The Lost Ones 8211 Young Chinese Americans Essay

This essay has a total of 2243 words and 10 pages.

The Lost Ones 8211 Young Chinese Americans





The Lost Ones – Young Chinese Americans
Due to harsh immigration laws, in American history, Chinese have often relied on illegal
means of entering the United States. For example, in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act
(Chinese Exclusion Act, Documents on Anti-Chinese Immigration Policy.) was passed, the
first and only act that restricted immigration from one particular ethnicity. This act
restricted immigration of Chinese labourers. In 1888, this act was extended to all
Chinese immigrants except for officials, teachers, students, tourists, and merchants.
However, not all-prospective immigrants made it to the shores of America safely. The
United States is well aware of illegal immigration and rings operating these smuggling
operations. Therefore increased vigilance at America's doors has led to the capture of
many Chinese illegal immigrants. The result of above brief history of Chinese history in
America is that these new comers at the time period of illegal entering of America would
eventually result the wave of 3rd generation Chinese population along with Baby Boomers
after World War II. The new generation was in the era of Civil Rights movement in the
19501970’s. The talented, new 3rd generation possessed not only the despair of
having an identity, but also faced the pressure from the elder generation of their origin
cultures. It is true and inappropriate that the newer the generation, the more they
refuse their own cultures. However, from what it took the elder generations of
Chinese/Asian Americans for the younger generation to be able to live under the aegis of
liberty, freedom, stable society, and satiating living; I think that the younger
generations should be proud of, and respect the elder generation and who they really are.

Chinese who still tried to enter the United States needed to pretend that they were
merchants. Others pretended to be relatives of people living in the United States.
Chinese Americans who returned from visits home (China or Taiwan) and reported births of
sons and daughters thereby created flaws, which were often used to bring in immigrants who
posed as sons or daughters. Chinese immigrants, eager to start a new life and begin their
pursuit of the elusive American dream, do not want to wait their turn in line. Rather they
want to begin their journey today, and smugglers and underground networks are more than
willing to provide the decent services to do just that. At great expense, Chinese
immigrants underwent the long, dangerous, and illegal route of smuggling themselves into
America. They brave a long journey at sea and are willing to pay exorbitant fees and work
under the pressure of Chinese Mafia once in America. These voyagers are often
successfully smuggled into the United States and are placed in positions of cheap labor in
Chinatown, working as waiters or sweatshop workers. Chinese immigration resumed quickly
after 1906 (being shut down for many years by governmental legislation before Angel Island
interrogation), an anti-Chinese climate. Thanks to the San Francisco earthquake which
destroyed most of the immigration records in the city, allowing many resident Chinese to
claim U.S citizenship and many others to claim to be "paper sons and daughters." The
anticipated outcome that is intended or guides of the Board of Special Inquiry at Angel
Island was to deport or exclude as many prospective Chinese immigrants as possible. Under
the kindly explicit approval and guidance of seeking out the truth and separating the
legitimate immigrants from the intended to deceive claims, the immigration service tried
to get or reached to exclude the Chinese. These is obvious from the type of questions
asked and avoid or try to avoid, as of duties, questions and issues of traditional rules
of procedure. The types of questions were often based on previous knowledge concerning the
villages of where the immigrants came from since after these inspectors had worked
thousands of cases, they had gained a clear knowledge of what some of the major villages
looked like. With this knowledge of the villages’ layout, they asked questions that
were purposefully wrong to trick and feign the immigrants (Clauss, 64).

Another reason that motivated the immigration service at Angel Island was the
“public presentation”. Chinese immigrants being landed would only draw
serious examination and judgment from the public. Therefore they would prefer as many
Chinese deported as possible because this would enhance their image as being thorough and
completely devoted gatekeepers. The job then provided ample personal motivation to the
interrogators to be especially not capable of being swayed or deviated from against the
entrance of Chinese. A decision would be made. If the decision was admittance, the
detainee would be allowed to land at once. However, if the decision was deportation, the
detainee had five days to protest this decision. His or her case would be retried and he
or she would be re-interrogated. These appellants however, had to stay on Angel Island
while waiting for their appeal hearing. It was here that some would stay as long as two
years, waiting to hear from the board (Clauss, 50). This is clearly evidenced by the
interrogation process, and the main reason that the board wanted to exclude as many as
possible.

The Angel Island era clearly defined the hardship of earlier immigrants from China, who
seek for the promise of American Dreams; yet many of those were being treated as the
‘bugs’ that sought to get away from hardship in their mother land and enter
the United States to abuse the liberty and the freedom those founding fathers of United
States had anticipated. Undergoing not only discriminating decisions that would eventually
effect the elders’ future generations and lives; these Chinese immigrants literally
risked their lives. However, many of the next generations do not appreciate or
acknowledge the past. How can America, which was built on the labor and communities of
immigrants, allow such indecision in these cases? It is a simple question to answer:
America is simply doing what it has always done. It had ignored history. History repeats
itself, and it has shown that we do not learn from our old mistakes. By not dealing with
these prospective immigrants in a fair and equal manner, we are only damned to repeat the
same mistakes that our forerunners had. America should take a closer examination of what
history has shown and take note of previous mistakes. We should let history be our guide
in determining the fate of these Chinese immigrants and the immigration "problem" that we
endure today. This notion of discrimination will last as far as present; and it would
also be responsible for the burdens and pressures that the younger/present generations
have to interrogate themselves with doubt. Some younger generations overcame this
pressure and honor their identities; some assimilate and adopt them well; however, many
opted for to live in ignorance and self-hated.

There are many Chinese who feel that one either have to adopt one culture or the other,
which, in an inherent manner, carries disadvantage into the "white" society is considered
"selling out," while completely adopting the Chinese culture could bid the student a
trick. The different reaction of being Chinese American runs the complete extent or range
from complete assimilation to compromise. There are many Chinese Americans who inflexibly
and unfalteringly advocate complete assimilation. They feel that the two cultures are
incompatible and mutually exclusive, and that growing up in a western exclusively
counteracts a person's attempt to be Asian. Many people expressed this nostalgic feeling,
because they speak English as their primary language, and they grew up in the United
States.

However, it seemed that most of the Chinese Americans, just as other Asian or ethnic
groups might face, are unwilling to consent the facts about their own origin:

“The struggle for identity is particularly acute for some children because their
home life is steeped in Confucian values—such as the emphasis on the family, respect
for authority and learning. They also are burdened by the "model minority" myth that they
should be superachievers. So hot is the issue among Asian Americans that it has given
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