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Historical Analysis

Basically the United States of America is home for different kinds of people. One might wonder as to the reasons why others would leave their own home country and decide to settle in a completely foreign land. Reasons for immigration are usually that of politics, religion and economics. America harbors the most number of immigrants and a large portion of them came from Mexico. However a large amount of Asian could also be found in the United States such as the Chinese, the Filipinos, Indians, Japanese, and Vietnamese. In this context we could see that all throughout history Asian immigrants had been a part of immigration history in America.

However, due to a number of reasons (racist, economic and the like) Asian American immigrants went through difficulties fitting into mainstream society as could be proven by National Origins Act in 1924, the exclusion of the Japanese shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and lastly the L. A Riot in Korea Town in 1992. The Chinese immigration began shortly after the war between the Chinese and the British wherein the former experienced a great economic loss. The Chinese indentured their selves to be workers on Caribbean and South America.

Since slavery was abolished during that time a scarcity in worker’s had been common in the New World thus Westerners exported workers from South China to bring to the New World. Thus these Asians served as replacement for African slaves. Treatment of them had been very harsh. They were hardly treated like equals of those who tricked them into working in the New World. There are reports that they scarcely had any sleep since they work at the length of 21 hours. They were whipped for no particular reason at all and in spite of their wounds they were still expected to go on with their works. (Wei).

The situation had been very hard for them especially since they were not even allowed to have any form of communication to those they have left behind in China. Most of them worked on sugar plantations and they did not have any rights to hold on. They worked for unreasonably long hours, were whipped, chained up and thus in this regard we could easily see that they do not have any difference with those African slaves they have replaced. Soon enough the way they were treated were known to others and for these many workers resisted which resulted into a lot of rebellions particularly in ships. (Ding; Lai; Roy).

Aside from this another well-known phenomenon with Chinese in America is the Chinese Exclusion Act. The said act suspended Chinese immigration which lasted for about sixty years. The California Gold Rush resulted to a large amount of Chinese immigrants. The building of the Transcontinental Railroad had also been viewed by Chinese laborers as an opportunity to get employed. As the gold began to diminish the Americans suddenly had the thought that the golds were for their selves only. Since most Chinese had been forced to leave the mines they were then forced to work as laborers with very low wages.

In this regard Dennis Kearney and Governor John Bigler blamed these workers for reduced wages. Thus the Chinese Exclusion Act was founded, one of the first attempts to ban immigration in the United States. (Gyory). Immigration without the appropriate approval from the Chinese government could face with penalties such as imprisonment. (Chan; Salyer; Wong and Chan). Those who were already in the United States were also affected by the said act because they would find it hard to come back once they left the country making most of them permanent immigrants without US citizenship.

(Tang). The Chinese Exclusion Act is very racist in nature. The California Gold Rush was just the appropriate time and opportunity the Chinese was looking for since during those times their own country is facing a great deal of depression. They only wanted to better their lives but the end result was their being discriminated upon. Even though the exclusion was lifted since the Americans found the Chinese useful allies against the Japanese government it still remained as one of the primary sources of Chinese discriminations.

The Japanese attack at the Pearl Harbor resulted a great deal of difficulty for Japanese immigrants. Their survival is no longer definite due to the hatred and animosity the Americans have for them. After the attack many Japanese Americans were arrested for some security reasons. Even the press waged an attack on Japanese Americans showing the latter in a very demonic light branding them names such as spies and the like. The Pearl Harbor incident resulted to public attacks both physically and verbally on Japanese American they were even thrown out of their work after the incident.

This particular thing caused a great deal of hardships on Japanese American because most of them were really innocent about the attack. In this regard one could easily see how hard it is to live on a completely foreign land because when crises broke up they tend to get caught in the middle. Many innocent people were arrested and Japanese American found it hard to continue living since they were out of work. Such is the animosity they experienced at the hands of the Americans during those times. (Shaffer). The L. A riot in the Korean town which occurred in 1992 was deeply rooted on multiculturalism.

The Hispanics, the Blacks and the Koreans could not seem to resolve their differences. Many Koreans who immigrated in America did so for economic reasons and since they could not afford to base their stores in richer areas in Los Angeles they bought the stores Blacks had before they migrated. Due to poverty the Blacks felt a certain animosity for the prospering Koreans. Another thing which triggered the riot was the killing of a Black girl in the hands of a Korean storeowner. The Koreans during those times experienced series of robbery on their shops which made them very edgy on the Blacks and the Latinos.

The killing of the black girl was a result of an argument over some orange juice. The death of the girl resulted to a great deal of animosity of the Black on the Koreans. From this alone we could see how hard it is for Asians who do not know how to speak in English to live in a foreign land. Basically all they wanted was to earn a certain amount of money to better their lives, what they experienced instead are armed robberies and the like. Those who set fires and those who tried to hurt the Koreans during those times did so because of their anger with the Koreans.

The Koreans are living on the place of the Blacks and their business is doing well whereas the Blacks are experiencing poverty, thus enraging them all the more. (Abelmann and Lie). To conclude, the reason for Chinese, Korean and Japanese immigration had been basically those involved with economics. The common theme between the three Asian minorities had been their hopes of bettering their lives only to experience otherwise. The Chinese who were on the verge of economic collapse wanted to better their lives by migrating to the United States.

However as they got there they were treated as slaves and enemies which resulted to their being discriminated upon. The same kind of hostility and discrimination had been experienced by the Koreans in Los Angeles when they were mobbed by Hispanic and Blacks alike, resulting to their distrust on the Hispanics and the Blacks. Since they are just foreigners the Blacks believed that the Koreans were taking what was theirs in the first place. The same thing could be found at the California gold rush wherein the Americans viewed that the gold are theirs alone since it is their land.

The Japanese also experienced hardship living in a foreign land after the attack on Pearl Harbor because they were considered suspects without any evidences whatsoever. They had not hope of getting better lives as they were imprisoned and thrown out of their jobs. Such are the kinds of unfairness and cruelty Asian Americans experienced in trying to live a better life on foreign countries. Instead of getting what they had hope to achieve they end up losing everything and worsening their conditions.

References:

Abelmann, Nancy, and John Lie. Blue Dreams: Korean Americans and the Los Angeles Riots.Harvard University Press, 1995. Chan, Sucheng. Entry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Community in America, 1882-1943. Temple University Press, 1991. Ancestors in the Americas. 1996. Loni Ding. Gyory, Andrew. Closing the Gate: Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion Act. University of North Carolina Press, 1998. Lai, Walton Look. The Chinese in the West Indies, 1806-1995: A Documentary History. University of the West Indies Press, 1998. Roy, Patricia E. A White Man’s Province: British Columbia Politicians and Chinese and Japanese Immigrants, 1858-1914.

University of British Columbia Press, 1989. Salyer, Lucy E. Laws Harsh as Tigers: Chinese Immigrants and the Shaping of Modern Immigration Law. University of North Carolina Press, 1995. Shaffer, Robert. “Opposition to Internment: Defending Japanese American Rights During World War Ii. ” 61 (1999). Tang, Edward. “Chinese Exclusion Act. ” 2007. Wei, William. “The Chinese-American Experience: 1857-1892. ” Harpweek (1999). Wong, K. Scott, and Sucheng Chan. Claiming America: Constructing Chinese American Identities During the Exclusion Era. Temple University Press, 1998.

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