Many groups constitute Asian America. Who are these groups? How are they different from each other? How does the history of their immigration shape these differences?
In 1853, Japan’s economy became dependent on the west and their citizens struggled to survive. For the U.S., they came to Hawaii as cheaper replacements for Chinese workers, but “they” came to find opportunities. During this time, like “China Towns”, “Little Tokyo’s” first appeared in Hawaii, San Francisco and Los Angeles. These enclaves served and still do as ethnic communities and as “well-developed economic structures that operate mainly through ethnic dynamics” (http://www.asian-nation.org/enclaves.shtml). The Japanese primarily worked in agriculture. They were subjected to discrimination, and were denied rights to own land and become citizens. They fought for their rights, but were constantly denied equality (http://www.asian-nation.org/internment.shtml).
In 1941, the Japanese navy attacked Pearl Harbor. Suspicion arose that the Japanese Americans were being recruited as spies. This led to Executive Order 9066. Under this order, 112,000 Japanese Americans had their rights revoked and were thrown into concentration camps (2/3 were U.S. citizens). The Japanese tradition of self-reliance was destroyed because these Japanese were forced to rely on the government for basic needs. After WWII, coincidently, the Japanese were seen under a positive light and given the right to become U.S. citizens. Twenty years after the war, the entire Asian population tried to rebuild their lives and assimilate. The economic boom was big enough to give them the opportunities to do so, without them being a threat to the white Americans. In 1987, through the Redress Movement, an official apology and compensation was given to those Japanese Americans that experienced Executive Order 9066. This Compensation allowed many to fell newly “resurgent” sense of being Japanese American. A “resurgent ethnic identity” means that a traditional/ancestral identity re-emerges through historical events (http://www.asian-nation.org/assimilation.shtml). Many Japanese discarded their identities after WWII to avoid shame or embarrassment with being imprisoned (http://www.asian-nation.org/internment.shtml).
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Japanese were the 6th largest Asian group in the U.S (http://www.asian-nation.org/population.shtml).
Japanese Americans (extra material)
They were drawn to undeveloped land & abundant farming opportunities in California
Fought for equality: court cases, demonstrations and strikes, boycotts, essays, etc.
Japanese discarded identity after WWII to avoid association, shame or embarrassment with being imprisoned.
-Redress Movement allowed them to feel resurgent sense of being Japanese American, although not all compensation was given because some of the Japanese that endured the imprisonment were no longer alive by the time the movement took place.
1. Steinberg Article; PG. 74, starting with “not all Asian immigrants…”
Many Asian immigrants are unskilled and uneducated, and as a result have difficulty in finding jobs in the racially segregated labor market. When they aren’t employed in the ethnic enclaves (such as Chinatown), they are forced to accept jobs that are degrading and exploiting, such as sweatshops and restaurants. Overall, Asian success has a lot to do with inheriting class advantage and disadvantage. It doesn’t always have to do with genes or culture, as the myth stands.
(SOURCES: The Demystification of Ethnicity by Stephen Steinberg)
2. Vietnamese Immigration:
The first wave of Vietnamese refugees came after the fall of Saigon in the spring of 1975. The reason for leaving had to do with political instability, corruption from the Communist party, natural disasters, etc. In general, people became desperate to escape the regime. The plan was to evacuate approximately 17,600 Vietnamese citizens by U.S. military cargo ships or to airlift them. “Operation New Life” was a plan to relocate Vietnamese to places such as Guam, the Philippines, Thailand, Wake Island and Hawaii. These places were of United States governmental bases. Afterward, they were split up to four different refugee centers throughout the United States: Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, and Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania. With the arrival of all the Vietnamese immigrants, the Ford Administration was accommodating and approved the Indochina Migration and Refugee Act of 1975 which was a program that matched Vietnamese with Volags’, voluntary agencies whose job it was to coordinate the refugee’s eventual resettlement with local sponsors into communities throughout the United States. With the help of the Volags’, Vietnamese were somewhat able to find employment, schools, etc.
The second wave of Vietnamese immigration was a result of the new Communist government’s control and ideas on economics, politics and agriculture. Deemed “The Boat People,” in 1977, many Vietnamese escaped onboard overcrowded, under-equipped construction boats. Emigrating to the U.S. was more difficult, as Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980 that allowed only 50,000 immigrants per year, so many flew to Thailand, Malaysia, etc.
Upon arrival into America, many of the Vietnamese were encouraged to assimilate into ‘mainstream’ American society as soon as possible. Many Vietnamese were unwelcome, and a 1975 poll showed that 36% of Americans were in favor of their immigration. The Vietnamese people like many other ethnic immigrants wanted to create their own communities (ethnic enclaves) where they could join family and friends in metropolitan areas. As of today, forty percent of Vietnamese Americans have established residency in Orange County, California. They also reside in San Jose, Houston and Washington DC. Within the home, Vietnamese is the most dominant language spoken, which makes it the seventh most spoken language in the United States. One of the top priorities of Vietnamese Americans is family reunification, as Vietnamese Americans are the fifth largest Asian immigrant group behind Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian and Korean. Overall, the Vietnamese Americans have been able to keep their traditions alive and religious values intact.
