Richard Rodriguez article, “The Chinese in All of Us (1944)”, argues that many different cultures have contributed to making up the American culture. Rodriguez backs up this claim by sharing
Dating from the early 1900’s, till this day, people are still risking their lives to pursue the “American Dream”,in the pursuit of happiness and wealth. There are some obvious differences, but one underlying reason. They all come from a different country. According to Boustan, Platt, About 30 million immigrants arrived in the United States during this time. By 1910, 22 percent of the U.S. labor force was foreign born. It is much harder making it across the border legally. The greatest similarity of the 1900’s immigrants and today is that they both come for economic improvement.
Many new arrivals still struggle to survive and often Chinese Americans still encounter suspicion and hostility. Chinese Americans have achieved great success and now, like so many others, they are stitching together a new American identity. As Michelle Ling, a young Chinese American, tells Bill Moyers in Program 3, “I get to compose my life one piece at a time, however I feel like it. Not to say that it’s not difficult and that there isn’t challenge all the time, but more than material wealth, you get to choose what you are, who you are.” (www.pbs.org)
Sui Sin Far’s short story, “In the Land of the Free” touches on the reality of being a Chinese immigrant in late-19th century America. The story revolves around a Chinese couple. The husband is ready for his wife, Lae Choo, to arrive from China with their new son, later named Kim. However, due to policies on immigration, the American government was forced to take possession of the child due to a lack of paperwork. However, Far’s short-story has a deeper meaning than just focusing on unfair immigration policies. She takes advantage of the story’s ending to symbolize a rejection of immigrant culture, most especially Chinese immigrant culture, by taking advantage of Kim’s change in behaviors, appearance, and dialect.
Beginning in the late 19th century and continuing to the early 20th century, many Chinese families struggled to gain social, economic, and educational stature in both China and the United States. In the book, A Transnational History of a Chinese Family, by Haiming Liu, we learn about the Chang family rooted in Kaiping County, China, who unlike many typical Chinese families’ exemplified hard-work and strong cultural values allowing them to pursue an exceptional Chinese-American lifestyle. Even with immigration laws preventing Chinese laborers and citizens to enter unless maintaining merchant status, Yitang and Sam Chang managed to sponsor approximately 40 relatives to the states with their businesses in herbalist
Millions of immigrants over the previous centuries have shaped the United States of America into what it is today. America is known as a “melting pot”, a multicultural country that welcomes and is home to an array of every ethnic and cultural background imaginable. We are a place of opportunity, offering homes and jobs and new economic gains to anyone who should want it. However, America was not always such a “come one, come all” kind of country. The large numbers of immigrants that came during the nineteenth century angered many of the American natives and lead to them to blame the lack of jobs and low wages on the immigrants, especially the Asian communities. This resentment lead to the discrimination and legal exclusion of immigrants,
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the United States gained many new citizens – immigrants from other countries in search of the American Dream. However, the immigrants, who came from countries like faced a large obstacle in the form of prejudice. The belief that foreigners were less than native-born Americans was prevalent, and this nativism was present in both society and the laws. Sometimes foreigners were the subject of a museum display in which Americans viewed them as spectacles, not people, and laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 limited or even banned immigration from certain countries. Social Darwinism was a popular theory used to support these nativist views; the fact that many immigrants lived in poverty was used as evidence that they were inferior and failed because natural selection, so to improve American society immigrants should be removed or banned. However, some citizens viewed these policies and beliefs with distaste, including Willa Cather.
When learning information about important facts, dates, and the influential people who made up U.S. history, I do not remember learning much of anything regarding the Irish, Chinese, or Japanese. Well, except for Pearl Harbor and the U.S. retaliating against Japan by dropping atomic bombs. I definitely learned that people from around the world immigrated by boat across vast amounts of ocean for a chance to thrive in the land of freedom called America. I learned that millions of people entered through Ellis Island in the late nineteenth century, looking upon the Statue of Liberty, in hopes of finding their right to life, liberty, and happiness. I learned that the majority of these people were stricken of their identities and provided new American names that were easier to pronounce. I did not however, learn about the great discrimination and hardship that these people suffered at the hands of white Americans. The major theme presented is labor discrimination, unequal and unfair pay, long hours, and harsh working and living environments in regards to the Mexican Americans, Chinese, and Japanese. Takaki (2008) paints a vivid picture of discrimination and suffering of the people known as the “others” living and working in the multicultural “melting pot” United States, in his book A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America.
