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False Memories; Chapter 8

chapter 8 notes – Asian Americans: model minorities?

chapter begins with a story of a sociologist, riding in a taxi

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– he was born in the US of Japanese heritage (grandfather came to US in 1880s)

– taxi drive asks him how long he was in the US (the answer is since birth)

– brings up the perception of ‘other’ around Asian Americans

focus of this chapter: Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans (oldest Asian groups in the US; often considered to be ‘model minorities’)

– model minorities stereotype: successful, affluent, highly educated, not suffer from minority group status (remember this is a stereotype)

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why an increase in immigration from the Philippines and India into the US?

– both colonized

— India by Britain

— Philippines 1st by Spain, then the US

current demographics

– Asian Americans are about 5.6% of the total population (2012) – see table 8.1 above

— contrasted with African Americans (13%) and Hispanic Americans (16%)

– overall, rapid growth in numbers of Asian Americans in US recently

— one reason: immigration changes in 1965

— one of the largest growing groups – Asian Indians

— rapid growth is expected to continue

– 10 largest Asian groups in fig 8.1 below

– high percentage of foreign born in Asian American population

— 88% of Asian Americans are either 1st generation (foreign born) or 2nd generation (their children)

— — see figure 8.2 below

– similar to Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans are

+ likely to identify with country of origin 1st

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origins and cultures

great diversity in languages, cultures, religions

– Asian cultures are much older than the founding of the US

– these cultures are quite different from each other, but there are some similarities

similarities:

– group membership is more important than the individual

— some of above from Confucianism which emphasizes a person is one part of the larger social system, one part of the status hierarchy

— — therefore loyalty to group, conformity to societal expections and respect for superiors are important

– it is important to be sensitive to the opinions and judgements of others; avoid public embarrassment, giving offence

— guilt / shame dichotomy

— — Asian cultures: emphasis on not bringing shame to the family / group from others (if someone goes against societal expectations, they are bringing shame onto their family / group)

— — — emphasis on proper behavior, conformity to convention and how others judge one, avoid embarressment (to self or to others), avoid personal confrontations

— — — overall desire to seek harmony

— — Western culture emphasizes individuals develop personal consciences and we need to avoid guilt (if someone goes against societal expectations, they are guilty of … — Westerners guided by personal sense of guilt)

– generally (but not always) traditionally patriarchal

— in China foot binding was practiced for many generations

http://www.visiontimes.com/uploads/2013/07/chinese-foot-binding-11.png

the above tendencies are more likely for individuals new to the US, but not as likely for individuals / families in the US for many generations

there is greater diversity within the Asian American population than the Hispanic American population

Contact Situations and the Development of the Chinese American and Japanese American Communities

Chinese Americans

– immigration push and pull from China

– began in early 1800s

— push (from China) – social unrest in China due to colonization of China by different European nations plus a rapid increase in population

— pull (to the US) – economic opportunities such as Gold Rush

‘Yellow Peril’ – example of social construction of a racial group

– term began in newspapers; meant to depict Chinese immigrants in a negative, demeaning way

– without any regard for differences in culture, it was applied to Japanese immigrants

Noel Hypothesis
at contact and the following conditions exist result
2 or more groups come together – ethnocentrism- competition- power differential among the groups stratificationracism

application of Noel Hypothesis to Chinese immigration

– yes, power differential from the beginning

– ethnocentrism existed from the beginning

– in the beginning little to no competition for jobs (robust economy and there were many jobs Americans did not want)

— in fact, the Chinese immigrants were often praised for being industrious, tireless

— when the economy declined and jobs became more scarce, competion and then stratification / racism

— — Gold Rush of 1849 no longer providing jobs for Chinese immigrants; completion of the railroads, which had employed many Chinese immigrants (as well as other groups such as Irish immigrants)

— — also more Anglo-Americans are arriving from east coast, increasing need for jobs

Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

– by law, Chinese immigrants were not allowed to become citizens (therefore very little to nothing in political and other sources of power)

– virtually banned all immigration from China

– though many Chinese men that immigrated from China had not initially wanted to stay, some were staying

— since it was mostly men that came over, once the Chinese Exclusion Act passed, bringing women over was not possible

— plus antimiscegenation laws prevented Chinese men from marrying white women

– this ban continued until WW II, when the US made a distinction between Chinese and Japanese

— at this point, China is our ally, so now acceptance

— however, at this point, Japan is our enemy (even US Japanese Americans put into ‘relocation’ centers)

— at start of WW II, Chinese immigration into US increased somewhat, increased even more with legal changes in immigration in 1965

split labor market

– the Chinese immigrants could be used by business owners to thwart organized labor, so native-born workers saw them as a threat and pushed for the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act

E:316heally stuffHealey_5e_JPEGs_0Healey_5e_Figure 8.3.jpg

‘delayed’ 2nd generation

– number of Chinese in US declined after Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (see fig 8.3 above)

– most of those that remained were men; ratio of women to men was 1:25

– due to antimiscegenation laws forbading Chinese men from marrying white women, very slow growth for a 2nd generation (those born in the US)

