The American population comprises of several racial and ethnic minorities. The criterion applied in identifying racial minority groups is the general physical characteristics of a given group of people such as the people’s skin color. Such groups in the US include African Americans and Asian Americans. On the other hand, ethnic groups are classified according to the basis of their cultural elements such as language (Coverdill, Lopez and Petrie 784). Examples of ethnic minority groups in America are the Hispanics or Latinos. Racial minority groups can also possess some distinctive cultural elements. This paper explores the history of the Asian Americans, their experience in the American community as well as their impact on the dominant American culture.
The term Asian Americans is the name given to all the group of Americans of Asian descent, which includes the Chinese, Japanese as well as the Philippines. The first group of Asians to move to America was brought by the British and Spanish settlers in America in 1840. They worked as slave in their farms. However, the majority of Asians migrated into America in 1848 following the discovery of gold in California (Okihiro 102). Their efforts to gain wealth were to no avail as they suffered a lot of discrimination by the Whites as they physically tortured them. The justice system in California did not acknowledge the rights of the Asians Americans since the Chinese workers were not allowed to testify against the Whites in law courts. The discrimination against the Asians prevented the migration of more Asians in America.
The American laws were a great barrier to the freedom of Asian Americans. The Americans’ naturalization act of 1790, the legislation system allowed only the Whites to gain citizenship through naturalization. In 1870, this law was amended to allow American citizenship to the African Americans who also worked as slaves in the nation. However, no consideration was given to the Asian Americans. In the early 1990s, Whites referred to the Asians as ‘aliens ineligible to citizenship’, which further propagated discrimination of the Asians to an extent that they could not own property. In 1924, the Congress passed the Immigration Act, which prohibited Asians from entering the US. It further denied permanent residence to all the individuals from Japan, Korea, China and Indonesia among other nations that lie within the Asian Pacific Triangle. It was not until the end of the Second World War when the Immigration Act of 1924 was amended to allow the Asians to move into the US as quota immigrants (Lee and Fang 120). This led heavy immigrations of Asians into the US. Research has shown that by 1990, there were nearly seven million Asians in the U.S. However, all people from the Asian descent are not fully considered as Americans as opposed to their counterparts of the European descent.
Asian Americans have had a positive impact on the American economy. They have established businesses in the US, which have greatly boosted the American economy. Their children form a rather large proportion of the student bodies especially in most prominent educational institutions such as universities and colleges. They have influenced the dominant culture greatly. However, some of their main cultural elements especially their recipes have found their way into the American culture. There have also been intermarriages between Asian Americans and the Americans, which have brought about some transformations in the cultures (Coverdill, Lopez and Petrie 789). In conclusion, Asian Americans are humans entitled to full and complete human rights. They deserve to be treated with love and consideration.
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Okihiro, Gary. The Columbia Guide to Asian American History. New York: Columbia
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