By Franco Bejarano, Elaine Glass, and Destinee Toledo
Who is Asian?
o “Asian” refers to anyone who originates from Asia. Historically, the
American Census has excluded people from Russian and Middle Eastern
origin from being labeled “Asian”. However, the lines are blurry. People
native to Hawaii and the pacific islands are also sometimes grouped under
o In 2010 there were 17,320,856 Asian Americans from about 20 different
groups. That’s 5.52% of the total population.
o The largest groups were Chinese at 23.5% , Indian and Filipino at 17.6%,
followed by Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese
(Pew Research Center)
o Few Asian colonies existed during colonial times, mostly Filipinos that
came with the Spanish, settling in modern day California and
Louisiana. Asian settlements also started popping up in Hawaii soon
after being discovered. (Gomez Bora).
o The Fist Opium War was a conflict fought between China and England
which ended in 1842, sending China on a economical and agricultural
depression. This triggers many Chinese people to immigrating abroad
o In the 1850's masses of Chinese people immigrated to the West coast
to work on gold mines, and in the 1860's many immigrated further
inland to work on the first transcontinental railroad. However, after
both the gold rush and railroad were finished many found themselves
unemployed and discriminated and that's when we see the rise of
Chinatowns ( Sucheng 2007).
o In the 1890's, Chinese, Japanese and Filipinos made up the majority in
Hawaii. Soon both Hawaii and the Philippines become American
territories which triggers more immigration to the continental
US (Hyung-Chan 1995).
The Yellow Peril
A growing fear of Asian in the United States coined “the Yellow
terror”. This gave way to serious legislatives actions against their
• Chinese Exclusion Act
– It restricted the immigration of Chinese workers
between 1882 and 1943 (61 years).
• Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907,
– Japan would stop issuing passports for new laborers
• Immigration Act of 1924 (Oriental Exclusion Act)
– Banned most immigration from Asia. The quota for most
Asian countries is zero. (Kanazawa 2005)
Internment During WWII
In 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which
excluded anyone from Japanese decent to live on the West coast. Between 110,000 and 120,000 people of
Japanese decent were relocated to housing centers throughout the nation. (Chin 2004).
Asian American Movement
In the 1960’s the Asian American Movement is created joining other civil rights movement (Wei 1993)
Modern time Immigration
o The enactment of the 1965 Immigration Act
abolished all previous bans on immigration from
Asia resulting an influx of diversity.
o Luce–Celler Act of 1946 gave Filipinos and
Indian greater access to immigration.
o The Korean War, the Vietnam War, and a series
of civil wars in Asia resulting in more
immigration from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and
o Today Asian Immigrants surpass any other
minority in terms of incoming immigration.
• Unfair Taxing:
– Early Asian workers were taxed heavily. In 1862, California
imposes a tax of $2.50 a month on every Chinese man.
• Poor labor conditions and wages:
– Many miners and railroad laborers worked in extremely
dangerous and toxic conditions. They also worked for
longer hours and poorer wages.
• People v. Hall:
– California Supreme Court rules that Chinese Americans
and Chinese immigrants had no rights to testify against
– Many Asians were segregated from schools, and were not
allowed to marry white Americans
• Unequal Justice
– Hate crimes were large ignored by Justice System
• Ineligible for Naturalization
– Chinese and Filipino immigrants were ruled ineligible for
naturalized citizenship (Fujita-Rony 2007)
Modern Obstacles: Model Minority Myth
Because Asians today have reached “success” measured in income, education, and low crime rate, they are seen as
a “model minority”. This, however, is a myth. The success of the Asian population is not evenly distributed among
all of its groups or generations. The model minority myth is a barrier to pan-Asian issues like poverty or gang
activity. The myth also creates many additional obstacles to progress.
o People regard racism towards Asian as “softer”, not comparable to racism against Hispanics or blacks.
o It silents the voices of many advocating for change. For example, Asian American institutions are less likely to get
o Perceived higher status can cause racial tension.
o Asian Americans are commonly stereotyped as studious and intelligent, which can have psychological backlash on
someone who does not meet the expectations.
o It does not acknowledges disparities within the Asian communities. (Alvarez, A. N., Juang, L., & Liang, C. H. 2006)
• In 2010, 12% of Asians Americans lived under the poverty (2.2%
more than whites), however when you take in considerations that
1/3 of Asian Americans live in the highest costly cities, San
Francisco, New York City, LA, the poverty rate actually is higher
then what published.
