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Asian Americans were people who originated from the Indian Subcontinent, Far East, and Southern Asia. Asian Americans comprised of Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Japanese, and Filipinos. Asian Americans became stereotyped as people who were not real Americans. The presence of Asian Americans became a racial threat to the social affairs of the Americans. Many immigration laws discriminated against Asian Americans. Many Asian Americans got restricted from entering America. Many Asian Americans became subjected to difficult tasks. This paper examined how Asian Americans resisted racial violence and discrimination they experienced in the late 19th century. Asian Americans survived many assaults inflicted by the white supremacy.
Asian Immigrants Repelled Against Exploitation
California State imposed a tax upon every foreign miner. This compelled Chinese immigrants to pay taxes. The white people realized that Chinese immigrants sent money to their nation rather than investing it in America. The State legislature also expected foreign miners to have licenses. Tax collectors harassed Chinese miners. All the hardship conditions discourage Chinese miners. Many Chinese miners left the mining sites, returned to urban areas where they searched for service jobs1. Chinese immigrants moved away from isolated, remote regions, they lived collectively in urban places as a way of boosting their security and safety.
American government needed cheap labor provided by Asian immigrants, to develop the American economy. However, white citizens unwelcomed Asian foreigners. American people felt that Asian immigrants would benefit from the American economy. Asian immigrants struggled to achieve the privilege and status of American citizenship by seeking support from legal affairs. Nevertheless, the American court system denied Asian Americans to acquire U.S citizenship. Asian Americans finally managed to get U.S citizenship after the enactment of McCarran Walter Act2. Asian Americans resisted the white supremacy to exploit them. Asian Americans became active in confronting discriminatory rules imposed against them.
Asian Americans employed lawyers who defended their livelihood, individual freedom, and naturalization rights. The dedication put forward by the lawyers became successful when the 14th amendment provided equal opportunity for both American citizens and Asian Americans. Moreover, the Chinese couple charged the San Francisco school in court because their child was segregated from the school. In 1884, the supreme court of California solved the dispute defending the rights of the Asian couple by quoting the declaration of the 14th amendment. However, the legislature of the State ruled to segregate schools for foreigners like Asian children.
Asian Immigrants Sought Help from Supreme Court
In 1886, American Supreme Court defended Yick Wo v. Hopkins, a Chinese laundry. The Chinese businessmen sued the State legislature over discrimination acts. The State law denied the Chinese laundry to acquire business license because its storefront was made of wood material. Other laundries acquired business licenses, but many Chinese laundries were not given business licenses. The Supreme Court cited the14th amendment in defending the Yick Wo. In 1922, the Supreme Court challenged the legality of naturalization right in favoring the court case filed by Ozawa. Ozawa Takao immigrated to America from Japan. Ozawa attended Berkeley high school and finally graduated from University of California. Ozawa was denied the naturalization right since he was a Japanese immigrant.
The Supreme Court, however, denied Ozawa to acquire American citizenship since he was a Japanese citizen. The court explained that the white individuals were people of the Caucasian race. Ozawa did not belong to the Caucasian race, hence disqualified to become an American citizen. However, Asian Indians became lucky to enjoy the naturalization rights. The Supreme Court, in 1910, classified that Asian Indians belonged to Caucasian race, hence, were naturalized American citizens.
Asian Immigrants Formed Associations
In 1880, the antimiscegenation laws prohibited the marriage between Asian Americans and white people. None of Asian Americans challenged this law until Roldan Salvador, a Filipino, won a court case in California during 1933. Roldan required the Supreme Court to help him since he wanted to marry a white lady. Asian immigrates generated the voluntary unions committed to advocate for their freedom and liberties. Chinese immigrants formed the Chinese American Citizen Alliance in 18953. In 1900, Japanese immigrants formed the Japanese Association of America. Korean immigrants founded an association that fought of Korean autonomy against the colonial regime. In1911, the Filipino immigrants, formed the Filipino Higher Wages Association to represent their interest.
Asian Immigrants Held Several Strikes
Asian Americans resisted against malpractices done by white people through many ways. Asian Americans declined to provide productive labor by withdrawing from job contracts. Asian Americans also held strikes, broke tools, set fire on houses and fields, and pretended to be sick4. Chinese workers formed strikes and demanded short working hours and higher pay from the Pacific Railroad in 1867. The Chinese workers sued the company for breaching work contract. Though, many resistance attempted by Asian immigrants failed to liberate them, such endeavors portrayed how Asian laborers resisted exploitation. In 1909, Japanese workers formed strike because they demanded better working conditions, thus presented their complaints to the sugar planters in Hawaii. Japanese and Filipinos held many strikes during 1920. In1924, Filipino workers formed strike leaving four soldiers and 16 workers died. Many Asian Indians also immigrated in America and worked as lumbers, farmers and miners. The Chinese Hand Laundry Association, formed in 1933, defended the interest of Chinese immigrants in America.
Impacts of Second World War
Many Japanese immigrants supported American military force during the Second World War. Filipino and Chinese Americans became an ally of United States during the Second World War. The work conditions of Chinese and Japanese immigrants improved. Many Asian workers managed to serve in managerial, professional, craft and technical positions. In 1943, American congress decided to abolish the rule of Chinese exclusion. The congress also banned the immigration law that restricted Asian Indians and Filipinos from accessing America. In 1946, the congress reviewed the Bride Act thus permitted Chinese men to live with their wives in America. The impact of the Second World War led to improved social mobility of the Asian Americans who immigrated to America5. In 1948, American Supreme Court abolished the antimiscegenation laws. Asian Americans, thus, acquired naturalization rights. The Supreme Court managed to abolish the racial segregation in1954. In 1956, Saund Dalip Singh represented the first Asian American to work in the American congress. In 1964, Takemoto Patsy represented the first Asian American lady to work for the American congress.
Racism in America became the main issue during slave and colonial eras. Sanctioned racism inflicted much suffering to the Asian Americans; they experienced discrimination and exclusion cases in United States. White citizens of United States became persistent to discriminate against other nationalities. Discrimination became a vice that affected negatively every aspect of life. This caused Asian Americans to revolt against the white supremacy.
Battistini, L. (1960). The Rise of American Influence in Asia and Pacific. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press.
Buszynski, L. (2004). Asia Pacific Security: Values and Identity. New York: Routledgecurzon.
Gallicchio, M. (2000). The African American Encounter with Japan and China: Black Internationalism in Asia, 1895-1945. Chapel Hill, NC: University Of North Carolina Press.
Takaki, R. (1998). Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. Boston: Back Bay Books.
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- Takaki, Ron. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. (Boston: Back Bay Books, 1998), 34.
- Burzynski, Leszec. Asia Pacific Security: Values and Identity. (New York: Routledgecurzon, 2004), 12.
- Battistini, Lawrence. The Rise of American Influence in Asia and Pacific. (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1960), 64.
- Takaki, Ron. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. (Boston: Back Bay Books, 1998), 41.
- Gallicchio, Marc. The African American Encounter with Japan and China: Black Internationalism in Asia, 1895-1945.(Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 6.