Sketches and Souvenirs: 10 Things You Might Not Know About Asian American History -
by Jenn Fang
It’s almost the end of May. Do you know your Asian-American history?
Most of America isn’t aware that May is Asian-American Heritage Month. It’s a celebration that started in 1978, when Congress urged President Jimmy Carter to declare the week of May 4th ”Asian-American Heritage Week.” (That date was chosen to coincide with the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843, and with the completion of the first transcontinental railroad — built largely by Chinese laborers — on May 10, 1869.) More recently in 1990, following another vote by Congress, President George H.W. Bush expanded Asian-American Heritage Week to encompass the entire month of May.
Sadly, Asian-American history and heritage is rarely taught in U.S. public schools. So for those of you who’ve missed such curriculum, here’s a list of 10 factoids you may not have known about the history of Asian-Americans in this country:
1). The first Asians whose arrival in America was documented were Filipinos who escaped a Spanish galleon in 1763. They formed the first Asian-American settlement in U.S. history, in the swamps surrounding modern-day New Orleans.
2). In the years between 1917 and 1965, Uncle Sam explicitly outlawed immigration to the U.S. of all Asian people. Immigration from China, for example, was banned as early as 1882, when the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. It wasn’t until the Immigration Act of 1965— which abolished national origins as a basis for immigration decisions — that nearly 50 years of race-based discrimination against Asian immigrants ended.
3). Because of their race, Asians immigrants were denied the right to naturalize as U.S. citizens until the 1943 Magnuson Act was passed. Consequently, for nearly a century of U.S. history, Asians were barred from owning land and testifying in court by laws that specifically targeted “aliens ineligible to citizenship.” Even after the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, American-born children of Chinese immigrants were not regarded as American citizens until the landmark 1898 Supreme Court case, United States v. Wong Kim Ark, which established that the Fourteen Amendment also applied to people of Asian descent.
4). Among the earliest Asian immigrants, virtually all ethnicities worked together as physical laborers, particularly on Hawaii’s sugar cane plantations. On these plantations, a unique hybrid language — pidgin — developed that contained elements of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean and English. Today, pidgin is one of the official languages of Hawaii, a state that is itself 40% Asian.
5). Despite the Alien Land Law, which specifically prevented Asians from owning their own land, Japanese farmers were highly successful in the West Coast where they put into practice their knowledge of cultivating nutrient-poor soil to yield profitable harvests. By the 1920s, Japanese farmers (working their own land, or land held by white landowners that they managed) were the chief agricultural producers of many West Coast crops. In fact, the success of Japanese farmers is often cited as one of the reasons white landowners in California lobbied to support Japanese-American internment following the declaration of World War II.
6). Many of the early Asian immigrants who worked as laborers on plantations and in factories were instrumental in the formation of the American labour movement, helping to organize some of the first strikes and unions throughout the country. Japanese plantation workers, for example, engaged in the first organized strike in Hawaii in 1904.
7). Anti-miscegenation laws that denied marriage licenses between interracial couples specifically prohibited intermarriage between whites and Asians. For example, the 1922 Cable Act revoked the citizenship of any female U.S. citizen who married an “alien ineligible to citizenship,” a phrase repeatedly used in legal documents to refer to Asians.
8). Unlike Irish immigrants, who predominantly entered the United States via the Ellis Island immigration center, most Asian immigrants entered America by way of Angel Island Immigration Station. Unlike at Ellis Island, where immigrants might spend between two and five hours waiting to be processed, the Angel Island facility’s unspoken goal was to limit the flow of Asian immigrants into the country. Between 1910 and 1940, many prospective Asian immigrants were detained for as long as two years at Angel Island, stymied by U.S. immigration officials hoping to find reasons to deport them. Some of the detainees wrote poems in Chinese on the walls of the Angel Island detention facility; these poems have since been translated and collected into anthologies.
9). During World War II, Japanese American internees — including both Japanese immigrants and their American children — were forcibly relocated from their homes in the West Coast to remote relocation camps. Even still, several young Japanese-American men went on to successfully lobby the American government to be allowed to volunteer as soldiers in World War II, often to prove their loyalty to the United States. The 442nd infantry regiment, a segregated Asian-American unit composed almost entirely of Japanese-Americans, fought in Italy, France and Germany and is still the most highly decorated regiment in United States Armed Forces history.