• There is huge inequality among Asian groups. While Indian
American families make $70,000 a year, families from Cambodia,
and Laos make less then $43,000. Bangladeshi families makes less
• Over 50% of Cambodian Americans and 38% Vietnamese
Americans have less than a high school education
• High numbers of Incoming immigrants and refugees from Asia are
lowering the income statistics for Asian.
(Quintiliani, Karen 2014)
Where are you really from?
What are you?
What type of Asian are you?
Are you Chinese?
You are good-looking for an Indian girl
Why are your eyes weird?
Microagressions make Asians feel powerless and
alienated, sometimes developing problems like self-esteem
issues, depressions, and anxiety. This
promotes the feeling of “outsider” that many Asian
(Ong, Anthony D, et al. 2013)
Lack of identity and Political
participation and representation
Because Asian Americans come from extremely diverse backgrounds,
languages, cultures, faiths, ethnics, and socio-economic classes, there
lacks a major definition of what the Asian American identity is. This
lack of unification can be reflected in many ways.
Ironically, one of the issues is coming to a consensus of what issues
should be given the priority, which can difficult in an extremely diverse
population without being accused of favoritism of a certain
Secondly, Asian Americans have a history of being politically inactive
and tend to shy away from politics, which just creates further barriers
Among Pacific Islanders
Much like native Americans, people of pacific islander
decent face many health disparities. Compared to
o 3 times more likely to develop diabetes
o 70% more likely to develop high blood pressure
o Higher rates of drug, tobacco and alcohol
o 2.5 more likely to get HIV
(Center for Disease Control, 2014)
Starting since the mid-20th century, many Asian American
gangs have congregated in ethnic neighborhoods often
involved in drug and human trafficking, burglary, theft and
homicide. Since the 1970’s there has been about 13 major
Asian gangs mainly operating in New york, and California.
While many gangs have died out over the year, many still
Nationality: Mostly Cambodian
Areas: California and Massachusetts
Crimes: Large scale drug and human trafficking
operations, weapon trafficking, prostitution and illegal
People from Asia have historically and
consistently been the largest refugee
population in the United States. In fact,
in 2010, 74% of al Asian Americas adults
were born outside the US. Asian
immigrant may experience a variety of
issues such as:
o Language barrier (50% of Asian
adults say they do not speak
o Culture shock.
o Cultural isolation from their
o Mental health problems like
o Unemployment, dependence on
o 54% says having a good marriage is important,
compared to 34% of the population.
o 67% says being a good parent is a priority,
compared to 50% of the population.
o More likely to be caregiver to their elderly
parents, and more likely to live in multi-generational
o More likely to get along with other racial groups.
o More likely to intermarriage.
o More likely to live in racially mixed
o Adaptable to mainstream society
Amy Tan: Multi -award
Margaret Cho: Actor and
Ang lee: Film director
and screen writer
Vera Wang: Fashion
Asian Americans a more likely than average
to be small business owners
Co-founder of Yahoo!
Co-founder of You Tube
Min Chueh Chang: Co inventor of
Chien-ShiungWu : "First
Lady of Physics"
Roger Y. Tsien:
Chemistry Noble prize
Since a low number of Asian Americans are vote or get involved in political events many of them choose to stay silent and not let
their voices be heard. Getting Asian Americans involved in political movements can make a big difference in creating the legislature.
