During the colonial period in America, the whites used several methods. However one of the sufficient techniques was the divide and control. The Europeans realized that physical abuse only could not keep the lucrative plantation of the British Caribbean productive. The colonizer resorted to the aspect of creating divisions among the Asian Americans slaves and even other slaves. The ratio of slaves to the whites was higher, and in some plantation, it was about 100 to one. Therefore, the managers resorted to dividing the slaves to rule over them. The idea that the whites had was that they could mix the slaves coming from African to those from Asia and even the natives. With this approach, the African born slaves would not join a rebellion that was plotted by locally born slaves or the slaves from other regions. In this way, they were able to control the people.
The divide and control method was focused on keeping people separated in work and living areas. The system also utilized a multi-tiered system, the establishment of racial hierarchy, and the enforcement of serration and strict rules. With the use of these approaches, the managers in the plantation were able to have control over the wages and working conditions of the African ethnic pool.
The policy limited the interactions of the Asian Americans, and thus they could not offer in collective bargaining on the issues that they were facing. With the separation policies, the Whites had a chance to control the people without giving them the opportunity to form any political ideologies that could have in championing their rights.
Social impact/cultural impact
The Asian Americans were marginalized even after the end of the colonialism. With their social structure being broken down, these people also lost a sense of social identity. The segregation in the plantation meant that they had to conform to the policies of their masters. From this view thus they were unable to practice any of their cultural traditions and thus their practices were disintegrated.
With the low wages that these people were getting it became impossible to enhance any aspect of their lives. The money they acquired in the plantations was only to sustain them within the camps. They could engage in trade or even take their children to school the system was aimed at alienating the people economically and ensure that they provide labor in the farms.
Yellow Peril Discourse
The term “Yellow Peril” refers to the danger that the increasing number of Chinese immigrants pose to the present majority of American culture. The use of the word or concept of Yellow Peril later expanded to include other Asian immigrants in subsequent years and would then apply to Japanese Americans.
The term Yellow Peril would later embody more than a looming threat or danger to American society. It would evolve into a notion that the increasing number of Asian immigrants would soon not only take jobs away from more deserving Americans. But that America’s values and way of life would not only be contaminated by the massive amount of people from an inferior race but that America would be tarnished and irrevocably damaged from the pestilence caused by the presence of the Chinese.
The impact on the Asians in the country is that they felt marginalized. The imagery of the Asian people during this time was they were subhuman gorillas, apes, and treacherous and that they were morally corrupt and that they were mentally and physically laser than the Americans. Therefore, for the people Asian people that were living in the US, it was a time that they were marginalized and persecuted in the streets and even in their living homes. One of the most atrocious events is when the Japanese American were herded into internment camps.
Since the emergence of this form of discrimination against the Asian American, the people have never been able to compete effectively like other Americans. Even after the Willman Petersen’s article in 1966 that seemed to paint the American of Asian descent as a hardworking, intelligent and obedient minority, these have never still made an impact in the political sense in the country. Even though the population experiencing a growth rate of 72 percent since 2000 there impact in the political scene has been negligible. The Asian American makes up to about 6 percent of the US population yet they remain largely invisible in the political and the entertainment space. However, the recent times have seen some changes since in 2017 the country witnessed the highest number of Asian American winning elective seats.
The exclusion of the Japanese and the Chinese limited all there right to engage in any economic activities. Over the years that followed these people were marginalized, they never had the chance to make any meaningful contribution to the economy of the country. This group has for a long time struggled with the image of a “model minority,” and this means that there have not been any efforts to offer those corresponding changes other Americans. For instance, in the case of Lowell high school, the Chinese were required to have higher scores to be admitted into the institution. This was a clear discrimination case that did not give a chance to Asian Americans to compete with others.
The Chinese Six Companies was largely comprised of those in the merchant class (businessmen) who were motivated not only to combat overt racial prejudicial and discriminatory laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act but also to advocate for the Chinese immigrant community in America.
The movement was keen on helping the Chinese that were arriving in the nation. The social impact is that they helped recently reached Chinese immigrants to find a place to live.
Besides they helped recently arrived Chinese immigrants make contact with any relative, friend, or former neighbor
The groups also worked hard to help newly arrived Chinese immigrants find a job.
The idea of helping the coming immigrants get a job and connecting them with their families was keen on ensuring that the people can participate in the daily lives of American society. With a means of living, the people were able to form political movements that could have helped to champion their rights. Thus the Six companies provide the people with an avenue to develop their political outfits.
Known as the Potato King, Shima, even though he was Japanese, was able to own 23,000 acres of land eventually and hired workers irrespective of race. He started with the aid of other Japanese and their cooperation. His political prowess was instrumental in his translation into a leadership position in the early Japanese American community. He served as the first president of the Japanese Association of America.
During his leadership, he was able to counter anti-Japanese sentiments. The association was keen at countering the activist’s movement that was trying to curtail the activities of the Japanese people. The organization played an important role in assisting immigrants through social and education services.
The focus of this association was to ensure that the Japanese in the country can get a chance to be represented just like other Americans. Therefore, during his tenure as the leader of the association, he worked hard to have an equal representation of the Asian American. In his quest, he ensures that all people can be treated equally without any discrimination.
Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)
The focus of the act was to limit the coming of Chinese labors into the United States. The bill blocked the Chinese from the labor market for about ten years. The act was passed in response to the immense number of chinses laborers that were making their way into the Western United States. These labors were attracted to the region due to the availability of jobs in the railroads and the gold rush in Californian and the United States. The law was the first immigration law in the US.
The act led to the separation of families. One an individual had traveled to China they were not allowed back into the country until they met some condition. It is only the rich they could reach the requirement that included owning a property of over $1000.
It also led to the end of cheap labor in the United States.
The policy locked out the Chinese from the labor market
It opened room for the Japanese to fill the labor force.
It offered a chance for the Japanese to become members of the American society racially.
It increased the anti-Chinese sentiments in the United States.
The overall effect is that most of the Chinese that were living in the United States were discriminated and mistreated. They did not get equal treatment as the other Asian Americans.
Opium Wars (1839-1842)
Opium that was warehoused in India and the British were trying to sell to China. The original British drug lords tried to force China to buy opium and to accept concessions, giving certain rights over specific ports and the ability to trade (opium) in China. By the fourth decade into the 19th century, opium was the biggest sold commodity in the world. The Opium War left the Chinese defeated by the British and different groups tried to vie for power.
Social and Cultural Impact