Asian American Studies Final Review

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Comprehensive Responses to Possible Essay Questions

How would historians describe the periods in Asian American history after the 1920's?

Tension, Americanization, Benign Exclusion (?), Asian American Activism, Acceptance of Panethnicity

1. How was the Filipino American experience different from the experience of the other Asian immigrant groups?

2. What historical changes led to the CIO labor unions to open their doors to Asian American workers?

3. What role did Asian Americans play in the labor movement and how did their participation dispel earlier myths and stereotypes?

4. What were four IDs from this period?

The Philippines were annexed by America in 1901 (Ignacio et al. 81). To the Filipinos, the annexation was a symbol of their American citizenship. When they migrated to America, their hopes were high because they believed they were Americans. However, they were mistaken because like other Asian groups, they faced racial discrimination.

The main reason the Filipino experience differed from other Asian groups was because of their American annexation. Unlike other Asians, they were categorized as Malays, not Mongolians, as Salvador Roldan "successfully secured" in a "California Court of Appeals decision allowing him to marry his fiancée" (Takaki 330). This meant that laws directed to exclude Asians under the Mongolian category did not apply to the Filipinos. Most Filipino men took this an opportunity to exercise freedom in America. They dated white women as a symbol of their difference. Additionally, unlike other Asians (with the exception of the Japanese) they were shipped to Alaska to work in fish canneries.

However, in reality, the Filipinos were also discriminated against. First of all, soon after the Roldan case, the court corrected its prior ruling to add the "'Malay race' to the restricted category" (Takaki 330). This prohibited Filipino-white marriage. Later, the question of US citizenship also came up, and in 1934, the Supreme Court ruled that the Naturalization Law of 1790 defined that "'the Chinese, the Japanese, the Hindus, the American Indians and the Filipinos'" were excluded from the white category; this meant Filipinos were clumped with other Asians, and treated as so (Takaki 331). Also, like other Asians they formed groups to strike against labor cuts. The Filipino Labor Union (FLU) was a prime example of Filipino cooperation. Additionally, they voiced their unfair treatment through activists. Their main advocator was Carlos Bulosan, who ensured that the Filipino workers could have their voices heard in the fight for justice in America; I believe his efforts have inspired change for the better (Juan 190).

1. Carlos Bulosan was an activist writer who "transformed the [Filipinos] from its condition of being simply a static category into a dynamic agency for its liberation" (Juan 190). Bulosan stated in his writings that Filipinos "could make [America] into a pardise" to encourage active participation in claiming justice. His harsh experiences of life as a Filipino worker helped add a fighting spirit to his works.

2. The Filipino Labor Union (FLU) was created in response to lowered wages during the depression of the 1930s. They were composed of Filipinos from "Stockton and Salinas"; their first strike occurred in 1933, but unfortunately they were unsuccessful as growers merely "brought in Mexican, Asian Indian, and Japanese laborers to replace the striking Filipinos" (Takaki 322). This represented a failure for the Filipinos to learn from.

3. Albert J. Beveridge's argument for American expansion stated several reasons why the Philippines should be added to American territory. Firstly, he believed that the Philippines would serve as a connection between America and Asia, reducing competition with European traders. Additionally, he believed in the inferiority of the Filipinos. He claimed that Filipinos were "children" who needed American guidance in order to effectively rule their country (Beveridge 5). His anti-Filipino views were most likely a way for him to scapegoat Filipinos.

4. Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court ruling also known as the "separate but equal" doctrine, permitted racism against Blacks. This related the Americans' treatment of the Filipinos because they applied racist views of the Blacks to Filipinos, especially during the Filipino-American War. Even Filipinos were aware of racism towards Blacks, as noted by "a leaflet distributed by Filipino guerrillas to African American soldiers" that stated they were "being misused as an instrument of their "'masters'" (Ignacio et al. 82).

1. What were the major sources of the second generation conflict: conservatism within the ethnic community or racism within the broader society?
2. Did Americanization lead to assimilation of the second generation? What were some of the limitations?

4. What were four IDs from this period?

Second generation Asians experienced a "twoness" identity that disallowed them to feel completely American or Asian. The first generation's emphasis to preserve their children's cultural roots and racism from American school limited the impact of Americanization in assimilating the second generation.

Conservatism led to conflict in second generation Asians. For example, Jade Snow Wong recalls how her parents emphasized her Chinese education over American education. As a result, she graduated Chinese school earlier than American school. She was also taught to be proud of her heritage, so after an insult by a white boy at school, she held back her anger thinking to herself how "everybody knew that the Chinese people had a superior culture" (Wong 68). This ethnocentric view applied to others, such as Korean American Dora Young Kim, whose parents taught her Korean.

Outside their families, second generation Asians were made fun of or excluded from activities. For instance, Jade Snow Wong experienced difficulty in finding jobs because white employers did not want her. At high school, Dora Young Kim and a Chinese friend attended a dance in which none of the boys asked either girl to dance. This experience highlights a known social fact throughout Asian American history: that Asians were not meant to be included. Even the media representation serves to assert racist views against Asian Americans. Ana May Wong's career ended due to her dissatisfaction with Hollywood's tradition of casting white actors/actresses despite films involving Asian characters.

