Asian-Americans in the U.S. Historical Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

He predicted that by the year 2000, their 3% of the total population will increase with at least one additional percent (Takaki, 9).

Those Asians who came to the United States with the first immigration wave were mostly workers with no education drawn by the temptation of the Gold Rush on the West Coast, or by the shortage of labor forces the United States were confronted with at some point. Few of them were having higher education or even University degrees. Most of them struggled and worked hard to make a living and then to bring the rest of their families over to join them here (Takaki, 12). In this respect, they were no different than the rest the immigrants who were flooding in from Europe by the second half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. Yet, there were laws that were issued in order to stop some of these Asians to come into the United States. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited Chinese people to enter the country as immigrants, while forty-two years later, in 1924, the Japanese were also stopped from coming here for the same purposes (Takaki, 13).

Takaki points out that the discrimination based on race was in place in the United States ever since white supremacy the Naturalization Law came to be passed in 1790, stating that only the white exclusively were to be naturalized. It took the young American nation, a country built by immigrants, over a century and a half to abolish this law, advancing well into the second half of the twentieth century (Takaki, 13).

Going back to the question the Norfolk taxi driver in his forties asked him, Takaki reaches the conclusion that there is one simple explanation: a lack in the history lessons about the building of this nation, a shared mentality that was perpetuated over the years that proclaimed the European whites as the main race that contributed to the birth of the United States (Takaki, a Different Mirror, Chapter 1).

The Second World War brought tremendous changes for the American society as a whole and for the Asian-Americans in particular. Race and gender became two topics were starting to shatter the basis of the old traditional society. The world made women take the men's places in factories and everywhere where the country needed them, the specter of fascism and Nazism in particular, suddenly opened the eyes of many Americans who believed they were good Christians and never felt guilty for living in a country that were denying people equal rights based on their race or gender. The American people had still one more ugly feature to show, when after the attack of Pearl Harbor, thousands of Japanese-Americans were taken out of their homes and communities and forced to live in interment camps for several years. History needs to be recorded and taught to the average American as well as to the whole world in order for it to loose the chances to be repeated. Takaki was well aware that forgetfulness is the best and also the worst companion of the human mind.

Takaki, R. 1995. Democracy and Race: Asian-Americans and World War II. Chelsea House Publishers New York Philadelphia

1998. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian-Americans.…

Sources Used in Documents:

Takaki, R. 1995. Democracy and Race: Asian-Americans and World War II. Chelsea House Publishers New York Philadelphia

1998. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian-Americans. Little, Brown

2008. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Back Bay Books/Little, Brown, and Co.

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