Gary Okihiro explains the role of Asian Americans in the development of American culture. The writer explores the experiences of Asians in America in relation to their historical awareness, sex roles, traditions and race. He refers to the white race as the mainstream, which is used by the society to gauge individual capability (21).
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The society tends to erect some barriers to individuals who do not follow the laid down regulations. This type of arrangement is detrimental to human life and exists to subjugate and oppress some members of society. The society encourages the minority race to join the mainstream implying that the white race is superior. Okihiro shows that modern America is a product of struggle between the minorities and various forms of injustices (25).
The minority have contributed too much to socio-political and economic development in America. Presenting American history as a struggle between white and black race only would therefore be irrational. The best way of presenting American character is by viewing it as a diverse and manifold society. It is from the activities of minorities that America is what it is today.
Slavery could not have been abolished were it not for the activities of the blacks and subsequent Civil War between the Northerners and Southerners. Egalitarianism and human rights could not have been granted were it not for women and other minorities engaging tirelessly in conflicts with colonialists.
Many things have taken place in America, which calls for insightful investigation to uncover all aspects. Even though racism has always taken a centre stage, it is not the only way of presenting American character. Asians have undergone many problems in America but few researches talk about them.
The Chinese have variously been branded as bandits due to production of cheap goods. Japanese on the other hand suffer from money laundering labeling. This shows that each group has its own concerns in the wider society. Black/white binary is just one of the mediums of presenting American character.
Throughout American history, women have suffered most. Societal structure discriminated women against all social benefits such as employment, political participation and economic supremacy. Until recently, women were not allowed to join certain fields or professions in the labor market.
Such expert fields were reserved for men. During the 1930s recession, women proved their worth but still they were not fully appreciated in society. After the World Wars, women capitalized on the president’s speech to demand for equal representation and participation in politics.
The president declared that the war was meant to bring democracy and equality (Pollock 42). Through feminine organizations, many historical events have been set. Language use in the modern society is neutral meaning that women need not to adopt male names upon marriage. Legislations have been passed aiming at protecting the rights of women. This proves that American history is not about race only.
The issue of allocation of resources has threatened to divide Americans in the past. The poor have not been allowed to participate in production fully. The rich have acquired the state, which they use to prevent the poor from revolting against the status quo. Recent studies confirm that the gap between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is widening. The less fortunate from time to time have risen up to challenge their position in society. This is another area of concern confirming that American history is diverse.
Okihiro, Gary. Margins and Mainstreams: Asians in American History and Culture. Washington, Dc: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Pollock, Griselda. Encounters in the Virtual Feminist Museum: Time, Space and the Archive. Routledge, 2007