Asian American history has a rough history. The tension between Asian and American cultures began with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which banned the immigration of Chinese laborers for ten years as well as placed restrictions on the Chinese who were already in the country. Once the Exclusion Act expired in 1892, Congress extended it for another ten years with the implementation of the Geary Act. Congress asked all Chinese residents to register and obtain a proof of residence, and without obtaining the proper documentation he or she would be deported. By 1943, Congress repealed all parts of the exclusion act. Our history has become unclear of what we are actually looking for when it comes to a coalition between the Asian America citizen as well as the American citizen.
The Immigration Act of 1965 capped the limit of immigrants to 170,000 from outside the Western Hemisphere with a maximum of 20,00 from any one country. The Immigration Act of 1990 further refined this rule by putting a “flexible” world wide cap on the number of immigrants looking to come to the United States.
As you can see Asian American history has been filled with tension and thus there continues to be a growing number from the Asian American community.
For the only time in American history, an entire ethnic group was singled out, and forbidden to gain entrance on to American soil. Granted it was not directed against the Asian Community as a whole, but to a more specific culture who identified with being Asian. American history has given Asian Americans many reasons to believe that they are not wanted on American soil. Our history makes it sound as though we want nothing to do with diversifying the nation.
Even during World War II — Americans unjustly imprisoned Japanese American citizens because of their association with being Asian.
You would think that as the Asian American population grows the tendency of violence against them would lessen, but that happens not to be the case. The last 20 years has shown that the Asian American community has become the fastest growing target for hate crimes in the United States.
One example of discrimination on the Asian American population was the case of Vincent Chin in 1982. Chin was beaten to death by two White men who accused Chin of being the reason for the economic recession at the time.
The criminal justice system did not hear the case on the charges of second degree murder, instead the judge decided to plea bargain for a reduced sentence to manslaughter (accidental death). The judge decided that the two White men did not need jail time, but instead gave the two of the a $3,700 fine. And where by a lot of Asian American history is clad with prejudice, you can see that some prejudice is still fairly fresh in the minds of White Americans.
The verdict and sentence made by the judge outraged the entire Asian American community, causing them to come together and form several multi-racial coalitions which would demand justice for the murder of Vincent Chin as well as further cases such as these.
The case of Vincent Chin is just one of the many examples of how the Asian American is seen as not being “real” Americans, and cannot even be classified as Asian Americans. Another reason for creating these coalitions was in response to the murders of Asian miners by their White bosses. But the Asian miners were not allowed to testify against their White bosses.
Sure, our history is not the most favorable to Asian American citizens, but our history has made an effort to be better with being tolerant of people from all different races.