Chinese Discrimination in the United States

Ethnic Groups and Discrimination Scott Johnson ETH 125 January 15, 2012 Stephanie Perry Ethnic Groups and Discrimination The Chinese immigrated to the United States in during the 1800s; Official records show that before 1857, 46 Chinese immigrants were in the United States. Over the next 30 years more that 200,000 Chinese had immigrated to the United States. This immigration wave was largely because of the push of the awful conditions in China and the pull of the discovery of gold, and, job opportunities in the west (Immigration and the United States, Schafer, 2006). During the 1860s railroad work was abundant.

The two lines, Central Union and Pacific Union, were the largest employer of the Chinese and the Irish. Working the Central Union was dangerous work through rough terrain. The work was dominated by the Chinese. Despite being 90% of the laborers the Chinese were paid less that the Irish who were 10% of the laborers. This dual labor market continues until the completion of the railroads. Regardless of being the majority of the laborers, the Chinese were excluded from the Golden Spike ceremony in Promontory, Utah. After the completion of the completion of the railroad, the Chinese immigrants continued to accept work that others would not do.

This caused an industrial dependence on cheap labor to fuel the American economy. The Chinese were welcome as the economy needed them. When the labor was finished, they were no longer welcome. The Chinese welcome was short lived because of stereotypes that were prevalent before immigration. American traders and Protestant missionaries spoke to the American people of the Chinese exotic and sinister manners. These stereotypes caused sinophobia. This sinophobia directly resulted in the “Yellow Peril”, a threatened expansion of Asian populations as magnified in western immigration (answers. om). Takai, in 1989, noted that the fear of the Yellow Peril shattered any appetite to learn more about the customs of the Chinese, or, themselves as a people. Sinophobia was compounded when the government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This government action not only outlawed Chinese immigration and naturalization for 10 years, but it led the American people to further discrimination; any thought that the discrimination was unjust and unfounded was alleviated through the governmental act.

At the end of the act’s 10 year run, it was continued another 10 years, and, the practice continued into the 20th century. On December 17, 1943, the Magnuson Act repealed the Exclusion Act. Repealing the act allowed growth and assimilation of the Chinese people. “The Chinese exhibit high affluence combined with a relatively high degree of segregation from Whites in a few metropolitan areas (Lee, C. N. , 2004). Redlining leads to the belief that the manisfestation of suburban ethnic districts may alleviate the need to bodily intergrate with Whites to obtain greater socioeconomic success.

Despite the menial jobs the Chinese continued to grow financially, and, the affluent Chinese continued to live next door to their poorer neighborhood, an act of self-segregation; with the self-segregation encouraged forming their own chamber of commerce, public library, and hospitals. “The true destructive nature of residential segregation reared the discrimination perpetuated by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Homeowners Loan Act, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the real estate industry, banks, and other financial institutions (Massey & Denon, 1993).

Chinatown, San Francisco, is not just the largest Chinese Town outside of Asia, but is the largest example of redlining. The 1870 anti-Chinese ordinances passed in San Francisco to curtail housing and employment options. The ordinances passed successfully pushed the Chinese into an unwanted area. Having them in one area made it easier for San Francisco

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law enforcement of curfews. In the San Francisco bay area the garment industry is made up of 53% Asian workers, mostly women. “These ‘sweat shops’ are overcrowded, not well ventilated and poorly lit” (urbanhabitat. org).

The garment workers are exposed to particles and toxic chemicals. Many women bring their children to work with them, and the particles and chemicals are known to be especially are harmful to children. Many Asian-American associates support reverse discrimination against Asian-Americans as demonstrated by being denied college entrance (asianam. com). Many Chinese are making donations to the very organizations that are anti-Chinese, in exchange for denial of Asian-American’s denial to colleges and universities. Thomas Espenthade and Alexandria Walton Radford examined data on students applying to college in 1997 and discovered what ooks to be different standards for different racial groups. They found that Asian-Americans needed to have nearly perfect SAT scores of 1550 to have the same chances as other races which were requiring scores of 1100 to 1410. They also noted that other races were three to 15 times more likely to be accepted to university. Stephen Hsu noted that it appeared that the university’s magically end up with 20% Asian students. One Princeton lecturer asked if that number represents the “Asian Ceiling”. Is affirmation action working? “Advocates of affirmation action argue that it is needed because of historical discrimination.

Maybe that was true in 1970, but it is no longer true affirmative action is now a part of the minority machine, an indispensable component which is perpetual victimhood” (jonstosselfoxnews. com). Yet another straddle that the Chinese have endured is the Glass Ceiling. Although experienced by both men and women, a double jeopardy has been attached to Chinese women. A Chinese man has a better opportunity to move up the ladder than a Chinese woman. In general, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2000 one in 10 is on the professional staff while one in 25 was a manager (Varma, 2004).

As a whole, the Chinese are underrepresented as CEOs. Board members, and high level managers. While researching this essay I have discovered that the Chinese-Americans have endured. Upon arrival in the 1800s. I have become more culturally aware of their movement to quash stereotypes and discrimination, and there attempt to mainstream there culture in the United States. 1) asianam. com 2) jonstosselfoxnews. com 3) Lee, C. N. , 2004 4) Massey & Denon, 1993 5) Immigration and the United States, Schaefer, R. D. , 2006 6) urbanhabitat. org 7) Varma, 2004

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