History of Multi-Cultural America Different Mirror A Term Paper

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History of Multi-Cultural America

Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America - Ronald Takaki

What was the result of the 1903 Supreme Court Lone Wolf Decision and the 1906 Burke Act? The Lone Wolf Decision came about partly in response to a law passed by Congress in 1902. That law "accelerated the transfer of lands from Indians to whites," according to Takaki (237). The provisions of the 1902 law required that those who inherited the land must sell all allotted lands at public auctions - once the original owners had passed away. Basically, this meant that unless an Indian had the money to purchase their own family lands, they would lose what had been their property. The President (Theodore Roosevelt) was informed that this new law would ensure that all Indian lands will pass into the hands of settlers within a short few years.

But, notwithstanding this injustice, when Chief Lone Wolf (of the Kiowas) went to the Supreme Court and argued that existing treaties gave tribal councils final approval rights over land issues, he lost his case. So, the Lone Wolf Decision resulted in a policy that essentially gave the federal government the authority to simply over-rule existing treaties, and make new policies out of whole cloth. And as a result of that decision, the government began arranging for Indians to become wage earners, many of them working on tribal lands leased to sugar beet companies. The logic was apparently that since the federal government is basically seizing Indian land, then the federal government should also teach the Indians a trade so they could become self-sufficient. This strategy did not work very well: some 40 years later, the Brookings Institute reported that (238) only 2% of all Native Americans had incomes of over $500 annually, and in fact American Indians had lost 60% of the land they once called their own. In summary, the Burke Act of 1906 basically shot down key provisions of the Dawes Act, and allowed the interior secretary to issue "fee-simple" titles to any white person "competent and capable of managing his or her affairs" (237).

2) Both Chinese and Japanese emigrated to the U.S. Contrast the formation of families in the U.S. among these emigrants. There was a major difference in the make-up of Chinese immigrants in comparison to the immigrants from Japan. To wit, some fifty years after the Chinese immigration to the United States began, only 5% of the immigrants were women (247) - whereas, many more Japanese immigrants were female. In 1920, 35% of the Japanese immigrants in California were women, and 46% of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii were women.

As for families, because so few Chinese immigrants were women in the early part of the 20th Century, there were very few families in Chinatown (e.g., it takes a man and a woman to produce a child). But by 1932, on the other hand, more than half of the Japanese-American population had been born in America, because the Japanese government had allowed women - even promoted the idea of allowing women - to immigrate to the U.S. Why did the Japanese government have the vision to promote women as quality immigrants to the U.S. For one thing, Japan had a strong central government, and China did not, so decisions could be made resulting from rules set in motion by the central Japanese government that would be beneficial to all Japanese. For another thing, the Japanese government had heard about the problems facing single male Chinese laborers in the U.S., such as prostitution, and they wanted their immigrating citizens to have a better life abroad.

3) Discuss how the Jews' avid reaching out for acceptance into and participation in U.S. society fueled anti-Semitic campaigns such as Henry Ford's, various universities, and family housing. Prior to the turn of the 20th Century, Jews were constantly persecuted - and even killed in massive numbers in "pogroms" (massacres) - in eastern Europe and in Russia. And so it is easy to understand why a Jewish family in the 1880s would be wishing to migrate from Russia to America. In fact, Jews in Europe at that time were not allowed to own property, and were forced to live in urban areas where they also worked. And whereas Japanese immigrants felt comfortable returning to their homeland, Jews leaving Europe and Russia knew they were political refugees arriving in America.

When WWI began, about a third of all Russian Jews had emigrated out of Russia, and the great majority of those (279) had arrived in America. But even though by 1905, the Lower East Side of New York City had seen the arrival of a half million Jews, not all was well with the Jewish immigrant community.

As Jewish immigrants learned how to be part of the working class, in many instances they grew into successful business entrepreneurs.

And in general, when they learned to assimilate (in a process called "purification") (298) into the American consciousness of language, culture, even changing their names to be more "American," problems emerged. By 1916, 44% of the Hunter College (New York City) student population was Jewish; and by 1920, Harvard University was 20% Jewish - both statistics leading to a backlash of anti-Semitic fervor.

The U.S. government passed a restrictive immigration law in 1924, no doubt at least partially designed to reduce the number of Jews emigrating from Europe. And indeed, that legislation was initiated in response to the very public anti-Semitic actions of well-known business tycoons like Henry Ford, who led a campaign against "international Jews." After all, Ford charged, "Jewish financiers" (308) weren't building anything, and labor leaders of Jewish extraction were "interrupting work" in America - and hence, the Jews were becoming a huge problem in America.

4) What happened to the Chicano community when the Depression came? During the Depression, Chicanos began "actively" (325) participating in workers' rights, because they believed their own dignity required those actions. The desire to picket and do other tasks that are labor-related sprang from the terrible conditions in migrant work camps. Indeed, the migrant camps that many Mexicans had been working in - described by Takaki as "squalid and degrading" - did not allow bathing by workers, and the growers who hired migrant labor felt absolutely no responsibility towards their workers' living conditions. And so, when (between 1928 and 1933, the Depression years) wages were cut for Mexican farm laborers from 35 cents an hour to 14 cents an hour, yet another act of degradation, the Chicanos had little choice but to join the labor movement.

Reacting to the Chicano strike in 1933 - when Mexican workers demanded a dollar per hundredweight of picked cotton but were only offered 60 cents per hundredweight - authorities dumped Chicano belongings on the highway and arrested strike leaders. And to make things worse for the future of Mexican children, the curriculum for Mexican students - where growers had influence over school districts - was geared towards "domestic science and manual training" (328).

In fact this form of institutional bigotry is illustrated on page 329 of Takaki's book; a Chicano recalled a sixth grade teacher suggesting he forget any notions of going to high school and enjoying an advanced education: "Your people are here to dig ditches," said the teacher. Your people are here "to do pick and shovel work..."

5) Name four northern cities to which black migrated between 1910-1920. Explain the difference between the jobs they left behind in the South, and the jobs they took in the North. The four cities into which numerous Southern blacks poured were Cleveland, Detroit, New York and Chicago. The jobs many of these blacks had worked at in the South included being sharecroppers and tenant farmers, still dependent upon white landlords, as they were following Emancipation in the 19th Century. The pitiful reality of these menial jobs growing and harvesting crops is that, following the harvest each fall, many black workers discovered they were even further in debt than last year.

And meanwhile, since the tide of immigrants into the U.S. had ebbed with the advent of WWI, the factories, workshops and mills in the north needed fresh hands. They needed those hands not because of any sense of social or racial fairness, but just simply because workers were desperately needed in this booming Industrial Revolution period of time. An example of what lured blacks from menial farm jobs in the South to fairly good production jobs in the north can be found in these facts: a black worker (342) in Georgia could earn $1.25 to $1.50 per day, with no housing included, but in Newark, NJ, a black worker could earn $2.75 per day plus a clean place to live.

6) Why do you think the author named this chapter, "Through a Glass Darkly"? One can see that the tumultuous times following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor were "dark" times in more ways than one. First, the fear and loathing generated against Japan by…[continue]

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