Jason Oliver, Erica Lee, Okinawa discussed on On The Media

On The Media


American history of committing violence against asians almost as soon as they emigrated to these shores. This is one of the ways in which american racism works. Asian americans have been identified as foreigners rather than citizens erica. Lee is director of the immigration. History research center at the university of minnesota. It's the history of the expulsion of all of seattle's chinese chinese american residents in one thousand nine hundred six. It's the story of how hundreds of people were intimidated and then forced under armed guard to leave their homes and businesses herded together and forced to board a steamship out of town in eighteen. Eighty six this episode is hardly ever taught in our history books. It's almost impossible to find any monument or recognition or plaque or any historical marker related to this brutal history in seattle city known first progressiveness a city that in the early twentieth century marketed itself as a gateway to the orient this has nothing to bash on seattle. It's just a reflection of the violence and then eraser that exists than that continues to endure in relationship to asian american history the address this she says particularly marginalized women the stereotypes in the media images that permeate american popular culture from the nineteenth century up through the present. Either focus on the asian dragon. Lady the madam who runs the whorehouse or the degraded asian female prostitute. Or the submissive geisha who finds fulfillment in serving typically a white male partner or customer or the well-meaning vietnamese prostitute from the vietnam war era films. Stereotypes firmly cemented. Lee says with the expansion of the american empire. We have had such a long term heavy presence of us military in okinawa and south korea the philippines and the resulting sets trade and sex work that has exploited asian women. It's part of that culture of that military experience. The culture of us empire not only did american culture fetishizes asian women here and abroad. Us policy's meted out collective punishment based on ethnic stereotypes and nothing more. We have not just excluded asian immigrants but the very first group that we actually barred from the united states were asian immigrant women because of this idea that they were either prostitutes or potential prostitutes. This is the eighteen. Seventy five page. Act which is our first federal immigration. Law passed in the us. But if we're discussing the paradox of exploiting and punishing asian americans for the same supposed sins. Wrap your head around this. The same immigrant group excoriated by society was later embraced as a shining example for all ethnic groups of how to successfully integrate into the dominant white economy and culture. Jason oliver. Chang is associated professor of history as well as asian asian american studies at the university of connecticut. He says that a half century ago. Asian americans were dubiously characterized as model immigrants. When the nine hundred sixty five hart celler act was signed into law by lyndon b johnson. Hart celler act established a new system of governing. Us immigration by establishing a merit based approach that gave preferences to certain categories of people and eliminating the country quota numbers and this dramatically opened up immigration to new flows of immigrants from latin america and asia and then became the preferred mode of immigration for a number of companies from business to high tech companies. These flows of highly skilled emigrants fueled dominant image of who asian americans were in this period of rapid growth for asian migration. There's this immigrant cohort that on. One hand is welcomed with open arms and yet simultaneously subject to discrimination and violence violence which didn't even register in the national psyche. One of the challenging things among many with the idea of the model minority. Is that by recognizing discrimination being targeted for violence. It disrupts a national narrative about success about civil rights progress and it disrupts a convenient story about how asian-americans fit into a liberal progressive society and so in some ways erasure of their experiences is required to maintain that image of asian americans as the diligent worker as the person who won't rock the boat is it ratio is more like the failure to connect dots. Erica lee spoke to us about the expulsion of seattle's chinese residents in eighteen eighty six. There was another Sort of progress in the eighteen seventies in la. Can you tell me about that in eighteen. Seventy one. october twenty four. There was a conflict between chinese people that led to the killing of a cop and another way resident and that led to a majority of the residents around five hundred people to descend onto the chinatown where they killed between seventeen and twenty people. I was able to read some first person. Testimony and just the gruesome details behind. It just demonstrated a wholesale cleansing of a neighborhood grabbing anyone at their disposal and lynching them in the streets on the premise that were clearing out. The impurities and making los angeles a safe place. This gets back to that notion of erasure or at least of malignant intent prince. This is a country that kind of savers it's massacres. We all know about the saint. Valentine's day massacre in chicago. We know about custer's last stand and the lynchings. In jim crow south the chinese massacre of eighteen seventy one. I'm embarrassed to say it's news to me. How does it come to pass that an entire society. If i'm speaking for it fails to notice a.

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