A close analysis of the United States demonstrates that there exists a significant proportion of Asian American immigrants. Worth noting is the fact Asian American immigrants comprise of different ethnic groups including the Japanese, Indians, Chinese, Koreans, and Filipinos. The immigration history of the above connoted ethnic groups exhibits certain differences. As such, the Chinese are hypothesized to have been the first lot of Asian Americans to come into the United States. However, it is of the essence to note that a significant proportion of the Japanese Americans occurs as the descendants of Japanese who immigrated into the United States as early as the year 1924. The reasons that prompted Asian American Immigrants including the Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, and Filipinos are almost the same (Olson & Olson 6). The political situation in Asia that was characterized with violence prompted these populations to seek refuge in the United States. Precisely, most of the Asian American immigrants came to the United States in order to escape political persecution.
In addition, United States immigration policies influenced the rate of Asian-American immigration into the United States. As an example, The 1965 Immigration Act of the United States resulted in an influx of Asian American immigrants. The 1965 Immigration Act offered a comprehensive platform that favoured entry of immigrants into the United States. Precisely, this act allowed populations displaced by the World War II to enter the United States. Furthermore, the act allowed the immigrants including Chinese, Asian Indians, Japanese, and Filipinos to attain American citizenship. Deductively, the political situation in the native countries of the Asian Americans, as well as America’s immigration policies were the main factors for the coming to America by the Asian American immigrants (Olson & Olson 102).
Immigration into the United States was not easy for the Asian Americans. This can be accredited to the fact that they experienced culture shock, which made it hard for them to transition and adapt to the American culture. Evidently, the American environment was new and unpredictable. In addition, they experienced language barriers, had to adapt to different changes including; economic changes (in that they were to take new forms of employment), cultural changes (in terms of religion, social relationships, and education). Most of the Asian Americans became homesick in that the American context did not provide extended family support, which is a pertinent factor in the Asian contexts. Overall, Asian American immigrants had to adjusts to a wider array of concerns and this affected each ethnic groups.
` A close analysis if the Japanese immigrants shows that most were confined to engage in low paying jobs. A significant proportion of the Japanese immigrants engaged in farming related activities, whereas others engaged in fishing. Worth noting is the fact that Japanese culture is closely aligned with farming, and this is perhaps the primary reason as to why the Japanese immigrants opted to engage in farming. With time, the Japanese immigrants got jobs in American factories, while other worked in rail roads, especially the unmarried males. In a nutshell, the Japanese have a fascinating admiration for farming culture. Most of the Japanese Americans maintained this culture in that they became fruit and vegetable farmers. With time, the Japanese immigrants realized that California offered a comprehensive platform for farming. As a result, most of the saved money to travel to California where they rented and bought land for farming. The experience of the various Asian Immigrant ethnic groups was relatively similar (Ngai & Gjerde 10).
The above analysis shows that Asian Americans were discriminated and treated as “second class” American citizens. Precisely, Asian Americans did not enjoy the privileges accorded to the Native American citizens. Based on a personal thought, this is the primary reason as to why Asian Americans maintained their religion, culture, and ethnic identity. There are various ways in which the Asian American immigrants maintained their ethnic identity. One of the most distinct factors that relate with the Asian Americans is the family structure. Asian American immigrants maintained tight family structures whereby families comprising of grandparents, parents, and siblings lived together within one household (Ngai & Gjerde 9). In addition, marriages for Asian American immigrants were arranged by the parents and grandparents; hence, marriages between Asian American immigrants and the Native Americans were rare. With regards to religion, Asian Americans sustained their religious beliefs aligned with Buddhism, and Shintoism.
Despite the fact that Asian American immigrants sustained their cultural, religious and ethnic identities, some of them became acculturated, whereby they adapted new forms of identities. As an example, the Asian American immigrants became accustomed to certain religious beliefs. The Filipinos were influenced by the Spanish; hence, prompting them to adapt Catholic religious views, the Koreans transformed into Christian Protestants, and the Chinese adapted Christianity, but other Chinese maintained ancestor worship and Buddhism religions. The Japanese Americans sustained Buddhism and Shintoism religions conclusively, various factors including discrimination, limited citizenship coupled with court cases, and marginal forms of employment divided Asian American immigrants from mainstream American society (Olson & Olson 280).
In conclusion, Asian American immigrants maintained their cultural, religious, and ethnic identities because of the manner in which they were treated by the larger American society. In addition, there is a need to note that some Asian American immigrants had the desire to sustain their identities. This is evident by the fact that some Asian American immigrants opted to become fully acculturated into the American system, whereas others sustained their cultural beliefs such as the belief on family unit. Deductively, the fact that Asian American immigrants opted to sustain their cultural identities accrues as cultural pluralism. This is because the Asian Americans sustained their distinct cultural, and ethnic identities without interfering with the values and laws of the wider American society (Ngai & Gjerde 24).
Ngai, M. M., & Gjerde, J. (2013). Major problems in American immigration history: documents and essays. Boston, MA, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Olson, J. S., & Olson Beal, H. (2011). The Ethnic Dimension in American History. Hoboken, John Wiley & Sons.