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Filipino Immigration and Racism

By ethixsi Dec 08, 2005 2253 Words
Discuss the different waves of The Filipino Americans immigration to the US as well as their contribution. In what ways are the experiences of the Filipino different and similar to that of other Asian Americans? Show that you are familiar with the information from the text in your answer.

Coming from a country of seven thousand plus islands and a culture where "…women were considered equal to men,"(1) according to Linda A. Revilla in her article entitled, "Filipino Americans: Historical Review," Filipino Americans have presently become the second largest immigrant group to enter the US annually. The Spanish colonization of the islands now known as the Philippines, started in 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan set foot on soil and claimed the land for Spain. The Spaniards succeed in the colonization of the Philippines in many ways. Catholicism was integrated into the lives of the majority of the population. A strong education system was also established in the Philippines. Most vital to the economy of Spain may have been the use of Manila as a port for trade between Asia. The stay of the Spanish eventually ended in 1896 when the Philippine Revolution started. The Treaty of Paris gave America "rights" to the Philippines for a dollar amount of twenty million dollars. During the American Colonization, "Americans continued the western tradition of exploiting the Philippines for the benefit of the United States."(1) The Americans furthered the Spanish efforts of colonization and "…set[ing] up education, public health, and public work programs."(1) During the colonization of the Philippines, it became evident that the land present would not suffice the amount of people living it; this started a migration of Filipinos to the United States.

The first wave of Filipinos who embarked to the United States in 1903 were students. "The Pensionado Act, passed by the US Congress, provided support for young Filipinos to be sent tot eh United States for education about American life."(1) These originating Filipino students were known as the "pensionados" and were educated in prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, and UC Berkley. The pensionados were responsible for founding Filipino organizations that would relay information to the Philippines about the grand opportunities in the United States. With the education gained from their stay in the United States, the pensionados came back to the Philippines to become "social, political, and economic leaders."(1) As stories about the pensionados' success became common topics of discussion, more and more young adults were making the endeavor to the United States in hopes of gaining enough education to better they lives. "Between 1910 and 1938 almost 14,000 Filipinos were enrolled as students around the United States (Crouchett, 1982)"(1)

During the years between 1905 and 1935, the second wave of Filipinos migrated to the United States; this wave was made up primarily of workers. Because of the semi-independence of the Filipinos to the United States, Filipinos could travel as they pleased to the United States without having to obtain visas. The second wave was primarily made of males in hopes gaining education or laboring for better wages; due to the difference in the exchange rate between the Philippines and US. The laborers began to fill in the job demand in Hawaii, Alaska, and the western states of the United States. At the same time, "the Philippines was experiencing growing poverty." This caused many poverty-stricken Filipinos to turn to the United States for work. Although the there were laws in place restricting Chinese and Japanese immigration to the United States, these did not apply to the Filipinos; particularly the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907-1908.

The experiences of the Filipino people had many similarities and differences when compared to other Asian Americans. As Asian Americans before them, Filipinos Americans were discriminated by the United States; the land where opportunity was supposed to be for all men. As laws were made to discriminate against the Chinese and the Japanese, the Filipinos were not to be left out. The Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 was passed by the United States Congress. "In this Act the Philippines was granted commonwealth status and the immigration of Filipinos to the United States was restricted to 50 persons a year."(1) There was also the Filipino Repatriation Act of 1935 that gave Filipinos free transportation back to the Philippines in hopes deporting as many Filipinos as possible. During the times of these laws, Filipinos in America faced much discrimination, similar to the Chinese and Japanese, however not as harsh. During the Depression, Filipino laborers were blamed for taking the jobs of Euro-Americans. In these times, Filipinos were able to lease land, but were not able to own. Filipinos faced discrimination in all public places, "including housing, hotels, restaurants, barbers, pools, cinemas, tennis courts, and even churches. (Melendy, 1977)"(1) Another issue that inflamed the Euro-Americans was the relationships between many Filipinos with Euro-American women. The ratio of Philippine men to women was a dwindling 23 to 1. This controversial issue ended with California legislature making it law that no Filipinos were to marry Euro-Americans. Differentiating from other Asian Americans, the Filipino people were insistent on becoming Americans. During the start of World War II, Filipinos were initially denied entrance into the United States Armed Forces. However, by 1940 there were about 100,000 Filipinos in the Armed Forces. Many Filipinos joined the Armed Forces to fight for their "new homelands," fight for land taken over by the Japanese, or because of lack of jobs due to the dwindling economy. Because of the heroic efforts of the Filipinos, many were granted American citizenship. One major difference between the Filipino people and other Asian Americans were the American "nationals." These people were Filipinos raised in the Philippines to learn about the American freedoms and ideals. However, upon arriving to America, Philippine Nationals were treated as second-class citizens. An example of this treatment was the delayed effort in allowing Filipinos to enter the US Armed Forces.

