Immigration trends of recent decades have dramatically altered the statistical composition and popular understanding of who is an Asian American. This transformation of Asian America, and of America itself, is the result of legislation such as the McCarran–Walter Act of 1952 and the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965. The McCarran–Walter Act repealed the remnants of “free white persons” restriction of the Naturalization Act of 1790, but it retained the quota system that effectively banned nearly all immigration from Asia for example, its annual quota of Chinese was only fifty. Asian immigration increased significantly after the 1965 Immigration Act altered the quota system. The preference for relatives, initially designed to reduce the number of Asian immigrants, eventually acted to accelerate their numbers. Historically, before 1965, Asian Americans were chiefly perceived as members of the two most numerous Asian ethnic groups, specifically Chinese and Japanese.
Filipinos were increasingly numerous in the US, having become colonial subjects in 1898 due to the Spanish–American War and also the Philippine–American War. After the enactment of the 1965 Immigration Act, Asian American demographics changed rapidly. This act replaced exclusionary immigration rules of the Chinese Exclusion Act and its successors, such as the 1924 Immigration Act, which effectively excluded “undesirable” immigrants, including Asians. The 1965 rules set across the board immigration quotas for each country. It opened US borders to immigration from Asia for the first time in nearly half a century. Immigration of Asian Americans was also affected by U.S. war involvement from the 1940s to the 1970s.
In the wake of World War II, immigration preferences favored family reunification. This may have helped attract highly skilled workers to meet American workforce deficiencies. Another instance related to World War II was the Luce–Celler Act of 1946, which helped immigrants from India and the Philippines. The end of the Korean War and Vietnam War and the “Secret Wars” in Southeast Asia brought a new wave of Asian American immigration, as people from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia arrived. Some of the new immigrants were war brides, who were soon joined by their families. Others, like the Southeast Asians, were both highly skilled and educated, or part of subsequent waves of refugees seeking asylum. Some factors contributing to the growth of sub-groups such as South Asians and mainland Chinese were higher family sizes, higher use of family-reunification visas, and higher numbers of technically skilled workers entering on visas.
Using World War II as a pivotal period from which to view Japanese-American assimilation, I discovered laws, attitudes and motives that led to the “military necessity” of Japanese internment in 1942. The controversies that emerged over the constitutionality of relocation are backdrop for analyzing the geographic factors in Japanese settlement in Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington, and for analyzing the differences in detention policies. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle and General John DeWitt provide character studies that reflect the legal, military, and social debates central to detention. Racially restrictive laws which segregated Japanese students from public schools, made citizenship unavailable to non-whites, and prohibited aliens from owning land was critical to understanding the pervasive racism that limited the civil rights of Japanese Americans at the time.
Before 1853 Japanese culture was separated and insulated from western development for centuries. The circumstances that opened Japan to trade, pushed Japanese from their homeland, pulled the first generation of migrants to Hawaii, and eventually to the west coast as contract laborers, will initiate the fourth, fifth, or eighth grade unit of study. I also found that Japanese cultural traits, from arts to social hierarchies, provide comparative information and a scale by which to measure Japanese American assimilation. Finally Post World War II Japanese Americans, many of whom lost businesses, land, and status during internment. Both Japanese and white attitudes changed. Systematically and determinedly Japanese American ascended U.S. social, educational, and economic ladders, maintaining cultural traits while achieving success in American terms.
Americans held conflicting views on Chinese immigration from the beginning. The new Chinese-American settlers unwilling to tolerate alien culture and the cheap labor were welcomed by Americans. The Chinese exclusion act of 1882 – 1943 and Gradual immigration from 1943 – 1965 increase in immigration came with the passage of the 1965 Immigration Act a significant component of Chinese in the US are those adopted by American non-Chinese couples. Soon Chinese adoption laws loosened to promote adoptions of children and mainly girls abandoned under China’s one-child policy. Faced complex issues of cultural and social identity Chinese Americans is a collective term the vast diversity within the group the language, nationality, and region of origin. Divisions are sharply expressed, Early on discriminatory laws were passed making it difficult for Chinese to enter certain occupations. Eventually they gravitated toward service occupations or low paying jobs that whites found undesirable Chinese sought relative safety of Chinatowns and the tourist industry.
