Asian Americans: Growth and Diversity

Where Most Asian Pacific
Islanders Live
Americans and
Intergroup Relations Continuum
Government Policies toward the Chinese,
The Chinese came to the U.S. during the 1850s
California gold rush.
They encountered racial hostility despite the
overwhelming need for manual labor in the mid-19th
century; were often expelled from mining camps, barred
from schools and from obtaining citizenship, denied the
right to testify in court, and murdered.
After the Civil War, anti-Chinese tensions increased,
culminating in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
 The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) marked the first
time the government enacted a human embargo on a
particular race of laborers.
 Expelled from various trades and occupations as well
as from many residential areas, Chinese immigrants
had no choice but to congregate in Chinatowns.
Government Policies (continued)
Stages in the development of Chinatowns
 Involuntary choice in response to societal
prejudice & discrimination
 Defensive insulation as a protection to against
racist hostility
 Voluntary segregation as group consciousness
 Gradual assimilation, a process markedly slowed
by voluntary segregation and social isolation
Congress ended the ban on immigration from China
in 1943.
Government Policies (continued)
Most Chinese who came in the 19th century were
farmers, artisans, craftsmen, political exiles, and
refugees. Many were sojourners.
 Visible because of their race, appearance, and
practices, the Chinese aroused both curiosity and
 A major social problem affecting most Asian
immigrants through the 1940s was the shortage in
the U.S. was the shortage of Asian women.
 After World War II a greater number of Asian
women migrated to the U.S.
 The Chinese built much of the western part of the
transcontinental railroad and cost the railroad
company 2/3 as whites to maintain.
Government Policies towards the Japanese
The Japanese arrived in 1868 and settled in the
western states where anti-Chinese sentiment was still
 Early immigrants entered manufacturing and service
occupations. Hostility from union members, resenting
Asians’ willingness to work for lower wages and under
poor conditions, produced inevitable clashes.
 Most Japanese entered agricultural work, first as
laborers and eventually as tenant farmers or small
landholders; other Japanese became contract
gardeners on the estates of whites.
 The Immigration Law of 1924 denied entry to
specifically barred the Japanese because it denied
entry to all aliens ineligible for citizenship.
Government Policies (continued)
By the late 19th century, labor supply exceeded
demand, and laborers, union organizers, and
demagogues mounted racist denunciation of
Chinese “competition.”
 1941 - Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor; and the
subsequent war led to removal of 110,000
Japanese from their homes and placement in
“relocation centers.”
 Traditional Anti-Asian sentiment, opposition to
Japanese agricultural business, and “fear” of
the Japanese were underlining reasons for this
 National security was the primary justification.
 The Supreme Court case, Endo v. United
States, brought an end to this forcible
Evacuation Camps
Government Policies (continued)
The Evacuation Claims Act (1948) brought
token repayment of about 10% of actual
Japanese American losses.
Civil Rights Act, signed by Ronald Reagan,
authorized reparation amounting to $20,000 tax
free for surviving Japanese.
The Filipino
 1898
- the Philippines became a U.S. possession;
Filipinos came to the U.S. with a unique status as
U.S. nationals there was no quota restriction on their
entry until 1935.
 1908 - The Gentlemen’s Agreement curtailed
Japanese emigration; the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’
Association recruited Filipinos to work the
Government Policies (continued)
Of every 100 Filipinos coming to California between
1920-1929, 93 were male.
 1924 - California growers, faced with the loss of
Mexican labor because of quota restrictions in the
Immigration Act recruited Filipinos.
 Many young Filipino males went to urban areas
seeking jobs. Discrimination, along with lack of
education and job skills, resulted in their getting only
low-paying domestic and personal service work in
hotels, restaurants, other businesses, and residences.
 Feeling that they were being exploited by their
employers, Filipinos often joined unions (or formed
their own unions when denied membership in existing
unions) and went on strike, intensifying management
resentment. Ironically, the union hierarchy also
disliked them and later joined in efforts to bar Filipinos
from the U.S.