(SOURCES: www.asian_nation.org, www.ailf.org)
If one thing can be agreed upon during our research for this project, is that all Asians were treated unfairly when immigrating to the United States. Japanese, Chinese and Korean’s were used like slaves to produce resources in the early 1900’s. “Asian Americans were systematically stripped of their political, economic, cultural, and citizenship rights”. The majority of immigrants to first arrive in America were male laborers who left their families behind to make some money and accomplish the “American Dream”. http://modelminority.com/article1067.html
The first wave of Koreans that immigrated to the Untied States was on January 13, 1903 upon the S.S Gaelic boat carrying 56 men, 21 women, and 25 children to Honolulu, Hawaii. In Honolulu, the first significant group of Korean Americans would now work for low wages at sugar plantations. During the early 1900’s sugar was a much needed resource and Hawaii would produce a large quantity of it. Over the next few years to follow, more then 7,000 Koreans would make the trip to Hawaii from Korea.
In 1905 Japan would invade Korea and gives up Korea’s rights for diplomacy with other countries. Japan would govern the small country and restrict mostly everyone coming in and out of Korea. In 1908 the administration of then president Roosevelt, entered an agreement with Japan called the Gentlemen’s agreement. The agreement was on allowing a certain amount of women from Japan and Korea, to be shipped over to the United States. Japan made Korea it’s colony in 1910 and shortly allowed Korean men in America to have picture wives.
Picture-Bride process was the term used during the time of the first wave for the Korean workers in America. Pictures would be sent back and forward, to set up a marriage between laborers in America and Korea, with permission from Japan. About 1,000 Korean women would immigrate to America through this process.
In 1925 an anti-Asian exclusion act was passed, to prohibit any immigration to America by Asia for the next 25 years, therefore ending the first wave. During the time of this act in action, immigration from Korea was very minimal. In the meanwhile, most of the picture wives were educated and survived during the time of labor. Korean’s managed to endure during the struggling times of immigration and became a stepping stone for the next generations of the Korean community.
According to the 2000 censuses, about 30 percent of Korean American are natural citizens and are increasing every year. In large cities such as Seattle and Tacoma, Koreans are heavily populated and running numerous amounts of different businesses. Strong values and maintaining family bonds is what keeps the Korean Americans up and running in this country. Sooner or later, the minorities of today’s society will be the majority.
http://www.kahs.org/news.html Chinese Immigration
Immigration to the United States from China began primarily in the middle of the
19th Century. As more of the American West was becoming settled, several waves
of Chinese immigrants arrived in the country eager to pursue the opportunities
awaiting them. For the most part, these immigrants consisted of young male
peasants who came in search of economic success.
Some of the reasons why the Chinese emigrate to the U.S. and Canada were escaping
from chronic poverty in China, economic hardship, to pursue higher education and
more desirable lifestyle. All hopes were to bring successful wealth earned in
the US to their native land.
The first recorded Chinese immigrant to what would become the United States was
a man named Ah Nam who arrived in Monterey, California as a cook in 1815
(Stephan Thernstrom, ed., Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, 1980,
Of all the reasons why the Chinese migrate, it was particularly the start of the
California Gold Rush in 1848, that lured the Chinese to enter California (which
they called "Gam Saan" or "Golden Mountain") in significant numbers. In 1852,
at the height of the Gold Rush, 67,000 people came to California, of which
20,000 reportedly were from China. While some toiled as panhandlers looking for
the elusive "Gold Mountain" of California, most had moved to fill the void of
low-paid labor created by America's rapidly expanding industries. Approximately
30,000 Chinese worked outside of California in companies such as wool mills, as
well as shoe, and garment manufacturers. Others moved to support the growing
need for labor in areas such as mining, land development, and irrigation.
In particular, the advanced agricultural knowledge possessed by many of these
first immigrants from China was greatly appreciated on the developing farms of
the West. Chinese farming techniques along with thousands of migrant
agricultural laborers combined to allow the new western states to become more
self-sufficient in their food production. Until this point, the American West
had been largely dependent upon suppliers in the east.
Another famous occupation that the Chinese immigration held was working for the
Central Pacific Railroad. There were approximately 15,000 Chinese were hired by
Central Pacific Railroad as it stretched into the western frontier. The average
railroad payroll for the Chinese was $35 per month. The cost of food was
approximately $15 to $18 per month, plus the railroad provided shelter for
workers. Therefore, a fugal man could net about $20 every month. These workers
created a vast network of track that opened up untapped resources not only in
California but the Northwest as well. The path of the railroad also spurred
development of the surrounding territory that many immigrants cultivated into
Acceptance Perspective by the US
With all the efforts that the Chinese immigration contributed to the US, only
the first Chinese immigrants were well and widely received by the Americans.
