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HILD7B_assignment1 - The Effects of Asian Immigrant...

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The Effects of Asian Immigrant Perceptions on American Democracy and Society Daniel Tye Olson PID #A06183454 HILD 7B: Race and Ethnicity in the United States Winter 2007 Professor Nayan Shah Section #A03, Teaching Assistant: Gloria Kim
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Daniel Olson Page 1 3/17/2008 The way in which European Americans perceived the social life, work habits, and politics of Asian immigrants during the turn of the twentieth century strongly influenced the debates over immigration restriction and citizenship policies. These primarily negative perceptions also affected the actual lives and experiences of the Asian immigrants. However, these negative perceptions are what influenced the inter-ethnic relationships, political participation, and union establishments that forced changes in the democracy and society of the United States. One of the predominant perceptions of Japanese and Korean immigrants is that they “cannot become good American citizens; it is useless to attempt to make them such. 1 Reasons for this include the thought that they “make no investments in this country, have no interest in its institutions… [and] they make no attempt to accommodate themselves.” 2 By this, it is meant that the Japanese and Koreans do not attempt to fit in with other Americans by changing their attire, modes of living or customs. The Chinese, on the other hand, were viewed differently, but white Americans still arrived at the same conclusion about Asians . This is evidenced by Henry George’s opinion that “the Chinese become quickly Americanized; but this Americanization is only superficial.” 3 In other words, the Chinese were viewed as artificial and insincere in their motives for being in the United States. For many, it was assumed that the only reason they have immigrated to the United States is to gain sufficient funds to allow them to return to their native country and continue the rest of their lives. 1 Asiatic Exclusion League, Asiatic Exclusion League Argues for Excluding Japanese and Korean Immigration, 1908, Major Problems in Asian American History , 114.
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