A Historian Writing About the Asian Americans

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       Laura Young:  A historian writing about the Asian Americans: Chapter 1

When people think of Asian-Americans, typically people automatically think of just Chinese people or Japanese people. The Asian-American community is made up of not only the Chinese and Japanese, but also Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, and Korean. The term Asian American was used informally by activists in the 1960s who sought an alternative to the term Oriental, arguing that the latter was derogatory and colonialist. Usually when people say Oriental, they are referring to a food, not a person. Throughout US history Asian Americans have been in the U.S. for a long time. According to "The First Asian Americans" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America" (2001-2012) the first Asians to come to the western hemisphere were Chinese Filipinos who settled in Mexico. Eventually, Filipino sailors were the first to settle in the U.S. around 1750 in what would later be Louisiana. (para. 1). Everyone remembers learning about gold being discovered in America in the 1800’s. Not only was that an important time in history, but it was also when the first large scale immigration of Asians into the US happened. A lot of those Asians thought it would be a good opportunity to become wealthy if they helped in the efforts of striking gold. Fast forwarding to the current year, if you visit any big city, especially New York City, you will notice that there are “China towns”. A hundred or more years ago, the Chinese were forbidden from owning land, intermarrying with Whites, owning homes, working in many occupations, getting an education, and living in certain parts of the city or entire cities. The Chinese basically had no other choice but to retreat into their own isolated communities. These first Chinatowns at least allowed them to make a living among themselves. This is where the stereotypical image of Chinese restaurants and laundry shops, Japanese gardeners and produce stands, and Korean grocery...
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