The first Chinese immigrants were perceived as wealthy, successful merchants,
along with skilled artisans, fishermen, and hotel and restaurant owners. Within
first few years of migrating, they were greatly receipted by the public,
government officials, and especially by employers, for they were renowned for
their hard work and dependability.
Consequently, after a much larger group of coolies, unskilled laborers usually
working for very little pay, migrated to the U.S. in the mid 1800's, American
attitudes became negative and hostile. Fear, ignorance, and post-Civil War
depression combined to create an isolationist atmosphere and a suddenly hostile
home. By the year 1851, there were 25,000 Chinese working in California, mostly
centered in and out of the "Gold Rush" area and around San Francisco. During
that time, more than half the Chinese in the U.S. lived in that region. These
Chinese clustered into groups, working hard and living frugally.
As the populations of these groups increased, they formed large cities of ethnic
enclaves called "Chinatowns" all over the country. The first and most important
of the Chinatowns, without a doubt, belonged to San Francisco. One of the most
remarkable qualities of San Francisco's Chinatown is its geographic stability.
It has endured half a century of earthquakes, fires, and urban renewal, yet has
remained in the same neighborhood with the same rich culture.
These became targets for anti-immigrant protests and riots that often resulted
in violence. Chinese immigrants may have been targeted due to the increasing
belief that immigrants were occupying too many jobs within the city. Because
Chinese Americans were living together in such close-knit communities within
these cities, they drew the brunt of the anti-immigration sentiment. Pressure
upon these immigrants became so fierce that some chose to leave the country
altogether--their American dream had been shattered.
Due to the discrimination and the negligent working treatments among the Chinese
immigrants, laws such the Naturalization Act of 1870 and the Chinese Exclusion
Act of 1882 restricted immigration of Chinese immigrants into the U.S. The
Naturalization Act of 1870 restricted all immigration into the U.S. to only
"white persons and persons of African descent," meaning that all Chinese were
placed in a different category, a category that placed them as ineligible for
citizenship from that time till 1943. Also, this law was the first significant
bar on free immigration in American history, making the Chinese the only
culture to be prohibited to freely migrate to the United States for a time.
Even before the act of 1870, Congress had passed a law forbidding American
vessels to transport Chinese immigrants to the U.S. The reason behind the
Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was to prevent an excess of cheap labor. However,
the act froze the population of the Chinese community leaving its already
unproportional sex ratio highly imbalanced. The only exceptions for Chinese
immigration were teachers, diplomats, students, merchants, and tourists. It was
the first exclusion of a national group. The 1882 act was the first of four
"Chinese Exclusion Laws" which suspended the inflow of Chinese laborers,
including their wives, who were also considered as labor, for ten years from
1882 through 1892.
To enforce the law, the Angel Island Inspection Station was built in San
Francisco in 1910. All Chinese entering the country went through an
interrogation session and were then either allowed to enter the country,
detained in prison-like barracks, or deported. For 30 years Angel Island
processed close to 175,000 Chinese who came to America only to find that the
door had been closed on their people.
Finally, in 1943 the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed, allowing immigrants
already in the US to bring over family members from China. It was in 1952, that
the passage of the Walter-McCarren Act allowing first-generation Americans to
apply for citizenship. Throughout the 60's, Chinese Americans made particular
gains into professional arenas: medicine, corporations, and politics. The 1964
Immigration and Nationality Act removed the last barriers to Chinese
immigration initiating a new era in the history of America's melting pot.
Sub Topic Two: Asian Americans and the Model Minority
What is the Model Minority myth? What are its impacts? The model minority myth, -all other minority groups should follow the lead and example of the one supreme minority group.” Model minority” definition: a bright shining example of hard work and patience whose example other minority groups should follow. (asian-nation.org)
This myth is based primarily on statistic, such as income per household. According to the article “Success story of one minority group” compared statistically to other minority groups Asian Americans are more prosperous and have a higher income per household than any other minority group. However what is not factored is the number of people in the household whom all contribute to household income. One commonness with many immigrants is that when they choose to relocate to another country, typically they may move all or a large portion of those in their immediate or extended families concurrently. Although it should be noted that this is not true for all; In contrast, many immigrants migrate alone or in small numbers to make money to send back to their families in the home countries.
