AAS Final Paper - Tony Tran Asian American Studies 60B...

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Tony Tran Asian American Studies 60B Professor John Liu March 17, 2009 The Asian American Paradox The term Asian American reveals years and years of constant struggles of Asians fighting for civil rights, immigration equality, and cultural recognition in America. Once unable to establish their presence in the United States, today this group of people consists of many different countries of origin. During the 1960’s many civil rights activists fought for the equal treatment of Asians in America and unified under the term of Asian American. At the time, many of these activists were young college students who figured establishing an Asian presence in America would lead to recognition of their respective ethnic cultures. Many Asians feel connected in the United States because they or their parents share the same immigration struggles. Another reason Asians feel a need to identify with one another was because the American public at one time or another viewed them to be less than equals. Being Asian American means that one would have immigrated to the United States or is the descendent of an immigrant. This term was simple enough to categorize a group of people that looked alike, but did not do enough to separate different cultural backgrounds; for example, East Asians from South Asians. To the limited knowledge of the American public, the term Asian American evoked an image of a quiet, middle class, and hardworking Asian male; either of Chinese or Japanese descent. It was hard for many Asian Americans to establish both an identity for Asians in America while maintaining their own ethnic identities. Immigration played a large role in dividing different groups of Asians from one another. Many different government laws made it impossible for the earlier generations of Asian Americans to settle in the United States. It seems
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to be due to the simple fact that the United States was not ready to allow Asians to become citizens. But this created tension between many ethnic groups because they seem to infer that it was their predecessor’s fault that they were not allowed citizenship. Another point of conflict was when a white person would use Japanese stereotypes were used to mock a Chinese person or any other person of Asian descent. Many of these groups wanted to be recognized as their own group, not just Chinese. The struggle for equal rights has many different stories depending on who is telling it.
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AAS Final Paper - Tony Tran Asian American Studies 60B...

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