As stated earlier, Filipinos have made their way to being the second largest Asian group in the United States. With their persistent attitudes for a better lifestyle, Filipinos have migrated to the United States in hopes of better jobs. Presently, many well-educated Filipinos are leaving the Philippines to go to the US, therefore taking away professional workers from the Philippine society. Although Filipinos have progressed in American society, there are still many Filipino immigrants that lack employment. Filipinos are often stuck in jobs that do not fully utilize the full potential of their skills. The article by Linda Revilla refers to jobs not utilizing ones full potential as being included in the "secondary labor market." Atop of the hardships faced by Filipino men in the job market, Filipino women have more struggles to deal with. "Filipinas, like other women of color, face a "glass ceiling…" This glass ceiling is a boundary towards women of ethnic backgrounds, differing from Euro-American, which prevents them from reaching more prestigious jobs, such as CEO and management positions. With all the events that have happened to the Filipino people, it is a wonder why they seem to be overlooked when the topic of Asian Americans is brought up. If the rate of immigration continues throughout the years, the Filipino community will ultimately become the largest Asian group in the country.

Section Two

Question 4
Discuss the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and its impact on Mexican Americans

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was suppose to be an agreement of friendship, limits, peace, and settlement between the United States and Mexico. However, what was supposed to be a treaty, which everyone was to benefit from, became nothing more than a bunch of words on a piece of paper. Thus, out of the greed of the early Euro-American settlers, the treaty was not followed. It all started in November 1835 in Coahuila-Tejas. Furthermore, Coahuila-Tejas, the northern part of the Mexican state, declared itself in revolt against Mexico's new centralist government. The government at the time was headed by President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The revolt against the Mexican government was led by the early Euro-American settlers. The Texans, which the early Euro-American settlers were called, were told by the U.S. government to go to Tajas, settle, and revolt. They did so because they wanted the land that Mexico occupied. About a year later in February 1836, Texans declared their territory to be independent from Mexico. They claimed that their border extended to the Rio Grande rather than the Rio Nueces, which the Mexicans had recognized as the line dividing the two territories. On April 21, 1836, after the battle of San Jacinto, which Mexico lost, the Texans announced that they were the citizens of the Independent Republic of Texas. Yet, Mexico, for a long time after the battle, would consider Tejas an unruly region that they would conquer someday. The U.S. Congress voted, in December 1845, to seize the Texas Republic. Led by General Zachary Taylor, they sent troops to the Rio Grande to protect its boarder with Mexico. However, the Mexicans still considered the Rio Grand their territory. On May 13, 1846, after conflict between Mexican troops and U.S. forces, congress declared war on Mexico. For the next two-years conflict would continue to grow between the two sides. Eventually U.S. troops would be led into Mexico by various Generals. There were three U.S. Generals in specific that led U.S. troops through Mexico's territory in the pursuit of capturing its land. For instance, General Taylor led his troops to Monterrey, and General Stephen Kearny led his men to New Mexico, California, and Chihuahua. Furthermore, in August 1847 General Winfield Scott led his army from Veracruz to Puebla and delivered a huge blow when they captured Mexico City. Mexico saw that they were being over run by the U.S troops and called for a treaty. Discussions for a peace treaty began that August. Mexican officials and Nicholas Trist, President Polk's representative, sat down and discussed the perimeters of the treaty. On February 2, 1848 the treaty was signed in Guadalupe Hidalgo. Furthermore, the Mexican government had fled to Guadalupe Hidalgo as U.S. troops advanced into Mexico City. The treaty called for Mexico to surrender Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. These states amounted for over half of Mexico's land. In return the U.S would give Mexico fifteen million dollars for war-related damages. All in all, the treaty was comprised of twenty-three provisions. However, provision number ten was stricken out, which ultimately made twenty-two. , The U.S. troops left Mexico after the treaty was ratified.

Although they are all important, there are a few articles in the treaty that need to be highlighted. For instance, article number five fixed the Texas boarder at the Rio Grande. Articles number eight and nine offered protection for the property and the civil rights of Mexican Nationals living within the new boarder. Furthermore, when the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty in March, they left out article ten. Article ten protected the Mexican land grants. However, very few of these provisions were followed by the Euro-Americans.

I would like to start off by saying that the Euro-Americans stole Mexico's land. The U.S. government told the early Euro-American settlers to go to Texas, settle, and then revolt against the Mexican government. Likewise, for the U.S. government to provoke the Mexican government into war, and then push them back to their capitol, is completely irrational. On top of that, when the treaty was finally ratified, it was not followed. In the treaty it said that Mexicans would receive all of the benefits that the Euro-Americans had in the U.S. Yet, that was not true.

The Mexican Americans land was taken away from them as soon as the treaty was signed. Additionally, Mexican Americans were hung and put into jobs that required hard labor and low wages. They were also unable to form unions in the U.S. Furthermore, when the unemployment rate went up in America, the U.S. government started deporting Mexicans regardless of whether they were U.S. born or foreign born. In the movie, Viva La Causa, it said that the government needed an escape goat to blame the unemployment rate on. They found that goat in the Mexican. Similarly, in the treaty it said that all Mexicans would be able to speak their language freely. They could do so whether they were working, shopping, at school, and at home. However, the Euro-Americans stopped them from speaking their language. Schools eventually did not allow the students to speak Spanish, and they forced them to speak English. Little by little, Mexicans were forced to speak English. Furthermore, today people still complain about Spanish speaking Americans. The hardship and upward struggle that the Mexicans have gone through is primarily based on the actions of the U.S. and the early Euro-Americans. If Mexico had not been invaded by the early Euro-American settlers, we would be sitting in Mexico right now. In fact, we would all be speaking Spanish. All in all, it comes down to the fact that once again the early Euro-Americans settlers managed to suppress an ethnic group and create racism.

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