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Discrimination has occurred many times in human history across the globe. From religious intolerance to ethnic annihilation, some may be more subtle while some are extreme. Although most of the 1800’s to modern day discrimination aren’t as extremist, they are however, memorable events and were important to the history of the U.S. Discrimination isn’t just about ethnicity or religion though, they can also be related to age and things that people do different than others as well. These forms of hate and indifference towards different groups of people are usually caused by irritation that one group causes to others, usually unintentionally. Once a group is beginning to dislike another, conflicts will occur, especially if both groups are rather large communities of people and have many differences.
The United States has taken many discriminatory actions in their past, including passing the Chinese Exclusion Acts, limiting and taxing immigrants, and during World War 2, sending over a hundred thousand Japanese-Americans to internment camps just because their origin country was an enemy and that the Japanese appeared different. Clearly, the United States really wanted to seize Asian immigration, and oppose those who were different from them, but they allowed Europeans to immigrate as they were white.
The Chinese Exclusion Acts all started the Chinese began immigrating to California in large numbers to join the gold rush there at the time. With many hardships occuring in China, thousands left the country and headed towards other places to find work. One such place was California. The Chinese immigrants sought out to take over many jobs in California and that disturbed the white workers there as the Chinese accepted lower pay which meant businessmen would hire more Chinese immigrants over white workers. With jobs being taken by the Chinese increasingly, the white workers became tired of it and California passed laws that required Chinese workers and businesses to have special identifications in order to work there. Many of the white workers not just hated the Chinese because of them working for low pay, but some disliked them for their skin color and racism would definitely be present there. Eventually, more laws were passed, this time by Congress, that banned Chinese immigration for 10 years, and required all Chinese immigrants to carry IDs. They even angered China itself when in 1888, Congress passed the Scott Act that prevented immigrants from coming back to the U.S. once they returned to China. Four years later, Congress kept this law for 10 more years, and then made it permanent. All of these discriminatory actions taken by Congress just to keep the Chinese away when the Chinese immigrants just wanted to find work to support their families financially really expressed how eager the Americans were at opposing an ethnic group different than themselves.
Now, the Chinese weren’t the only ones being locked out from the U.S. After the 1900’s, other Asian countries began to have waves of immigrants arriving in the U.S. So, in 1917, an immigration law was passed that had a literacy test that immigrants 16 and over had to take and pass in order to enter the U.S., which was meant to slow down the influx. The immigration law also increased the taxes paid by Asian immigrants residing in the U.S. and it gave the officials controlling the tax more power over it, in which you can easily imagine how life would’ve been like with higher taxes than other people. The law then banned immigration from much of Asia, except for the Philippines and Japan. Then in the 1920’s, immigration quotas were introduced that severely limited immigration from Asian countries. Only 3 percent more immigrants from one country may come to the U.S. based on the immigrant population residing in the U.S. from that same country. However, due to disagreements among Congress, in 1924, the quota was lowered down to 2 percent. And of course, people from Asia wanted to seek to live better lives, but the U.S. used everything in their power to leave out Asian immigrants for the greater good of their own American people, while many Asian immigrants still weren’t allowed to become naturalized.
Now onto the World War 2 period, the U.S. had three enemies, Germany, Italy, and Japan. After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, more than 120,000 Japanese individuals residing in the U.S. were forced into internment camps and about two-thirds of them were U.S. citizens. The U.S. didn’t imprison those of German or Italian ancestry, which wasn’t fair for the Japanese, especially those who were U.S. citizens. Just because the Japanese were not white, the U.S. sent all of them to internment camps and ignored the fact that most of them were loyal U.S. citizens, which was totally absurd and discriminatory towards the Japanese. The U.S. is supposed to put U.S. citizenship above others, but instead, for the Japanese they put ethnicity over U.S. citizenship. One famous American civil-rights activist was Fred Korematsu. He was a Japanese U.S. citizen and was a victim of the imprisonment. He once said, “I was really upset because I was branded as an enemy alien when I’m an American,” which really demonstrates how the U.S. completely ignored the fact that most of the Japanese individuals, such as Fred, were Americans. Another one of his quotes was, “I didn’t think that the government would go as far as to include American citizens to be interned without a hearing,” in which again, it reflects how the U.S. government didn’t care about the Japanese being U.S. citizens and only cared that they were of the “Japanese” race, and imprisoned those who weren’t even loyal to Japan. A third quote that I found from Maya Lin, also demonstrates how she was born as a U.S. citizen, but still faced discrimination because of her physical appearance that she was part-Asian. Her quote says, “Growing up, I thought I was white. It didn’t occur to me I was Asian-American until I was studying abroad in Denmark and there was a little bit of prejudice.”
Discrimination towards Asians in the U.S. mainly began from the 1800’s to the 1900’s. After that, asian discrimination began to disappear. However, there are some modern day issues regarding women, and other groups that aren’t based on ethnicity that are still relevant today.
One such problem is known as the “pink tax,” where women find themselves being charged more for products that should normally cost less. This mostly goes for feminine products that have been noticed to cost more than products for men. Even other merchandise, such as clothes, have been noticed costing more for women than for men. Which of course, isn’t fair at all, as companies are trying to make more money off of femine products to take advantage of women. Another issue is related to President Trump. After Trump came into office, many opposed his views as he was against immigration, LGBT rights, and ignored women’s rights. Many people were upset by this which lead to women’s marches and other protests against Trump being in office. People also suggested that Trump was racist, but he kept denying them. Afterall, he joined in on the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama wasn’t a native born American, but it seems that these theories were just racist reactions to Obama being the first African-American U.S. President. Additionally, women are still being paid less than men, even when working the same jobs. One U.S. women’s soccer team filed a lawsuit stating that they were being treated unfairly from the U.S. Soccer Federation because of their gender. The suit they filed stated that they were paid less than men, they worked in deficient working conditions, and faced inferior publicity.
With all these discriminatory issues going on in today’s society, people will have to find a way to combat them without the use of violence. To do so, people will need to develop an Action Plan with the right tools they need to face up against any discriminatory situation. The first step of the Action Plan is to think about what had just happened in the situation and determine whether discrimination actually occurred or not. If believe it did occur, or if it was made really clear that the situation is unfair for you, then the second step will be to ask the person, or whoever it is that is discriminating against you, why they are doing this and reason with them on why you think whatever they did was unjust. If the situation doesn’t get any better, then step three would be to tell other people about the situation, so that you can spread the message of the discrimination to other people to gain their support for your cause.
After using the Action Plan, your unfair instance of discrimination will hopefully be resolved, because afterall, the point of view of whether things are fair or not depends on the people around you, the public. If the public supports your cause, you will be in good hands. But, if the public support the discrimination or just plainly don’t agree with you, then you may try letting more people know about your situation or simply drop off the problem and call it a day, and hope that it won’t happen again.
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