilia, 2015). Buddhism has a history of discrimination and prejudice in other areas of the world, and this likely occurs in these other areas more often than in the United States, where some segments of Christianity are met with more prejudice and discrimination than Buddhism. However, Buddhism has been met with prejudice from other Asian religions, as well as different sects of Buddhism disagreeing amongst themselves. Buddhism practices the ideas of universal tolerance and openheartedness, and thus is often not a target for as much prejudice as other religions, whose older laws may not allow as much open-mindedness (Buddhism, 2015). Buddhism is not well-known in US culture, and is often misunderstood or misquoted. Learning more about Buddhism helps to understand where it has influenced our modern society, as well as what religious principles could be better applied throughout US culture, such as the idea of tolerance and open-heartedness. Asian-Americans make up 5% of the US population as of 2008. Theirs is a long and involved history of prejudice and discrimination. Originally, most Asian-Americans were brought to the US for work in sweat shops, poor-paying factory jobs, railroad, fishing, or mining. They often were considered “cheap labor,” and were treated poorly and discriminated against, even by the US government. In1882 the Chines exclusion act was passed, which restricted immigration and naturalization for 60 years, inhibiting Chinese immigration (Asiasociety, 2015). This impacted immigration greatly, where in 1882 39,500 Chinese immigrants were reported, in 1887 there were only 10. Japanese Americans were the next of the Asian-Americans to be discriminated against by the US government in 1907