Myth of Asian Success
“Tightly knit families and high respect for all forms of learning are traditional characteristics of Asian societies… Asian children are endowed with an underlying devotion to scholarship…” –Malcom Brown (Steinberg Article)
[Include this statistic: Table 9: “Percentage of professionals among Asian immigrants with occupations” –PG 73 – Steinberg article. Statistic percentages based on number of immigrants who reported having a job, excluding the non working as well as old and young. Statistic shows that not all immigrants from Asia thrive, or are successful, but that most simply maintain. –relate to previous statement about number of persons working per household.]
Summary: “Success Story of One Minority Group in US”:
Large areas referred to as “Chinatown” are located in most major cities in the US. People of Chinese descent congregate in these areas by the thousands. In the 1960’s, an article was published in the US News and World Report about how the Chinese people are the “model minority” because of their strong work ethics and highly intellectual minds.
The article uses Chinese people to criticize the lives of other minority citizens in the United States. It builds up false impressions of the way that all Chinese people live, which is exactly what the media was accomplishing through their interpretations of the Chinese people and its culture. So, here we are to extinguish the myth and understand the truth.
Chinese people were taken advantage of during war times and in periods after that as they were willing to work for longs hours at very low wages. In the article, it is stated that some of the Chinese men who were scholars in China were coming to big American cities and working as cooks and waiters.
Asian Americans success in the U.S Culture & Media impact related to Stereotype origin on the Model Minority:
Today’s immigrants from Asia have more varied backgrounds and come for many reasons, such as to join their families to invest their money in the U.S. economy, to fulfill the demand for highly skilled labor, or to escape war, political or religious persecution and economic hardship.
While middle-class immigrants are able to start their American lives with high-paying professional careers and comfortable suburban living, low-skilled immigrants and refugees often endure low-paying menial jobs and live in inner city ghettos.
They felt that their own sense of American identity was being threatened and that they were blamed as individuals for U.S. racism.
One consequence of the model-minority stereotype is to buttress the myth that United States is devoid of racism and accords equal opportunity to all and that those who lag behind do so because their own poor choices and inferior culture.
The model-minority image implicitly casts Asian- Americans as different from whites. By placing Asian American above whites, the model minority image also sets them apart from other Americans, white or non white, in the public mind.
(I would like to add that the article entitled “Success story of one Minority group…” states the following (which I will summarize) from the reproduction agents: “…This is a historical document which is meant to pinpoint the currently widespread concept of the “model minority.” We strongly disagree with this article because it was based on inaccurate data and analysis… it presents and extremely distorted picture of the Asian American realities nationwide… It was published in 1966 during the civil rights movements which called attention nationwide to the second class citizenship of racial minorities. Today, many historians agree that the message in the piece (specifically regarding Asian-Americans) is that minorities can make it in America with hard work and sacrifice, and that this message was designed to scold other disenfranchised racial minorities especially vocal African Americans by stating that if Asian Americans can be successful, then so can other racial minorities despite cultural inequalities and prejudice. Also that the source of their success (Asian-Americans) is because of the initiative they instill to their offspring...”) (footnote of article: Success Story of one Minority Group in U.S.)
The Chinese people began to immigrate to the US in larger amounts during the time of the California Gold Rush. European settlers laid many different laws in the attempt to get rid of these foreign people, but the Chinese (as well as Japanese and other people of Asian descent) continued to pursue new lives in the United States. During WWII, anyone who resembled an Asian stereotype was put into a containment camp, similar to the concentration camps of Hitler’s time. This was a solemn time for the Asian culture in America.
They had to learn about American racial hierarchies. They did not realize that, as immigrants of color, they would never attain political voice or visibility but would instead be used to uphold the inequality and the racial hierarchy they had no part in creating.
Korean immigrant views shaped by U.S cultural influences and official, anticommunist, South Korean education, differed radically from those of many poor people in the communities Korean immigrants served: unaware of the shameful history of oppression of nonwhite immigrants and other people of color in the United States.
The term “Asian American” was coined by the late historian and activist Yuji Ichinoka during the ethnic consciousness movements of the late 1960’s. “Asian American” is an umbrella category that includes both U.S. citizens and immigrants whose ancestors came from Asia and Pakistan.
Non-white would aspire to becoming “white” as a mark of and a tool for material success. However, becoming white can mean distancing oneself from “people of color or disowning one’s ethnicity.
Sub Topic Three: Asian American Movements 1980’s and 1990’s 1980's
In order to get a greater understanding of the Asian American movements in the 1980's, 1990's and today, one must take a look at what took place before 1980. The Asian American population grew due to the reform of immigration laws in 1965. Although there were more Asian Americans in poverty as well as more racist hate crimes, there was also progress for the Asian Americans with the increased number of Asian Americans moving into predominately white suburbs and a greater number of students enrolling in universities. Asian Americans of all different ethnic backgrounds had successfully organized political campaigns at the grassroots level. Some examples of the grassroots organizations include the Filipino Americans coming together to defeat the Marcos Dictatorship, Chinese Americans created community support for the pro-democracy struggle in China, Korean Americans reacted strongly to the people that were killed by the South Korean dictatorship in Kwangju by holding demonstrations and relief efforts and the Pacific Islanders demanded removal of nuclear weapons from their native countries (Omatsu 176).
