Asian American Discrimination and Exclusion: and

Asian American Discrimination and
'The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act had
prohibited entry to Chinese workers,
indicative of the race-and
class-based politics, because
according to the act, "in the opinion
of the Government of the United
States, the coming of Chinese
laborers to the country endangers
the good order of certain localities
within the territory thereof"' (Gary
Okihiro [AAS], "When and Where I
Enter," from Margins and
Mainstreams: Asians in American
History and Culture [1994] 4).
European cultures defined their
identities by their difference from
'Although Asians helped to construct those
iron links that connected East to West, they,
along with other peoples of color, were
excluded from the industrial, masculine,
destroying melting pot. Ellis Island was not
their port of entry; its statue was not their
goddess of liberty. Instead, the
square-jawed, androgynous visage of the
"Mother of Exiles" turned outward to
instruct, to warn, and to repel those who
would endanger the good order of America's
shores, both at home and abroad. The
indigenous inhabitants of Africa, Asia, and
the Americas were not members of the
community but were more akin to the
wilderness, which required penetration and
domestication. Three years after the
Constitution was ratified, the first Congress
met and, through the Naturalization Act of
1790, restricted admission into the
American community to "free white
persons." Although the act was modified to
include "persons of African nativity or
descent" in 1870 and Chinese nationals in
1943, the racial criterion for citizenship was
eliminated completely only in 1952, 162
years after the original delineation of the
Republic's members, or, according to the
Naturalization Act, the "worthy part of
mankind"' (Okihiro [AAS] 5).
Western Colonialism
Constructs an Image of Asia
and Asians:
'Asia, according to Campbell and Said, was
Europe's Other.'; 'The feminization of Asia was
well under way before the colonization of Asia by
Europe in the sixteenth century' (Okihiro [AAS]
In the colonizer's view:
'Whether because of
race or culture, of biology or behavior, of physical
appearance or social construct, Asians appeared
[to European colonizers] immutable, engendered,
and inferior.
These differences not only served
to set Asians apart from the "joint community" but
also helped to define the European identity as a
negation of its Other' (Okiro 7)
LAS 325
Asian American
*An Invitation to Asian American Studies*
Dr. Eugenio Matibag
Office: 300G Pearson
Hours: MWF 11-12