The new Chinese immigrants find it difficult finding jobs outside of Chinatown. Lack of the ability to speak English is another reason for new immigrants seeking work in Chinatown. The economic paradox of Chinatowns and the impression of glitter and wealth hidden among economic deprivation and poverty in Chinatown, rich history of organizational membership Clan or tsu organization and functions (Surname Association) the membership based on clan and family ties provided mutual assistance in Chinatown. Takaki describes the Japanese and other Asian cultures and their migration to Hawaii and eventually part of America. Takaki writes about the reasons for the Japanese in specific to why they came to America. Their frustration with the taxes in Japan and economic hardship for farmers is what made them pursue a “new world” the most. Initially the immigrants from Japan were all men, but what was significant was also the number or women crossing the seas.
This is what made them different then the Chinese. The women immigrants from Japan were allowed entry because they were considered “family members” (248). This is where Takaki starts to describe the term “picture bride”. The women coming to America were given this term if they were leaving Japan to be married. This was a form of arranged marriages and the ones engaged were only allowed pictures of each other until the day they would meet. Whether the Japanese woman was to go to America depended on which son she married within the Japanese family. If she were to marry the first son, she would stay in Japan where he would tend to his parents and take over the inheritance.
If she were to marry the second son, this is where she would move to America because he would be the one to leave the family and find employment. This is around the time when thousands of Japanese were relocating to Hawaii. The Japanese then settled within the sugarcane business and farming. The management control decided to “Keep a variety of laborers, that is different nationalities, and thus prevent any concerted action in case of strikes, for there are few, if any cases of Japs, Chinese, and Portuguese entering strike as a unit.” (252). By going this, the management of the crops will have no problem with being overthrown because those nations despised one another. They wanted to “diversify and discipline the labor.”
Takaki then graphically describes the awful work conditions and how they workforce were living in dormitories and worked from dusk till dawn. The field work was punishing and brutal. The workers were never even called by their name, they were given numbers. The Japanese then began to protest. They organized themselves into “blood unions” (258). The Japanese and the Filipinos had come together and Takaki describes it as the “Hawaiian version of the ‘giddy multitude’.” (260) Planters then granted them equal pay and tried to improve their living situations knowing that the workers who are married and have families are the ones who work the best. The workers were now happy and began to plant their roots in Hawaii, but they did not want their children to live the same lives as they did so they pushed the dream of an education.
The Japanese thought if you were Japanese and you had a great education the Americans would accept you. But this was not the case. Takaki concluded with the racial segregation of Asians, specifically Japanese descent and how they were never accepted. People in America THOUGHT that racism were only between the blacks, but it was with the Japanese as well. Takaki ended with the sentence “but their hope to be both Japanese and American would be violently shattered on a December morning in 1941.” The racism between blacks and whites was happening all over again, but this time it was with the Japanese and the whites. Takaki makes great distinction between the African Americans and the Japanese and how they were both treated by the Caucasians. 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act Cessation of immigration from China. 1917 Asiatic Barred Zone Act Cessation of immigration to the U.S. from mostly Asian countries, including the region of British India. 1924 Immigration Act of 1924 limited quota based immigration to the U.S. started.
Becoming Mexipino is a social-historical interpretation of two ethnic groups, one Mexican, the other Filipino, whose paths led both groups to San Diego, California Rudy Guevarra traces the earliest interactions of both groups with Spanish colonialism to illustrate how these historical ties and cultural bonds laid the foundation for what would become close interethnic relationships and communities in twentieth-century San Diego as well as in other locales throughout California the Pacific West Coast. He examines how the forces of race and the politics of space shaped the Mexican and Filipino communities of San Diego. Race was the primary factor in the formation of segregated communities, which were a part of larger multiracial spaces where these two groups converged and interacted with African American, Asian Americans, and some European ethnics.
