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The Asian American Experience - Essay Example

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In the essay, the author discusses the Asian immigration experience in the United States. The focus is not so much in establishing a chronological account of the social phenomenon as in analyzing the social and cultural forces that have operated in the regard for Asian Americans …
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The Asian American Experience
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Download file to see previous pages The Chinese were the first people to immigrate in large numbers to the United States by the late 1840’s. Driven by the desire to extricate themselves from economic hardship so prevalent in their country and the impending British takeover of China after winning the Opium War of 1839 -1842, the Chinese came in large numbers in the United States. They were attracted to do this due to the gold rush that was occurring in the California region. Most of them ended up as contract laborers. (Barkan, 2007)
Discrimination showed its presence when the Chinese were obligated to pay the Foreign Miner Tax. This piece of legislation required all foreign miners to pay a certain tax for their participation in the industry. The tax measure was only applied to Chinese workers in spite of the predominance of European immigrants. When they resisted paying the tax due to the unfair application, the Chinese were physically abused and even murdered without hope of retribution from the justice system due to the fact that the law prevented Chinese immigrants from testifying against Whites in court.
In the PBS documentary entitled Becoming American – The Chinese Experience, we are informed how the Chinese also entered into being merchants, laundry workers, domestics, gardeners, farmers and as railroad workers in 1865 for the Transcontinental Railroad Project. Almost 12,000 Chinese laborers were employed to the dirtiest and hazardous work by the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific in constructing mile after mile of railroad track. An estimated 1,000 of them died as a result of poor working conditions such as rock avalanches and explosion accident.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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