The movements of the pre-1980 era impacted the lives of Asian Americans. They were proud of their Asian culture. There was an accelerated desegregation of the suburbs with an influx of middle class Asian Americans moving to the suburbs. More young Asian Americans gained access to higher education with increased numbers of enrollment in universities including elite universities.
There are several possible reasons that can attribute to the progress made by the Asian American communities. Their culture’s emphasis on education, family values and community cohesion could all be factors. Structural changes in governmental policy and the global economy increased the number of educated immigrants who migrated into the United States. The grassroots organizations in Asian American communities were able to last into the 1980’s unlike the organizations in African American communities which were repressed by the government (Omatsu 177). Many Asian Americans owned small businesses which gave them access to "start-up capital" (Omatsu 177). Lastly, due to the removal of quotas and more "job opportunities for middle-class people of color" there was a rise in the number of young Asian American professionals (Omatsu 178). Each of these reasons could have affected the progress Asian American communities had during the 1980’s.
The increased number of young professionals began to become active in local governments during the 1980’s. They organized political groups in both the Democratic and Republican parties and also aligned with grassroots organizations. During this time there was an emergence of neo-conservatism. Neo-conservatists were born during the Reagan-Bush era and experienced a time period of class and racial polarization. Neo-conservatists emphasize individual advancement through higher education. Neo-conservatists differ from traditional conservatives in their age, professional status and the time period that they grew up in (Omatsu 181). Neo-conservatists are proud to be Asian American and speak out against racism. They believe that ending affirmative action will be the only way to end racism and oppose minority quotas admitted to universities. Another neo-conservatist belief is the lack of advancement for other groups of color are due to their culture. They acknowledge discrimination but deny institutional racism and believe that people of color can advance through educational attainment.
- Quote (C.L.R. James)* "Time would pass, old empires would fall and new ones take their place, the relations of countries and the relations of classes had to change, before I discovered that it is not quality of goods and utility which matter, but movement; not where you are or what you have, but where you have come from, where you are going and the rate at which you are getting there."
-Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)* Was founded in 1977, it is composed primarily of Chinese immigrants, most are workers in low-wage industries. * Their main focus is on workers and improving their living and working conditions. *Won multilingual services for the unemployed, reopened local unemployment offices and enabled Chinatown residents to establish the first resident association and to win long-term affordable housing contracts at three HUD developments.
-Asian Immigrant Women Advocates (AIWA)* Founded in 1983, it is a community-based organization. Their main focus is to empower low-income, limited -English-speaking Asian immigrant women in their homes and their work places. * Held garment manufacturer Jessica McClintock accountable for unpaid wages by demonstrating outside of J.M. boutiques, thus promoting immigrant women’s rights.
- Korean Immigrant Worker Advocates (KIWA)* Founded in 1992 it brings labor issues to the forefront of the Asian American community, educating labor unions about the needs of Asian American workers, and forming coalitions with other forces in the city to deal with interethnic tensions. It is the only organization governed by a board of directors of mainly workers.* Educate Asian immigrants about unions, train workers around the tasks of political leadership, create new centers of power in the community by combining workers, young professionals and social service providers.
The future of the Asian American movement is largely attributed to Vera Cruz.
He was part of the manong generation, who first came to the US in the early
twentieth century and worked in fields, hotels and restaurants. He now devotes
his time to Asian American activism which deals with the rights of working
people and the challenges they face with American institutions. He also played
a big role in developing the United Farm Workers (UFW) and now is the vice
president of the organization.
Over the years Vera Cruz has defined the word empowerment as the “expansion of democracy for the many”, Meaning that people as a whole are able to change the
restrictions that society puts on its people. He also says that empowerment is
not for an elite group of people that have developed some sort of power over
others. It is up the people to join together and develop their own ideas and
then have leadership build from there.
There are three words that can describe Cruz’s movement for liberation:
compassion, solidarity, and commitment. This movement is designed to motivate
the community to respond to the challenges that the conservative society throws
at us. The model minority stereotype in the US about Asian Americans is that
they are the “whiz kids”. In reality there is a growing population of poor, an
increase in the number of kids that are not excelling in school, and a large
number of the small family owned businesses are not making it in the US
society. These stereotypes have created a bad image for the immigrants,
suggesting that they have taken all the work from the inner city Americans who
can’t find their own work.
There is a need for change toward the Asian American experience because there is too much of a negative view on the people that make up this community. A
conscious effort needs to be made in order to change the views of towards this
community. There needs to be an uprising against the exploitation of third
world countries and for everyone to be treated equally. This needs to be done without exploiting a new set of individuals in our efforts.