Since the Immigration Act of 1965, Filipino
immigration has been quite high.
 About half of all Filipino Americans speak only
 The largest concentration of Filipinos outside the
Philippines is in Hawaii.
The Koreans
Koreans arrived in substantial numbers after the
Korean War and the Refugee Relief Act in 1953.
The immigration law of 1965 opened the doors to
Asian immigrants even more.
Almost 70% of the Korean American population
identifies itself as Christian.
 Nationwide, the 12% self-employment rate of
Korean Americans is the highest of all ethnic or
racial groups, including whites.
 Ethnic churches make important contributions to
Korean immigrant communities, serving more than
religious purpose. The church becomes a social
organization, providing religious and ethnic
fellowship, a personal community, and a family
atmosphere within an alien and urban environment.
Korean American churches serve as a focal point for
enhancing ethnic identity.
Koreans: Middleman Minority
The 12 percent self-employment rate of Korean
Americans is the highest of all groups. In cities and
exurbs, small Korean family-operated businesses
are especially conspicuous.
 In Los Angeles, they dominate the retail wig and
liquor business. In D.C., Philadelphia, New York
City, and Chicago, they are visible as grocery-store
owners and fruit-stand operators. Others work as
employees in these small stores and firms, which
penetrate the black and Hispanic markets.
 Because they occupy an intermediate position in
trade and commerce between producer and
consumer, Koreans are a middleman minority.
The Vietnamese
As the Vietnam War ended, Vietnamese refugees
entered the U.S.
 Immigration from Vietnam remains significant.
 Contributing to Vietnamese immigrants’ adjustment
problem was the federal government’s policy of
scattering the refugees throughout the U.S.
 Vietnamese have lower labor force participation, and
median family incomes, higher poverty and
unemployment rates, and disproportionate
representation in low-skill, low-paying jobs, than
most East Asian groups.
Other Southeast Asians
Of the approximately 1 million Indochinese
Americans identified by the 2000 census
24% were from Laos
15% were from Cambodia (Kampuchea)
61% were from Vietnam
111,000 were from Thailand (formerly Siam)
Asian American Political Activist and Interest Groups
Asian American Federation of Union Members (AAFUM)
Asian American for Equality (AAFE)
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA)
Asian American Women for Equality (AWE)
Asian Pacific American Coalition for Presidential Appointments (APACPA)
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
Asian Pacific American Voters Project (APAVP)
Asian Pacific Labor Alliance (APLA)
Asian Pacific Voter Registration Project (APVRP)
Asian Immigrant Women Advocates (AIWA)
Association of Indians in America
Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)
Chinese Americans United for Self-Empowerment (CAUSE)
Chinese American Voter Education Committee (CAVEC)
Asian American Political Activist and Interest Groups
Chinatown Voter Education Alliance
Chinese American Citizens Alliance
Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans for Fair Representation (CAPAFR)
Japanese Americans Citizens League (JACL)
Korean American Coalition (KAC)
Korean Immigrant Women Advocates (KIWA)
Little Tokyo’s People’s Rights Organization (LTPRO)
National Council of Japanese American Redress (NCJAR)
Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA)
Inter Ethnic Cooperation in Political Activism
Black Korean Alliance (BKA)
Latino and Asian Coalition to Improve our Neighborhood (LACTION)
Naturalization Rates by Years in U.S. and by Race, 1990
All immigrants (in thousands)
Naturalization rates by years in U.S.
0-10 years
11-20 years
21 or more years
Naturalization rates by Race
Non-Hispanic Whites
The naturalization rates did not decrease for Asian immigrants between 1970 to 1990
U.S. Supreme Court Cases affecting Americans of Asian Origin
Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886)
Takao Ozama v. United States, 260 U.S. 178 (1922)
United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, 261 U.S. 204 (1923)
Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 U.S. 81 (1943)
Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1994)
Oyama v. State of California, 332 U.S. 633 (1948)
- California Alien Land Law of 1913 and 1920
Social Indicators About Asian-Americans
(in percentage)