Many people view Asian Americans as more wealthy which may be true but there are also other Asian American descents that
struggle and because of this many Asian Americans are denied public assistance.
Create a network of Asian individuals, organizations, community centers, businesses, schools,
religious institutions, and non-profits and publish a newsletter in which we expose the ongoing
issues facing Asians of all groups in Georgia. This will help unify the Asian community, and make
those small groups feel as part of the community.
We could use this network to help advocate to further teach diversity within
racial groups in public schools, and promote further voicing of issues.
The newsletter could also help as guide to resources like English classes,
We can additionally promote political action within the Asian community, like setting up help
registering to vote.
Many Asian Americans are discriminated against when it comes to education. Although Asian Americans are more likely to
be interested in science expertise, this creates barrier from them getting excepted into top schools.
Policies and education funds are created today to help support Asian Americans in getting a fair education system.
Becoming culturally competent with Asian Americans is very important as a human service worker. Having the ability to
identify someone who is at risk in the Asian American community is important.
• Become aware of the different Asian
populations in your community.
• Become educated about the United States
immigration and refugee system
• Become aware of cultural barrier that might
prevent someone from seeking help, like
being less likely to seek help, or speak out in
cases of abuse or injustice.
• Be aware of your biases and stereotypes
• Become aware of individual vs collective
culture. Asian American tend to have more
• Do not confuse cultural behavior for
• Become aware of the different languages
spoken in your community, and having
recourses available for their speakers.
Interview: Prakash Kancho
Prakash is a 24 year old refugee from Bhutan. He belongs to the Lhotshampa which is a
ethnic group in Bhutan of Nepalese origins . In the 1980’s, the Bhutanese government
started expelling, and revoking the citizenship of the Lhotshampa, often raiding towns
and villages with military action.
Though he was born in Bhutan in 1991, when he was 2 years old his family fled to Nepal
with thousands of others Lhotshampa people fearing ethnic cleansing. Him and his
family lived in a refugee camp in Nepal for 14 years until they were given the chance to
immigrate to the United States
He was surprised that he is actually considered Asian America. He said he doesn’t
identify as Asian, and does not think that their problems are reflective of the Bhutanese
Interview: Prakash Kancho
Since the 1980’s about 75,000 refugees from Bhutan have
come to America, many of whom are here in Atlanta.
Prakash mentions that of the major problems his community
faces are poverty as well as high suicide rates. Many young
refugees also drop out of high school.
He says that because they are very small ethnic group they
have trouble finding support. The number 1 source of
support outside government agencies are Hindu temples,
which don’t get very much funding in comparison to
Christian and Jewish agencies
Because he is not part of a mainstream racial group he and
his community feel invisible.
Interview: Heesoon Jnyego
I had the opportunity to interview with a classmate who is Asian American in my
Global Issues course. His name is Heesoon Jnyego and his parents are from China but
he was born an American citizen. As a senior at Georgia State University I wanted to
know were there any disadvantages that he’s faced recently.
He mentioned that as a political science major it was very uncommon for an Asian
American to take up this major simply because many Asians are apolitical.
One of his main key points were that not all Asians and Pacific Islanders were
interested in mathematics and science degrees, and not all Asians made straight A’s
which raises a discrimination against other Asian students who are not as smart. He
noted this stereotype as a rising issue because this label pressures many Asian
students when they don’t live up to this stereotype.
I generalized Asian Americans as a
group that didn’t encounter many
problems today. I was a bit surprised
to find out about pan-Asian issues
which pretty much deals with the
disparity among groups and
In fact, before this project my idea of
an Asian person was pretty much
that of a traditional Chinese and
Japanese person. That’s not the case
In conclusion from researching and
educating myself on Asian American
issues I noticed how important it is to
be culturally competent and
knowledgeable in all ethnicities.
Becoming aware and adapting to
diverse situations can help you better
understand a clients issue.
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