In conclusion, Americanization led to assimilation of the second generation, but not to the extent that it eliminated the "twoness" identity. Even today Asian Americans beyond the second generation could confront a double identity.



1. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake, though traumatizing, was an important turning point to Chinese American history. Its destructive power "destroyed almost all municipal records," allowing Chinese men to "claim they had been born in San Francisco" (Takaki 234). Thus, as American citizens, they could bring their wives from China, decreasing the gender ratio difference.



2. A Chinese American, Jade Snow Wong made a great contribution to the legacy of Chinese American history through her autobiography Fifth Chinese Daughter. In her book, she reveals the difficulties of adjusting to a life of double-identities. At home, she was expected to behave as a submissive, obedient daughter while outside she had to assert her individual rights as an American (Wong 123).



3. The Japanese American Citizen League (JACLers) was a Nisei organization founded with the help of Issei in 1930. One of their events headed by the leader Keiichi Sugahara was to promote a "Nisei festival" called "'Buy in Lil' Tokyo'" (Kurashige 278). The purpose of the event was to raise Nisei awareness of Little Tokyo.



4. Dora Yum Kim, a Korean American who grew up in Chinatown, represents the voices of less-heard-of Asian Americans. As a student, she recalls how lessons on Asian history were non-existent, and if any were mentioned, it would only be about the Chinese and Japanese, never the Koreans. She also notes how at a school dance, she and her Chinese friend were the only girls not asked to dance (Kim 256).

1. How differently or similarly was each Asian American group affected by WWII?
2. What role did geopolitics play in repeal of the exclusion laws?
3. What role did the racial past play in the decision to intern Japanese Americans?

4. What were four IDs from this period?

The attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 marked a turning point in Asian American history. Before, Asians were lumped into one ethnic category, but afterwards distinctions between different Asian ethnic groups in mainland US were deeply emphasized, leading to high regard for Chinese, Korean, and Filipino allies, but internment for the Japanese.

The Chinese and Koreans were most similar to the Japanese, but their differences were made public through a display of signs, buttons, or magazine articles. For instance, to prevent confusion, the Chinese put "this is a Chinese shop" in front of their building's windows, or wore buttons that read "I am Chinese" (Takaki 371). Like the Chinese, the Koreans pinned "I am Korean" buttons to distinguish themselves as much as possible from the Japanese. But the distinction between Chinese and Japanese were emphasized more fiercely, probably as a way to prevent American government from accidentally harming the Chinese ally. As many Chinese American soldiers noted, people with Chinese last names "Wong" or "Lee" were immediately pardoned while any person with a Japanese name was immediately taken into internment camps. Also, magazine articles like Life Magazine's "How to Tell Japs from the Chinese" or Time Magazine's "How to tell your Friends from the Japs" served to highlight the differences between the two Asian groups. As an additional aid, pictures of a Japanese and Chinese man were put side by side to compare features. This was similar to the racial comparisons between the Germans and the Jews during the Holocaust.

The Filipinos also experienced a rise in social standards because of Pearl Harbor attack. Japanese internment allowed Filipinos to purchase vacated Japanese farms. Eager to prove their loyalty to Americans, Filipino Americans fought alongside US soldiers. Overtime, FDR eliminated exclusive drafting laws so even "nationals" could serve in the army; this was done through executive order 8802, "provid[ing] full and equitable participation" in the labor force regardless of a person's origin (Takaki 362). In just a matter of decades, their social image in America went from an uncivilized child to that of a respectable "Little brown brother" (Gonzalves 307).

In short, the mainland United States labeled the Japanese as enemies while the other Asian groups were considered American allies against the Axis powers. (Japanese in Hawaii were allowed to join the army and were never interned). Due to the poor treatment of the Japanese Americans, many Nisei and Issei living in the mainland became disillusioned with the American ideal of equality.

1. In his vow to cooperate with government removal plans, Nisei Mike Masaoka stated that "[Japanese Americans] have every right to protest and to demand equitable judgment on their merits as American Citizens" (Murray 296). As proof of Japanese American loyalty to America, he notes how many Nisei soldiers have fought on behalf of the American army despite their discrimination.



2. The Tiger Brigade, or Manghokun, was an army unit formed by Koreans living in Los Angeles who joined the California National Guard (Takaki 366). Determined to defend the California front against enemy invasion (especially the Japanese), they trained every weekend for 6-8 hours. This marked the beginning of increased social status of the Koreans because of their helping hand in defeating the Japanese. However, this did not resolve the mixed feelings of second generation Koreans, who, unlike their parents, did not share their hatred of the Japanese.





3. "How to Tell Japs from the Chinese" was published on December 22, 1941 to raise awareness of the distinct Asian groups (Life Magazine 1). The underlying purpose of the article was to make sure Americans did not accidentally discriminate the wrong ethnicity. The start of the war led Americans to regard Chinese with more respect, while the Japanese were seen as the enemies, and thus were interned. The article includes a picture comparing a Japanese man with a Chinese man. There are multiple comments written above the two pictures to mark the differences between Chinese and Japanese.