Omatsu, G. "The Four Prisons" and the Movements of Liberation: Asian American Activism from the 1960's. Asian-American Studies, eds. Jean Yu-wen, Shen Wu and Min Song. Rutgers U Press, 2000, pp. 176-194.
Sub Topic Four: Latinos in the U.S.
Who are the “new immigrants” among Latinos? How are they different from/similar to Latinos who came to this country earlier or people of Mexican descent who have always lived here? What proportion of Latinos are undocumented workers? How does the timing and character of the new immigration help to explain the emergence of immigration as a political issue?
Who are the new immigrants (compared to historical figures)?
Summary Table A. Average Annual Immigration.
During the 1990’s and into the first years of the new century immigration both legal and illegal has predominantly come from Mexico and closely followed by eastern Asian countries.
Where are the new destinations/ Changed cities/ Patterns in Oregon?
Growth Shifts to Many New Areas
However where as in previous years California and New York had been the primary destinations for immigrants, Iowa and North Carolina have become major destinations. --- Oregon for instance has the nineteenth largest Hispanic population. During the aforementioned time frame of 1990 - 2000 the Hispanic growth rate in the state ranked thirteen in the country. Of all the states in the union, Oregon has the 15th largest
share of Hispanics when compared to its total state population.
What is the Growth rate of natives vs. foreign born Hispanics?
The Pew Hispanic Center tabulation of the 2000 Census has reported that the number
of native born Hispanics has risen from 20.4 million to 25 million
and the number of foreign born has risen only from 14 million
to 16.8 million between the years of 2000 and 2005.
How many undocumented workers are there in Oregon?
Oregon’s undocumented illegal population is estimated at between 128,000 and 150,000
It is currently believed that at least 6400 new undocumented persons are entering the state.
Mexican migration follows trends:
The underlining cause of the migration can be tied to the Mexican economy. In 1995 Mexican GDP (Gross Domestic Product) dropped 6.2%. A
short depression soon followed. Even though Mexico quickly ushered
itself out of that depression and improved its GDP the damage had been done.
In its climb back up Mexico failed to create new jobs for its countryman and
led to a lack of confidence in her government. The disillusioned masses headed
north in search of a secure paycheck.
Sub Topic Five: Resistance
Latino resistance and coalitions Boycotting Taco Bell: The Coalition of Immokalee
Workers (article by Peter Ian Asen)
-The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) was founded in 1995 with workers from Mexico, Guatemala, and Haiti. The organization has a nine-member board in which all the members are workers in agriculture or other low-wage industries. The coalition is named after the agricultural town that is a center for tomato and orange production in the southwest Florida. In October 1997, the CIW launched an “anti-slavery campaign” to call public attention to sub-poverty wages in the tomato fields and orange groves. The campaign did work stoppages, strikes, hunger strikes, by six members for 30 days, and a 230-mile march across the state to but pressure on the growers.
- CIW staff member and longtime farm worker Lucas Benitez discovered the power is beyond the growers. If the coalition wanted to achieve higher wages for tomato pickers the area to put pressure and target against would have to be the large corporations. The
corporations controlled the agricultural industry because they consume a majority of the products. The campaign was going to focus on one major corporation
that buys the products that the tomato workers pick.
- Taco Bell was the target for CIW. Taco Bell belongs to the Yum Brands, a parent company of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's, and A&W Restaurants, which make up the largest restaurant
chain in the world.
-CIW had three demands: (1) the farm workers asked Taco Bell to pay its growers one penny more per pound of tomatoes, which would go directly to the workers,
and provide an 80% wage increase. (2) Taco Bell brings the growers to the table so that a three-party dialogue could occur. (3) Taco Bell has to join with the growers and farm workers to draft a Code of Conduct for Taco Bell tomato suppliers. They wanted
the Code to include the right to a living wage, to overtime pay, and to organize without fear of retaliation.
- The Taco Bell boycott was set into motion after getting no response three times from the company after CIW wrote to Taco Bell. The coalition decided to target 16-24 year- olds, which was the largest consumer for Taco Bell. CIW started contacting student groups on many Florida campuses. In the spring on 2001, CIW and its supporters held
demonstrations at Taco Bells in five cities. Local students and allies from the labor and religious communities joined 50 to 100 farm workers at each rally.
-The CIW starts to spend many months in preparation to develop tours and rallies throughout the country. They had to postpone the previous tour because of the September 11 attacks. CIW began visiting various cities to help strengthen connections and allies.
-Taco Bell begins to take notice, but is not responding to the demands that CIW has presented to them. CIW begins the Truth Tour, and the tour received a great deal of media attention as local committees gave press releases in different cities. After the Truth tour in March 2003, workers returned by bus to Irvine and did a ten-day hunger strike. Sixty-five people, including 30 farm workers and 35 allies, camped out in front of Taco Bell headquarters and fasted for at least five days each.