As whites fled the changing demographics in these aging areas, they used race-restrictive covenants, local and state-sponsored redlining, and even violence and intimidation to confine Mexicans and Filipinos, and other nonwhites to their racially prescribed spaces. Mexicans and Filipinos turned inward for safety, support, and cultural familiarity. These communities were formed primarily in the South Bay, in the Southeast, along the waterfront district of Logan Heights and in a small section of downtown San Diego. Racial discrimination did not just occur in housing. In fact, the racial segregation of space when beyond housing to included churches, employment opportunities, and public spaces. Institutions such as San Diego’s Catholic Churches were no stranger to the devil’s influence as the color line was drawn in places of worship.
The social worlds that Mexicans and Filipinos created to cope with the social pressures of racial segregation and discrimination. Within their multiracial communities, Mexicans and Filipinos formed social organizations, such as mutual aid societies and social clubs, as mechanisms of ethic solidarity and camaraderie. These organizations were also established to fight for the civil rights of those experiencing racial discrimination. These existed both as separate ethnic organizations and as interracial ones that included Mexicans, Filipinos and Mexipinos. Social clubs, for example were more prevalent among second and third generation teenagers who also created vibrant youth cultures that were distinct in their own right.
These youth cultures included fashion, music, and other forms of entertainment, which provided them a nurturing haven from life’s drudgeries and hostile outside world. In addition to living in racially segregated neighborhoods, Mexicans in San Diego County were also pressured to attend segregated schools. During the 1930s in the rural community of Lemon Grove, for example, school officials singled out the children of Mexican immigrants to attend a separate school for white children. The Mexican students were predominately U.S. citizen by birth, whose families migrated from Baja California to work primarily in the area’s lemon orchards among other industries. Known as the “Lemon Grove Incident.” Another aspect focuses on how labor and racial oppression was critical to the workplace interactions between Mexicans and Filipinos.
Since both groups experienced exploitation and racial oppression, they found a common bond on which they developed their own respective labor cultures that varied with the industries in which they labored. They also organized together to fight their oppression by working under coalitions of separate ethnic unions as well as forming interethnic ones. Work cultures, labor organizing and the daily interactions that Mexicans and Filipinos experienced in their communities strengthened their interethnic relationships. Labor was thus a vital factor in how Mexican and Filipino communities were established and intimately tied together in San Diego. Given that the interethnic relationships primarily between Filipino men and Mexican women. Given that both groups shared many cultural, religious, and linguistic similarities and were for the most part immune to the miscegenation laws of the times, they began a network of Filipino-Mexican families that linked together San Diego, the Imperial Valley, and Tijuana, Mexico.
These relationships occurred over several generations beginning in the late 1920’s the Mexipino children that came from these unions are me legacy of this multigenerational relationship. Their multicultural upbringing allowed the Mexipino children to identify with both aspects of their parents cultures. Interactions with newly arrived Filipino and Mexican immigrants groups that questioned their cultural authenticity also illustrate how Mexipinos are in tension with their cultures of origin. In response Meixpinos used their multiethnic identity to resist and challenge monoethnic identities. It is this experience, I argue, that demands a reassessment of what it means to be both Mexican and Filipino and how group identity and community were and continue to be refined by mexipinos in the twenty-first century.
The post 1965 Mexipinos with their participation in cultural nationalist movements of the late1960s and early 1970s in San Diego and, more recently, with transpacific and transnational activism in the Philippines and Mexico. As recent arrivals from the Philippines and Mexico continue to migrate and settle in satellite suburban communities, class tensions also define Filipino-Mexican relations with older, established communities. Through racially restrictive covenants and other forms of discrimination, both groups, regardless of their differences, were confined to segregated living spaces along with African Americans, other Asian groups, and a few European immigrant clusters.
Within these urban multiracial spaces, Mexicans and Filipinos coalesced to build a world of their own through family and kin networks, shared cultural practices, social organizations, and music and other forms of entertainment. They occupied the same living spaces, attended the same Catholic churches, and worked together creating labor cultures that reinforced their ties, often fostering marriages. Mexipino children, living simultaneously in two cultures, have forged a new identity for themselves. Their lives are the lens through which these two communities are examined, revealing the ways in which Mexicans and Filipinos interacted over generations to produce this distinct and instructive multiethnic experience. Using archival sources, oral histories, newspapers, and personal collections and photographs, Guevarra defines the niche that this particular group carved out for itself.