10). In 1982, a young Chinese-American man named Vincent Chin was brutally clubbed to death by two white men in Detroit, Michigan. The crime was motivated, in part, by anti-Asian sentiment stemming from widespread loss of auto manufacturing jobs to Japanese competitors; Ronald Ebens, one of the attackers, was heard saying “it’s because of you little motherfuckers that we’re out of work” to Chin moments before the attack. Despite pleading guilty to second-degree murder, Chin’s killers did not serve any jail time for Chin’s murder, and were only fined $3,000. Vincent Chin’s death served as a flashpoint that ignited the modern Asian-American political movement.
And that’s just for starters.
Sonam in a Suneet Verma sari for the Gems and Jewelry press conference in New Delhi today.
Fantastic as usual. Shout out to her stylist, once again.
Sweden’s best wants to change the views on football
Article by Max Wiman, published on November 28, 2011
The French words, when she’s talking to the waitress, flow as unhindered as her runs on the pitch and it becomes natural to ask: Do you feel more French or Swedish?
— Swedish! There are things here concerning gender equality and women’s issues that I will never understand.
Lotta Schelin was actually about to say “au revoir”. For a couple of hours we have been walking around in Lyon and had coffee in the most French environment imaginable. We have discussed the feelings around getting the Diamond Ball (Swedish Player of the Year award) for a second time, football successes 2011 in the league, in Champions League and in the World Cup, and also talked about the future.
Then Lotta takes us back fourty years.
— Here in France they ask questions that no longer exist in Sweden. We reflect, they do not. The fixation with appearances is so deeply rooted it is considered normal here, as a compliment.
”Garçon manqué” is an expression that makes Lotta Schelin see red.
— It means something like “tomboy”. In a TV interview the first question I got was what I did to retain my femininity in a sport for ”garçon manqué”.
All the way into the club, where the President so purposely has ventured on the women, Lotta Schelin sees the differences.
— When they did a campaign to market the club, there was a girl in the form of a paper doll. She had nothing to do with the team, they had found her in the office, model-like, busty. Then I hit the roof, but not a damn person reacted.
At the same time Lotta Schelin loves both the city of Lyon and the club that she has been representing for the past four years.
Pic: Phil Jackson shows off ring collection on Twitter.
“here’s the best I can do” oh ok
(Source: corgis-everywhere, via lyonista)
Since the dawn of man (or, perhaps capitalism), workers and management have disagreed on the impact of raising wages. For workers making less than $10 an hour, a few extra bucks a week can make a huge difference in terms of quality of life. Management, on the other hand, predictably suggests that raising wages kills jobs and inhibits hiring and man hours.
Despite the perception that minimum wage jobs are often held by teenage workers entering the job market, numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that 49 percent of minimum wage workers are adult women, many of whom have children.
With this as the backdrop, the National Employment Law Center (NELP) has published a list of the 50 U.S. companies who have the most low wage workers. While not all of these companies pay the exact minimum wage they all pay very close to the wage floor. As you can see by the list, the companies listed also share a common trait of being massive, successful companies making major profits. Perhaps their universally low labor costs have something to do with that trend?
As expected, America’s largest employer, Wal-Mart, tops the list. NELP’s study looks into the genetic makeup of this dishonorable mention, and notes the majority (66 percent) of low‐wage workers are not employed by small businesses, but rather by large corporations where top executive compensation averaged $9.4 million.
The 50 largest employers of low‐wage workers have largely recovered from the recession and most are in strong financial positions: 92 percent were profitable last year; 78 percent have been profitable for the last three years; 75 percent have higher revenues now than before the recession; 73 percent have higher cash holdings; and 63 percent have higher operating margins(a measure of profitability).
$174.8 billion to shareholders in dividends or share buybacks over the past five years.
The largest companies in America have, for the most part, recovered from the recession while their workers are still feeling its entire effects. It is safe to say that we should soundly reject the argument that raising the minimum wage would harm large corporations. They don’t know harm well enough to claim it.
Via Making Change At Walmart: “According to a 2011 report (PDF), if Walmart started paying a $12/hour minimum wage, its workers currently earning less than $9 per hour could each earn $3,250 to $6,500 more per year before taxes. If Walmart were to pass this cost directly to shoppers, the average consumer would need to pay only 46 cents more per shopping trip, or $12.50 per year.”
Walmart could pay all of their employees a living wage (or close to it, at least) without losing a dime. Oh, and it would help out the federal budget a bit: roughly 80% of Walmart employees are on food stamps because they’re paid so little. Walmart is taking advantage of government-funded social programs to make up for what they choose not to pay their employees.
Obama and Pelosi need to bring back the minimum wage increase proposals, stat.
indian and hindu women apparently aren’t inspiring enough to be featured on a bindi blog