- Students begin to be informed about Taco Bell. Groups organize together to spread the campaign in the boycott of Taco Bell. Students at the University of
Chicago were able to get Taco Bell out of the food court. In August of 2004, 19 schools had either “booted the Bell” from campus or declared their campus a “Taco Bell-free zone.
-Pressure toward the shareholders at the Yum Brands starts to develop. Major Christian denominations such as the United Methodist Church support the boycott. AFL-CIO president John Sweeny wrote to a Yum Brands board member explaining, “I will be urging my constituents-the 13 million members of the AFL-CIO and their families-to boycott Taco Bell products until this issue is resolved.
-Taco Bell has not reached the demands of CIW. They did send $110,000 dollar check to the coalition, but the check was sent back because it would be impossible to distribute the money among the tomato pickers.
- Taco Bell hasn't reached the demands of CIW.
Be Down With the Brown
March 1968 The ten days that shook Los Angeles, Chicano and Chicana high school students walked out of class to protest a racist educational system. The "Blowouts" as they were called, began with several thousand students from six schools, and increase each day till 10,000 had struck. Bringing the largest cities school system to a halt. The strike was the first time Chicano
students had marched in masses in demonstration against racism and for educational change. It was the first mass protest specifically focused on racism by any Chicanas or Chicanos in U.S. history. During a time of youth rebellion nationwide and world wide the blowouts stud out because the majority came from the working class. Their main goal was inclusion of their own cultures, values, and history rather than a counter culture. They sparked other protests in colleges and inspired new organizations to emerge while others grew.
30yrs latter the new "Blowouts" emerged combating repressive new anti-crime laws, preventing re-election of right wing Gov. Pete Wilson, and to fight proposition 187- the call to deny educational and health services to anyone suspected of being undocumented. California's "Blowouts" focused on public schools starting in the north and spreading south. The reason for this focus was that California's public schools lose $17.20 for each un-excused absence per day. This economic damage provided the centerpiece of the students strategy.
1993-1994, the wave of new Blowouts
The first wave of the new "Blowouts" came in 1993 On April 1 throughout a dozen Oakland schools. More than 1,000 mostly Latino junior high students walked out. On Mexican Independence Day Sept 16 more than 4,000 walked out of schools in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Joes and the town of Gilroy.
In 1994 on the anniversary of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the day confirming the U.S. takeover of half of Mexico. Some 500 students and supporters in Sacramento walked out and shook up the state capital. Saying “the Gov. wants more prisons we want more schools, He wants more cops we want more teachers. We want an education that values and includes our culture. We want all cultures to know about themselves."
On April 22 1994 a big coordinated blowout involving more than 30 schools and 800 youths gathered in San Francisco waving signs saying "Educate don't Incarcerate" and "Our Story not History" with pitchers of armed women of the Mexican Revolution. "Don't let the lies of the United Snakes divide us." "We've got to forget these colors." In the town of Hayward on that same day 1,500 students from 20 schools boycotted. 300 of them turned in their gang color rags
for brown bandannas - brown for Brown Power and unity.
Cinco de Mayo May 5, brought more blowouts, followed by a Los Angeles gathering in June of 900 high students. The students themselves were stunned by their success.
Reasons for 93-94 blowout explosion
Racism in the school system was at the top of the list for the reasons of the new blowouts wave. Nation wide Latinos had the lowest high school graduation rate of any group. Of every 100 Latinos who enter kindergarten only 55 graduate from high school. Of those 55, only 25 enter college. Of the 25, 7 finish. Only 4 go on to graduate school and 2 finish. Today's count is even worse. For reasons of poverty and need to quit school to work. Another reason was a general anger and despair. A nationwide climate of youth frustration with society.
How it was done-
They organized the rally so that no adults would run it. Certain existing
organizations helped pave the way but no single group organized and coordinated all the Blowouts. The students set up outreach and publicity comities, made flyers and after their walkouts would get together and decide what to do next. A key to their success was that they never announced the actual date and time till the last minute, so there was no time to stop it.
Issues In recent years, the federal government has begun to create what is, in effect, a two-tier justice system: one for citizens, and one for immigrants. This defies the constitutional imperative to protect "persons" and not just "citizens."
Since 9/11, immigrant communities generally, and Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities in particular, feel besieged. The federal government has conducted random sweeps and workplace raids, carried out secret detentions and secret judicial proceedings, initiated special registration programs based on nationality, and deported established immigrants based on mere technicalities.
Since 9/11, the breathtaking reach of government measures has ended up going too far, and increasingly, these measures target immigrants who have nothing to do with terrorism.
The government's actions have also made it more difficult for millions of immigrants to work and provide for their families, driving those without permission to be here further underground.
