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Chinese and Filipino American History in America - Essay Example

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Though the term Asian-American is less than 50 years old, they were some of the first people to land on the shores of America and have had permanent settlements for almost 250 years. This group of hyphenated Americans is comprised mostly of people of Chinese and Filipino decent…
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Chinese and Filipino American History in America
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Download file to see previous pages Both Chinese and Filipino immigrants followed different paths but faced similar hardships when coming to America. They also had their own unique experiences. Chinese sailors arrived in Hawaii in 1778 where many settled and married Hawaiian women. Immigration continued into the 19th and 20th century as additional Chinese and Filipino workers were brought in to work on the sugar and pineapple plantations. The mid-1800s saw a surge in Asian immigration as many were brought in to work in California. Along with this surge in Asian immigration came a growing discrimination, anti-Chinese activism, and a fear called yellow peril.
A relatively large group of Chinese came to the United States beginning in 1849, the start of the California gold rush. They stayed on and increased in numbers to work on the Transcontinental Railroad. Their work ethic is best described by Mary Cone writing in 1876 when she says they were, "[...] far more earnest and faithful than any other miners. [...] [T]hey enjoy the universal reputation of conscientious fidelity" (as cited in Mary Cone, 2003). However, when the economy faltered in 1870 the loss of jobs and competition for scarce jobs brought, "dislike and even racial suspicion and hatred. Such feelings were accompanied by anti-Chinese riots and pressure, especially in California, for the exclusion of Chinese immigrants from the United States" (Chinese immigration, 2004). During this period, a political party called The Workingman's Party was started in San Francisco with the slogan, "The Chinese Must Go" (The workingmen's party). This political pressure resulted in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which virtually ended Chinese immigration for over a century.
With the loss of employment and mounting discrimination, the Chinese moved to a safe sanctuary in San Francisco that would later become known as Chinatown. In this neighborhood, they were able to provide a close knit social structure and offer community support to families and each other. It also allowed them to organize into a political faction that opposed anti-Chinese laws. Here, the Chinese community has maintained the Chinese values and cultural traditions and has developed a thriving Asian-American community inside San Francisco.
Though the Filipinos took a different route to their American destination, their experiences and challenges were similar to the Chinese. The first permanent settlement of Filipinos was in the marshlands of Louisiana in 1763 as sailors escaped Spanish ships to escape their brutal treatment (Claudio-Perez, 1998). Steady immigration continued into the west coast throughout the 19th century, but the largest wave came between 1924 and 1935 when more than 100,000 Filipinos flooded into America to work in the booming agricultural business (Asian Pacific American studies, 2005). Filipinos settled mostly in large West Coast cities such as San Francisco and Seattle where the ships from Manila would land (Bautista, 2002). Most of them worked in the fields of California and Washington harvesting seasonal crops.
In general, they were a migrant group that followed the crops through the seasons, and only settled for short periods in near ghetto conditions of 'Little Manilas". During the season, the population of the Little Manila in Seattle would shrink to a few hundred people, but in the winter it would be home for 3,500 occupants (Bautista, 2002). Here they would be located near the center of vice and entertainment. Because ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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