April 25, 2020
The topic on Chinese racism in America is rarely covered, this gives am implication that it does not exist. However Chinese are reported to face racism while in America; just like many people from other races. The used Chinese faced mass explosions, massacres, and harsh policies; today these are no more but there are other forms of discrimination faced especially by the Chinese Americans. Chinese immigrated to America for several reasons; major reasons for moving into America were in search of economic opportunities and labor.
The Chinese in effort to fit and settle in the America decided to bring with them their culture and customs. However, this was not properly welcomed by the Americans. Their arrival was during mid-19th century, at this time many other people from other races had already settled and the Chinese were the minority. However, they were not exempted from racial discrimination by the Americans. In fact they were the fast to experience exclusion and to be denied citizenship during the act passed in 1882 by the United States (US) congress.
According to the US Bureau of census of 2006, 2/3 of the Chinese population in America is immigrants and their children are American-born. Due to the difference in exposure, the cultures of the American-born and the Chinese who are immigrants vary and the impact of this difference is one reason behind racial discrimination.
Chinese racism in America is structurally instigated. In a report by the US commission on civil rights of 1992, it was stated that discrimination that Chinese Americans undergo is related to injustices in courts, economic limitations and harassment. For instance, during the 1999 national hysteria involving nuclear bombs, the Chinese Americans were one of the major suspects. Dr. Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwan-born Taiwanese American research scientist was arrested and linked to the case. He was harassed and put in solitary confinement. The arrest of Dr. Lee was not because there was any evidence of guilt. Indeed, a federal grand jury had indicted him of stealing some secrets about United States nuclear arsenal for the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in December 1999. The fact was that Dr Lee worked for the University of California at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he assisted in creating simulations of nuclear explosions for the purposes of scientific inquiry, as well as for improving the safety and reliability of the US nuclear arsenal. Federal investigators were later unable to prove their allegations. To a greater extend, this implies structural racism against the Chinese people.
In 2001, a survey done to figure out the level of Chinese American racism, it was reported that out of four Americans, one has a negative attitude towards an American with Chinese origin. It was also reported that the American would not vote for a Chinese American as the United States president or approve a family member in marrying a Chinese American.
Today the mass media is said to discriminate the Chinese in America, stereotypes have been created about the Chinese in media. Chinese are known to be experts in martial arts and this has led to Chinese characters in Americans movies to be given supporting roles. For instance, Chinese characters are used as side characters to bring a comic relief due to their accent. Stereotyping of the Chinese in mass media has been pointed as one major form of discrimination by the Americans today.
Today, racial discrimination of Chinese Americans in America evident in work places. It is very hard to find a Chinese American working in high level corporate executive; not because they lack academic qualifications or skills, but simply because of their race. The workplaces demand for individuals in executive position to be fluent, this has affected the opportunities for the Chinese because majority has their Chinese accents. This is discrimination because in spite of their intellectual levels, their culture limits them from climbing their ladders.
Another area where the Chinese face racism in America is during college admission. For a Chinese student to qualify for college admission in America, the requirements are higher than those required from American students. In institutions of higher learning, students complain of discrimination, the procedure used to admit students vary with the origin of the students. Some students complain of the questions asked in the forms of admission, these questions require them to indicate their origin. The information is used to determine where to accommodate the students and to determine their academic capabilities.
Chinese students in higher education have reported assault from Africa-American students. This has led them into forming unions which fight for Chinese students’ rights. In 2009, 30 students from south Philadelphia reported being assaulted by some African-American students. They boycotted classes seeking for attention from the administration. International Chinese students in America report that some teachers ignore them in class and they are treated differently from the other students despite the fact that they are usually good performers in education.
Racial stereotypes have limited the Chinese Americans in their occupational opportunities and progress in their endeavors. This has also resulted to selective settlement of the Chinese in certain areas in America; areas such as Richmond and Flushing are associated with the Chinese. This social segregation is in itself a form of discrimination. Other suburbs where Chinese live in such as Mountain View and Fremont are low class areas. The presence of Chinatowns in America is a major indication of the level of social segregation; this has limited the Chinese from interacting with other people from other races.
Racial discrimination of the Chinese is also at individual level though not prevalent. It must be the force behind the discrimination at structural level. The discrimination at individual level is said to be unseen possibly because in today’s world, interaction with people all over the world has increased. Trading and education has led to interaction of people from different races and the need to cope has led to many people enduring living and working with people of different races.
At individual level, racial discrimination on the Chinese may be evident in the streets. Many Chinese have been ridiculed because of their squinty faces. Harassment is common for the Chinese and this has made them to enjoy living together. Cross- cultural relationships have been discouraged by such treatment and this has contributed to more racial segregation. Other discrimination at individual level include students being ignored by teachers in class due to their race, in airports, the security personnel are reported to screen the Chinese with great care and frequency.
To challenge the historical legacies of racism, going back to motherland would not be the answer to the problem rather interaction of people across different races would work best. Interaction gives way for understanding and it makes people appreciate each other instead of despising one another. Through interaction, it is easy to create close links which allow people to consider others like fellow human beings.
In case where racism is immense, the discriminated people need to be aggressive in fighting for their rights. For instance in America where a person from another race cannot be employed if he or she is not fluent in English, Chinese people need to be aggressive in learning the language so that they do not loss opportunities in working places.
Politics has also worked to encourage people to stop racial discrimination, for example, California announced that they are against any form of racial discrimination. Through such moves, it is possible to encourage individuals to view others as human beings. The move is important since it creates a platform for the next generation in avoiding discrimination of other people with regard to their race.
In a research by psychologists, it has been revealed that racial segregation is a major social risk factor of psychological problems among the Chinese in America. This mostly affects the students due to the social problems they face in learning institutions. Youths who do not undergo counseling at young age grow up with low self-esteem; they learn to identify themselves with their culture and this continues over the generations.
In spite of Chinese facing discrimination in America, they seem immune and they continue with their toll for standard of living. Even with the denial for citizenship and ownership of land, the Chinese still target more economic and educational opportunities. It is possible that the Chinese contribute to their discrimination by the Americans. Some of the major steps as mentioned include teaching the young Chinese Americans how to cope with the other people, and for the immigrants, it is important to learn to interact with people from other cultures.
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