1 Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror, Chapter 9, Page #224 and Pg. 225. Now the government had the power to allot reservation lands and sell “the balance” of reservation lands in order to make homes for white farmers. Indian Affairs Commissioner Francis Leupp answered, “the Indians will be where the Negro freedmen started thirty-five years ago. Therefore, it was the government’s duty to transform Indians into wage earners. The goal of government policy, Collier contended, should not be the absorption of Indians into white population, but the maintenance of Indian cultures on their communally owned lands. 2 Becoming Mexipino, Rudy P. Guevarra Jr., Chapter 2, Pg. # 51-52. Mexicans and Filipinos found that living in a familiar space was all they had because they were not welcome elsewhere. Even if they could afford to live outside the older barrios, it did not mean white residents were waiting to welcome either group with open arms into their communities.
Mexicans and Filipinos, because of their racialized bodies, were seen as undesirable and unfit to live in white neighborhoods. 3 Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror, Chapter 12, Pg. #295 and 297 Pg# 301. Becoming Mexipino, Rudy P. Guevarra Jr., Chapter 1, Pg. 15. A reasearcher found in 1908, Mexicans do most of the excavating and road building, and are otherwise employed on public works. Most Mexicans, however, worked in agriculture. In California, farmers turned increasingly to Mexican labor as immigration laws such as the 1907 Gentlemen’s Agreement and the 1924 Immigration Act excluded Asian labor. By the 1920s, at least three-fourths of California’s two hundred thousand farm laborers were Mexican. After 1882 Exclusion Act prohibited the entry of Chinese workers and the 1907 Gentlemen’s Agreement cut off the supply of Japanese labor, growers turned to Asian Indians along with Mexicans, to reduce the labor shortage.
Cheap labor since Mexicans and Filipinos were both exempt from the 1924 Immigration Act, they were the logical groups to replace Asian farm workers. 4 Roland Takaki, A Different Mirror, Chapter 12, Pg# 301 and Pg# 305. Love was not the only reason why Sikhs had Mexican wives, most of them had been farmers in India, and they wanted to become farmers in California. But the Alien Land Act of 1913 had prohibited landownership to aliens ineligible to naturalized citizenship, and Asian Indians were not white. In petition to Congress sent in 1927, thirty-four prominent educators demanded the preservation of the nation’s genetic purity by including Mexico in the national origins quota system. 5 Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror, Chapter 8, Pg. # 177. Caliban also could have been Asian.
Have we devils here? As whites migrated westward, Benton pointed out, they were destroying savagery. As civilization advanced, the Capitol had replaced the wigwam, Christians had replaced savages and white matron had replaced red squaws. Crossing the Rocky Mountains and reaching the Pacific, whites finally circumnavigating the earth to bring civilization to the Yellow race Manifest Destiny. 6 Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror, Chapter 12, Pg. 306-307. In their repatriation efforts, private charities and government agencies provided railroad transportation for tens of thousands of Mexicans to their “homeland”. In Santa Barbara, Mexican were literally shipped out from the Southern Pacific depot. The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce estimated that 60 percent of the “repatriated” children were American citizens without very much hope of ever coming back into the United States.
Altogether about 400,000 Mexicans were “repatriated”. 7 Extra Credit Roland Takaki, A Different Mirror, Chapter 13, Pg. # 321. Time has come for Negroes to do now or never. Get together and stick together is the call of the Negro. Like all other races, make your own way; other races have made their unions for themselves. They are not going to give it to you just because you join his union. Make a union of your own race; union is strength…. This union does not believe in strikes. We believe all differences between laborers and capitalists can be arbitrated. Strike is our last motive if any at all. Parker played on black suspicious of the white labor movement and pitted the company union blacks against the white workers.