The history of immigration to the United States is characterized by racism and ethnicity. Indeed, most of the people living in the country can trace their origins from the various races of the world. History suggests that racism and ethnicity are relevant to numerous aspects that developed with time. Racism and ethnicity revolved around differences in religion, language, color, culture, occupation, and population.
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The entrance of new races into the country led to the assimilation of the predecessor except the Asians and Africans. Any assimilated race was considered an American ethnic group that was more capable than the successor, hardworking, and competent to learn.
The first immigrants were the Britons and Germans. Racial segregation during this period was determined by language, cultural customs, and loyalty. Since US was a British colony, it can be argued that English language and culture were considered as American aspects.
Religion, color, and cultural inclinations persisted on other Europeans as the distinguishing factor. Lack of immigration policy during this period led to the mass immigration of the British and Germans. The two ethnic groups were later to control the immigration of others.
When the Africans started immigrating to America through slave trade, the nature of racism changed and the determining factor was occupation. Despite the differing cultures and religions of the new immigrants, slavery identified Africans as a different race. Religion took over from occupation in 1776 after the Irish started to immigrate.
Indeed, the Germans who immigrated during this time were identified as part of the American race due to the earlier immigrants. The Germans were already assimilated in US and never suffered prejudice and discrimination like the Irish or Africans.
Perhaps, the Africans and the Irish were the immigrants who suffered much prejudice and discrimination during this time. Nevertheless, the color of the Irish immigrants caused the speedy assimilation but the Africans continued to suffer. They worked as slaves, lived in the worst conditions, and death was at hand.
The scenario changed in 1840 after the Asians immigrated to America. Stereotypes took over from religion as the aspect that distinguished races. For instance, the British considered the Chinese practices to be extreme and worse than other races. The Asians were the first race to be curbed through legislation.
However, the law was not imposed properly and only few immigrants were prevented. Japanese immigration led to the exclusion of all immigrants from Asia. The legislation enacted was in favor of the whites since Africans were not a threat to them.
The restriction put on South and Eastern Europe as well as other parts of the world through the Quota Act was a clear indication that the British and Germans were favored. Evidently, many enactments had basis on ethnicity and aimed at protecting the whites.
Improvements occurred after 1965 after the immigration policy was expanded. However, the expansion favored few ethnic groups such as Latinos and Mexicans. For instance, the Hart Cellar Act allowed immigrant admissions with basis on family reunifications.
Evidently, ethnic groups from Asia had no family members in the country after the Quota Act. Hence, they were indirectly barred from entering the United States since no reunification could occur. In conclusion, racism in America favored the whites and a few ethnic groups that were not a threat to economy, religion, culture, color, population, and politics of the whites.