Immigrants have been seeking salvation or just new opportunities in America for hundreds of years. Even Americans originally started off as immigrants. They came to settle in this New World to seek opportunities. These types of immigrants were white, strong, leaders and felt they were superior. In the mid nineteenth century, the “new” immigrants were also welcomed. According to President Grant, these “new” immigrants were the weak, broken, and crippled people who had nowhere else to go. Grant thought these “new” immigrants would ruin the tone of the American life into a more vulgarized tone now that these immigrants are filling up the jails and asylums (Document 4). They mostly came from
Additionally, an excellent example of contemporary nativism in America is the Proposition 187 of 1994 in California (Aron, 2006). Accordingly, the Act was to undocumented immigrants from social benefits including education, healthcare, and other essential services. The aim of the proposition was to recriminalize the foreign population in addition to heightening the cost of their visibility. Notably, that implied that the Act was to prevent foreigners from participating in politics in addition to preventing them from becoming significant Democratic, labor, and community
After the first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in the United States in the early 1840s during the California Gold Rush, many Chinese people continued to travel across the Pacific, escaping poor conditions in China with hopes and ambitions for a better life in America. Many more Chinese immigrants began arriving into the 1860s on the Pacific coast for work in other areas such as the railroad industry. The immigrants noticed an increasing demand for their labor because of their readiness to work for low wages. Many of those who arrived did not plan to stay long, and therefore there was no push for their naturalization. The immigrants left a country with thousands of years of a “decaying feudal system,” corruption, a growing
In the short story Two Kinds by Amy Tan, she writes about a child named Jing-mei and her experiences with her mother pushing her to become a prodigy, all while her mother deals with being a Chinese immigrant that just moved to the United States. The two countries obviously share very different cultures and this plays a part in the story as she pushes Jing-mei to live ‘The American Dream’. Her mother strongly believes that in America you can be whatever you want to be. This, to some, may not be true, however this idea is strongly pushed in the Chinese culture. This is shown when Jing-mei fails to do any prodigious task that her mother puts in front of her which leads to her mother being ultimately disappointed in Jing-mei. Her failures ends up causing a huge argument between Jing-mei and her mother. The argument could be called the climax of the story. This confrontation wouldn’t have happened if Jing-mei’s mother didn’t have the huge idea that The American Dream is a legitimate thing, and Jing-mei’s mother wouldn’t have that perception of America if the Chinese culture didn’t present the United States as such a place. Based on Chinese culture and perspectives, there are numerous fallacies concerning the American Dream, and these are displayed in Amy Tan’s short story “Two Kinds”.
The focus of our group project is on Chinese Americans. We studied various aspects of their lives and the preservation of their culture in America. The Chinese American population is continually growing. In fact, in 1990, they were the largest group of Asians in the United States (Min 58). But living in America and adjusting to a new way of life is not easy. Many Chinese Americans have faced and continue to face much conflict between their Chinese and American identities. But many times, as they adapt to this new life, they are also able to preserve their Chinese culture and identity through various ways. We studied these things through the viewing of a movie called Joy Luck Club,
When thousands of Chinese migrated to California after the gold rush the presence caused concern and debate from other Californians. This discussion, popularly called the “Chinese Question,” featured in many of the contemporary accounts of the time. In the American Memory Project’s “California: As I Saw It” online collection, which preserves books written in California from 1849-1900, this topic is debated, especially in conjunction with the Chinese Exclusion Act. The nine authors selected offer varying analyses on Chinese discrimination and this culminating act. Some give racist explanations, but the majority point towards the perceived economic competition between
In the mid 19th century, America was viewed as a hotspot for freedom and wealth. When the noise of the gold rush flooded the world, immigrants started to see America more appetizing than ever. The Chinese saw America as a place to have a fresh start and as a place of refuge because of it’s generosity, so they immigrated to the west in great numbers. There was a large Chinese population in Virginia and all along the Pacific coast. Writers Mark Twain and Maxine Hong Kingston both wrote in great detail about the Chinese Immigrants. They went into detail about the immigrants and how they came over and why. Although Twain and Kingston both wrote about the immigrants in a positive light, Twain was sympathetic of the immigrants and Kingston focused more on their image and her ancestors.