Under direction of armed police and the military, Japanese immigrants and Americans of Japanese ancestry were herded onto buses and trains for the forced journey to government detention camps. Without regard for due process or basic constitutional guarantees, over 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, (the Issei – or first generation – were ineligible for citizenship due to discriminatory naturalization laws) were imprisoned in ten concentration camps located in remote, desolate areas in California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and Arkansas. Approximately 10,000 people were imprisoned in each camp surrounded by barbed wire and armed military guards.
Still another subtextuallayer is the feminization of alien young men who themselves express malechauvinist views of their own women at home. Carved on the Walls: Poetry by Early Chinese Immigrants (2, 1755-1762) andSilence by Filipino-American Carlos Bulosan (2, 1840-1843) continue to iteratethe gulf between the rhetoric of America and the reality of living here.
Daniels and Kitano, Asian Americans: Emerging Minorities p. 84
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The reaction from the legislature and white working class contrasted with the messages sent from business owners and corporate moguls who needed cheap foreign labor. In 1865, white workers for the Central Pacific Railroad, then engaged in laying the tracks that would connect the eastern half of the country with the West, threatened to strike, demanding higher wages. Management countered by threatening to hire Chinese worker to prevent the strike, yet hired Chinese workers anyway. Despite initial misgivings over the Chinese being too delicate for the work, the initial crews of Chinese workers proved to be as hard working as whites and accepted less pay. From that point on, the Central Pacific actively recruited Chinese workers, even printing handbills in Chinese and sending recruiters to China. Within two years, 12,000 Chinese worked for the Central Pacific Railroad, a number accounting for 90 percent of its workforce.
Teaching Asian American Literature - Georgetown …
The mistreatment of Asians was also common in Hawaii, a site of major immigration from China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines. Although Hawaii was not an official territory of the United States until the passage of the Hawaii Organic Act in 1900, American sugar companies established large plantations over much of the country around the middle of the 19th Century, turning Hawaii into something of an economic colony of the United States. Between 1850 and 1920, over 300,000 Asians immigrated to Hawaii, eventually accounting for 65 percent of the population. Like the Central Pacific Railroad, the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association (HSPA) actively recruited workers from China and other Asian countries. Before 1900, most came under the contract labor system. Laborers would sign contracts to work on island plantations for a number of years in return for free passage and some pay, essentially a system of indentured servitude.
Teaching Asian American Literature
Both writers speak of the gulfs of silence andincomprehension between generations of mothers and daughters, gulfs that cryout to be bridged.Finally, Garrett Hongo (2, 2550-2562) and Cathy Song (2, 2585-2593), twoaccomplished and acclaimed Hawaiian-born poets, through the use of striking,sensuous details render beautiful and extraordinary such everyday incidents ascoming home from work, cooking, and bathing.Students who have had no previous contact with Asian Americans, who know onlythe model minority stories in the media and the distorted Hollywood images oforientals, are generally surprised to learn, after reading Asian Americanliterature, that Asians are just people after all.