4. As an indication of change in America, the First Filipino Infantry Regiment mentioned how "freedom is the most important thing here in America" (Gonzalves 307). Thus, to support this belief, the Filipinos noted how they saw military assistance as a way to upgrade the social image of the Filipino. After fighting as soldiers alongside the US army, Filipinos went from "the violent, lazy, (white) womanizing, foreigner seeking instant gratification through gambling...to the hard-working, Christian ally from the Pacific" (Gonzalves 307).

1. How did the Cold War affect each Asian American group?
2. In what ways were Asian Americans accepted and in what ways were they mistrusted as forever foreigners?
3. How can we explain the quick reversal of Japanese and Chinese statues in American society?

4. What were four IDs from this period?

All Asian American groups, except for Japanese Americans, were accused of supporting Communists because of their home country's stance during the Cold War. If the Chinese, Koreans, or Filipinos refused to cooperate with anti-Communist organizations, they were shunned; but if they cooperated, they were spared from the possibility of losing their lives.

The Chinese experienced some of the worst discrimination during the Cold War Era. Their heroic image in WWII wore off as Mao Ze Dong's Communist party gained more popular support. The Chinese were seen as enemies, potential allies of Communism. In particular, McCarthyism created a hyper-phobia of Communism in the US, which drove people to scapegoat racial groups whose home countries are at odds with the US. To offer Chinese Americans a chance to make up for their alliances, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) organized a Confession program that encouraged Chinese Americans to confess their immigration status (Zhao 350). Even though they were promised benefits, they were deported. The US also supported the Kuomintang, which contained a base in San Francisco. Though Chinese Americans were viewed of as Communists, at the same time, the KMT made it seem like they could be anti-Communists too. This created commotion within Chinese in America.

In a similar way that Chinese were encouraged to confess, the Filipino-Americans and Korean-Americans were encouraged to stop advertising in newspapers that could possibly promote Communist ideas. The newspapers The New Korea and Philippine News received orders from anti-Communist regimes of native countries to stop printing. If they did not cooperate, the governments outside the US would restrict advertisement in the newspapers until they would eventually run out of business. Also, several people were threatened with death. According to An Ch'ang-ho, "when somebody becomes [the KCIA's] target, he can lose his life", as emphasized by 30 kidnappings of "Koreans from West Germany and England in 1967" (Ch'ang-ho 145).

In general, the Asian Americans were treated as foreigners who had the potential to promote Communism because of ties they could have towards their country of origin. The Japanese Americans, regarded with honor, were exempt from these unfair laws. However, that did not stop the US from continuing discrimination against all Asian Americans.

1. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) encouraged Chinese Americans to confess their immigration status in the US. The officials of the organization claimed they had "'no desire to entrap' Chinese Americans"; they purposefully made their Confession Program as ambiguous as possible so they could trick Chinese Americans into thinking they would gain from a confession (Zhao 350).



2. The Park regime was established by Dictator Park Chung-hee of South Korea to repress human rights with violence. The regime successfully pressured advertisers to cancel their contracts with Dong-A Ilbo, "the largest and the only outspoken daily in Korea" in attempts to prevent spread of negative words about the Park regime. Then they applied the "same tactics to the American citizens of Korean extraction and Koreans living in the United States", in my opinion an act of desperation since they are not strong enough to allow criticism of their ideas.



3. The Philippine News was a Filipino American newspaper that prints material criticizing Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, "which do not find print in the controlled press in the Philippines" (Esclamado 134). As an attempt to prevent Esclamado's newspaper from printing any more critical news, Marcos coerced Filipino airlines into withdrawing their advertisement contracts with the newspaper. This act of restriction was similar to The New Korea case.



4. Pre-1911 Chinese politics were important factors in the eventual formation of political parties in China. According to Him Mark Lai, there were two groups, the Taipings and Triads, who protested against the Ching (Manchu) government. The Taiping led an uprising that caused a 14-year civil war in China. The Triads "advocated the overthrow of the Manchus" to restore the Ming Dynasty (Lai 152). Both uprisings failed, but they marked the beginning of social-political change in China.

1. What led to the rise of Asian American social activism during the late 1960s and 1970s?
2. What relevance do these movements have for the Asian American community today?

4. What were four IDs from this period?

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1. In what ways was the 1965 Immigration Act the real repeal of Asian exclusion?
2. How did new Asian immigration dramatically change the makeup of the Asian American community?

4. What were four IDs from this period?

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1. What international factors led to changes in refugee migration policy?
2. What makes refugee resettlement different from immigration settlement?

4. What were four IDs from this period?

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1. How have recent changes in the makeup of the Asian American community re-shaped Asian American culture?
2. What internal tensions (race, class, gender) are expressed and how have they affected the cohesiveness of panethnic solidarity?

4. What were four IDs from this period?

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