The broken immigration system keeps millions of hardworking immigrants from becoming full members and enjoying equal rights in this nation. As a result, many are subjected to exploitation, separated from loved ones, and unprotected by our laws. The Immigrant Freedom Riders set out striving for Policies that work for immigrants and all Americans. To reward work, renew democracy by clearing the road to citizenship, reunite families, restore labor protectors and respect Civil Rights and Liberties: Respect the civil rights and civil liberties of all so that immigrants are treated equally under the law, the federal government remains subject to checks and balances, and civil rights laws are meaningfully
enforced. Nearly 1,000 Immigrants joined in the cross county ride of 20,000 miles. Stopping at 100 cities and set out to expose the injustice of current policies toward immigrants. The riders and other activists joined DC area parking workers on a march for justice in downtown DC. A crowed of more than 1,200 walked the street demanding living wages and affordable health insurance for DC's parking workers, who are mostly immigrants.
The immigrant Workers Freedom Ride ended in New York on Oct 4 with more than 125,000 union and community supporters joining the 1,000 immigrant workers who had crossed the country in effort to put immigration issues on the national political agenda for 2004. The riders met with more than 120 members of Congress. They pushed for a road to citizenship for all immigrant workers, immigrant family reunification, full civil rights for immigrants and protection of immigrants' work place rights.
Farm Workers and Tree Planters:
Background information: Oregon’s union of farm workers, nursery, and reforestation workers, and Oregon’s largest Latino organization.
PCUN’s fundamental goal is to empower farm workers to understand and take action against systematic exploitation and all of its effects by being involved in community and workplace organizing.
Founded in 1985 by 80 farm workers, PCUN has grown to more than 5,000 registered members, 98% of which are Mexican and Central American immigrants. PCUN’s office is located in Woodburn, in the mid-Willamette Valley, the center of Oregon’s agricultural industry. Woodburn evolved during the 1960’s into a service and cultural center for the Valley’s Mexican community, currently has a majority Latino population of just over 50%.
Oregon’s farm workers: The fruit and vegetable growers depend heavily on Mexican labor, since the 1940’s. Reforestation and plant nurseries emerged in the 1970’s as major winter occupations, enabling thousands of area farm workers to remain in Oregon year-round. Employees work long hours for low wages, with no overtime pay, paid breaks, seniority, job security, or other benefits. Seasonal workers often housed in squalid labor camps owned and operated by growers or labor contractors, exposed to a myriad of chemicals and pesticides sprayed on crops and often lack the proper protective gear and training to apply pesticides. They also lack the right to collective bargaining, which is guaranteed to all other industries under the National Labor Relations Act.
Organizing efforts: PCUN’s organizing and outreach efforts include workers from the various areas of agriculture, including year-round employees, irrigators, seasonal workers, nursery and reforestation workers, and cannery workers. PCUN’s Collective Bargaining Committee uses various direct organizing tactics, such as visiting fields, distributing leaflets, and holding house meetings and marches, yet PCUN also organizes through its Service Center for Farm workers, which provides registered members with support services such as translations, recommendations to lawyers for work-related incidents, and immigration services, as well as a death benefit.
Collective bargaining: Collective bargaining is most effective and lasting way to improve farm worker conditions because it redresses the power imbalance between growers and workers, and establishes respect, fairness and dignity as the bases for the employment relationship. Collective bargaining agreements are negotiated by a committee of workers elected by their peers at the farm, assisted by PCUN staff, and ratified by a vote of the workers. Key components of these agreements include: 1. a simple and expeditious procedure to submit and resolve grievances; 2. seniority rights in lay-off, recall and promotion; 3. prohibition against retaliation and discipline or discharge without just cause; 4. guaranteed paid breaks and overtime pay; 5. workers’ right to refuse to work in conditions they regard as unsafe or hazardous; 6. paid and unpaid holidays and leaves of absence, including bereavement; 7. workers’ right to information about chemical used in the workplace, and 8. union recognition. None of these protections or procedures is presently provided by law.
Collaborative efforts: PCUN also works closely with a wide variety of other local organizations, including the Farm worker Housing Development Corporation, which runs the farm worker housing units in Woodburn, Voz Hispana, which organizes Latino voters and educates community members of the legacy of Cesar Chavez, CAUSA, which advocates for immigrant rights, and Mujeres Luchadoras Progresistas, which promotes economic and leadership development for farm worker women. On a national level, PCUN collaborates with other organizations to promote legalization for undocumented workers and to ensure immigrants’ rights, and also advocates with the Oregon Legislature to protect farm workers’ rights through legal means as well. PCUN’s Pesticide project has also involved national and statewide collaboration around issues such as controlling pesticide use and protecting the health of workers. PCUN has led or been involved in numerous organizing efforts and campaigns since its founding
Be Down with the Brown,
Boycotting Taco Bell: The Coalition Immokalee Workers