Term Paper: Sociology / Panethnicity Asian-American

Pages: 8 (2271 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Asian  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] During the time Japanese were herded into concentration camps, Chinese-Americans were justifiably "fearful that they would be targets of anti-Japanese activities," and so they "took to wearing buttons that proclaimed positively 'I'm Chinese'." And many Chinese shop-owners put signs in their windows saying, "This is a Chinese shop." The author points out that some Chinese even added signs that read, "I hate Japs worse than you do."

There have been many other examples of Asians within the U.S. hating other Asians; for example, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, there was (26) "pervasive anti-Japanese sentiments among Koreans in the United States."

On page 42, the author, covering more ground in dissecting the Asian-American experience, talks about how the antiwar movement in the 1960s, led by young people opposed to American troops being in Vietnam (and young men's anger at being eligible to be drafted to go to Vietnam at 18 but not being able to vote until turning 21 years of age), was joined by many Asian-Americans, if not publicly, at least within the Asian-American community. Why was this true? "The American invasion of Vietnam involved more than the issues of national sovereignty or imperialism; it also raised questions of racism directed against Asian people."

Americans of Asian descent, especially young Asian-Americans (43), saw on TV every night that the "enemy whom American soldiers were maiming and killing had faces like their own." Moreover, seeing "unarmed, unresisting civilians napalmed in Vietnam angered young Asian-Americans and stirred them to protest the prevailing assumption that Asian lives were cheap."

Continuing the summary of this book, in Chapter 4, the author writes about how Asians in America, because they mostly relied on their families for assistance when they were in need, were not receiving benefits available to others, for example, from welfare.

On page 83 the author notes that the population in San Francisco's Chinatown consisted of one-third of the people below the federal poverty level. Also, 27% of housing in Chinatown was "substandard," "tuberculosis was endemic, and the district contained a high proportion" of elderly citizens. With these conditions as fuel for protest, many young Asian-Americans got involved in community, setting up self-help groups since they could not count on the federal government for the help that other minority groups (like African-Americans, Native Americans and Latinos) were receiving.

Other issues the author touches in, to continue the summary, including on pages 113-115, the Census issues which discriminated against many Asians. The U.S. Census has undercounted the number of nonwhites and whites, the author writes, but in particular the number of nonwhites. "For example, it is estimated that the 1950 census missed 2.6% of all whites compared to 11.5% of nonwhites." And again in 1960 (Census data is gathered every 10 years), 2.2% of whites and 9.5% of nonwhites were missed by the census.

Chapter 6 of this book details a lot of the violence against Asian-Americans, including the case of Chin, which was detailed earlier in this paper. Clearly there is a lot of hatred towards American citizens of Asian descent, and that was made very obvious on January 17, 1989, when Patrick Purdy, "dressed in combat fatigues, sprayed 105 rounds from his semiautomatic AK-47 assault weapon into a crowd of children at the Cleveland Elementary School" in Stockton, California. He killed five and wounded thirty, and all of those murdered were Southeast Asian children whose parents were immigrants (mostly from Vietnam).

Conclusion: An assessment of the book

There are other cases of severe prejudice and even killings against Asians based on racial and ethnic hate loathing, but that said, there are also positive things that come from violence against Asians, and one of those positive things is the coming together of Asians from diverse Asian cultures into Pan-Asian institutions, according to Espiritu. On page 164, the author says that, in relating Pan-Asian institutions, "As Asian-Americans come together to coordinate, plan, and participate in the activities of these organizations, they become tied together in a cohesive interpersonal network."

The main result of this "coming together" -- just like the coming together of all the various materials and data of this book come together -- is "a strong esprit de corps" among Asian ethnic groups, which did not exist before.

There are unanswered questions left to pursue, but this book has done a good job -- albeit the book was published in 1992 and much has happened… [END OF PREVIEW]

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