– took until 1920s for 1/3 of Chinese Americans to be native born

— since the 2nd generation is often a link between the 1st generation and majority society, the delay of a 2nd generation increased isolation of Chinese immigrants

the ethnic enclave

– discrimination forced Chinese immigrants from smaller cities, rural areas

– most came to larger cities, in particular San Francisco (but, also LA)

– in the cities ethnic enclaves developed

— continued isolation

— ability to maintain culture

— though ‘China towns’ had existed from the beginning, these ethnic enclaves became more important

— many of the men who stayed were skilled artisans, experienced business owners, etc – so recreated a semblance of Chinese society

— allowed for continuation of culture (language, traditions, religion, values, dress)

— China town enclaves became self-contained

– there were efforts by Chinese immigrants to contest racist legislation, other descrimination, but lack of power (not even being citizens) prevented any real progress

— at this point, China is itself colonized, so not able to speak for Chinese in the US

survival and development

– exclusion and discrimination continues into 20th century

– some economic opportunity in 2 business types: restaurants and laundries

— restaurants – at this point, very few came from majority community; served Chinese, mostly single men

— laundries – was used by majority society and was somewhat economically successful; however as more homes got washers (and then dryers), their use dwindled

– the second generation grew up in these enclaves

the 2nd generation

– more contact with majority society

– abandoned some traditional customs; not as loyal to the clan system that had been so important to the 1st generation

– importance of WW II – many job opportunities outside of the enclave opened up

— those who served in WW II could take advantage of the GI Bill and get advanced education (which improves employment opportunities)

— some of this group are the background for the concept of model minority (a minority that has done well dispite prejudice, discrimination)

— in reality, the Chinese American population has many at ends of a continuum (some doing well; others around poverty level)

— occupational structure can be considered bipolar

Japanese Americans

– when Chinese Exclusion Act implemented in 1882, immigration from Japan began (there was now a vacuum for low skilled, low pay labor)

the anti-Japanese campaign

– Japanese immigration also began on the west coast, with similar employment

– prejudices, discrimination agains Chinese immigrants were applied to Japanese immigrants (ex: ‘Yellow Peril’)

– 1907 – agreement between US and Japan – the Gentlemen’s Agreement

— drastically cut immigration of men into US, but did allow women

— same antimiscegenation laws forbade Japanese immigrants from marrying white women

— male Japanese immigrants brought Japanese wives to US (either women they had been married to prior to their leaving or women they married ‘in proxy’); this continued until 1920s’ restrictive immigration policies

— as seen in fig 8.3 above, a Japanese 2nd generation was able to begin soon after the arrival of male immigration (unlike Chinese 2nd generation)

– many of the Japanese immigrants that came to US were skilled farmers; many found economic stability in some type of farming

— many majority people were concerned with result of the Alien Land Act (CA legislature, 1913); non-citizens (anyone from Asia) could not own land

— not successful; Japanese 1st generation (not citizens; Issei) got around this by putting the land in the names of their children (2nd generation, and, therefore citizens)

ethnic enclave

– similar to Chinese immigrants, Japanese immigrants create their own subsociety

— most in rural, agriculture; some in cities

— did business mostly within the Japanese American community

– though 2nd generation Japanese Americans (Nisei) were successful in educational attainment, it did not mean they got jobs commenserate with their education

Notice of relocation for Persons of Japanese Ancestry, 1942. (Gilder Lehrman C

relocation camps

– December 7, 1941 Imperial Japan attacks Pearl Harbor (in Hawaii); almost 2,500 die

– before Pearl Harbor, already a lot of anti-Japanese sentiment in US; FBI had been collecting information on Japanese American ‘leaders’ who were frequently sent to relocation camps earlier than other family members and without family knowing what had happened

— the camps they were sent to were more restrictive

– President Franklin D. Roosevelt and congress declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941

– the prejudice and discrimination already aimed at Japanese Americans increased; a lot of concern about their loyalty to the US since the US was now at war with Japan

– February 1942 Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066

— internship lasted through most of the war – a total of 3.5 years

– result: West coast Japanese Americans were ‘relocated’ to various camps in western US

relocation camp conditions – most were 2nd generation, therefore US citizens

– behind barbed wire

– armed guards

– traditional Japanese American family life is challenged

— women gain some status

— the 2nd generation (Nisei) have more power, freedom as opposed to traditional Japanese American families

– most families had a matter of weeks, many just a few days notice

– could only bring what they could carry – therefore left many family heirlooms, etc behind

– sold off property, etc at extremely low prices; some places just abandoned in the hope that they would be home soon

military service

– at first Japanese American citizens were not allowed to enter military due to loyalty concerns

– when allowed into armed forces, put into segregated units, where they did very well

– not allowed to enter armed forces until they answered questions indicating their loyalty

— some objected to some of these questions, and made statements along the lines of “I would like to serve if my father, brother, uncle, etc is no longer in separate relocation camp

E:316heally stuffHealey_5e_JPEGs_0Healey_5e_Figure 8.4.jpg

above graph shows large increase in immigration from Asia in 1960s

E:316heally stuffHealey_5e_JPEGs_0Healey_5e_Figure 8.5.jpg

above graph: since 1950s Asian immigration heaviest from: China, India, Philippines; but also Korea and Vietnam

– primary motivation: economic

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