Sungesh Chan gives a descriptive history of Asian- Americans in the United States of America since the Asian immigration into America until the resent past. She captures the social, economic and political status of the Asian Americans in the American dominated country . Sucheng Chan is currently a History professor at the California University and the chair of Asian American studies.
The book Asian American, gives a chronological account of Asians in the United States of America, pointing out the struggles and accomplishments of Asians in America. During the early 20th century the Asians in the United States were great victims of racial discrimination. During immigration of Asian into the USA, they settled in Hawaii and California where they faced a lot of discrimination.
She points out the discriminatory hurdles that Asians have jumped towards becoming a respected race in the United States of America. In the history of America there were many anti Asian campaigns.
One of them was the banning of marriage between the whites and the ‘ Mongolians’. The ill attitudes of American citizens towards Asians were also reflected in the political sphere in the United States of America (Chan 43).
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In the early 20th century the USA Congress banned Asian immigration into the United States. After this act was passed, Canada also followed suit. It was until 1943 when the Asian immigrants were granted citizenship (Chan 56). This was due to the discriminative legislations that existed in the United States. The late 19th Century and the early 20th Century saw a high influx of Asian immigrants into the United States. Most of these immigrants established their residence in the state of California.
The main reason for this was because of the transcontinental railroad completion in 1869. This railroad hugely accelerated the rate of industrialization, agricultural development and industrialization. Attracted by the economic success promises and dreams, the migrants found both hardships and opportunities in this new country.
In his book The Contemporary Asian American Experience, Timothy Fong takes the reader through the Asian migrant experience in the United States from their arrival to their eventual adoption and assimilation of the American culture.
Most of the Chinese immigrants who settled in California were railroad workers who hoped to make enough money and return home wealthy. Most of them did not plan to spend a lengthy time in the United States.
Fong states that although they were hugely welcomed when they first arrived as workers, their settlement started to raise eyebrows especially from the white natives. Laws that governed their immigration came to effect. These were known as Anti- Asian Laws and Sentiments. A perfect example was the Chinese Exclusion Act (Fong 12). This law restricted the immigration of the Chinese into the United States. The enactment of this law was a result of economic fears by the native white Americans who claimed that the Chinese workers were responsible for the observed decline in employment and wages.
The enactment of such acts had significant effects on the Chinese settler. The Chinese were forced to stick together in closeted communities to avoid the hostility of the native and local people. They did not have access efficient education facilities and a variety of other social amenities (Fong 9). The female gender was affected the most as they did have the ability to defend themselves from the discrimination directed at them.
Fong, Timothy P. The Contemporary Asian American Experience. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 2002.
Chan, Sucheng. Asian Americans: An Interpretative History. Boston, MA: Twayne. 1991.