- 1790: Naturalization Act, which limited citizenship to “free white persons.”
- 1882: Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese immigrants for 10 years (later extended). This law also prohibited Chinese immigrants from naturalizing. Provisions repealed in 1943.
- 1907: Gentlemen’s Agreement, in which Japan and the U.S. agreed to stop issuance of passports for new Japanese laborers to come to the U.S., but the U.S. allowed immigration of family members of Japanese residents already in the country.
- 1917: Immigration Act, which barred immigration from most countries in Asia.
- 1923: A U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which said Indians from Asia were not white, reversing previous court decisions allowing them to become citizens.
- 1924: National Origins Act, which extended earlier prohibitions on Asian immigration but exempted Filipinos, who lived in an American territory.
- 1942: A presidential order during World War II that allowed the secretary of war to remove Japanese Americans from certain areas; eventually, 120,000 were interned in camps.
- 1945: The War Brides Act, which allowed the entry, with no quotas, of foreign-born women married to U.S. servicemen.
- 1952: McCarran-Walter Immigration and Naturalization Act, which allowed Asian Americans to become naturalized U.S. citizens.
- 1965: Immigration and Nationality Act, which opened the doors for new immigration from Asia. Spouses, children under 21 and parents of U.S. citizens could be admitted without quotas. The law allowed up to 20,000 immigrants per country and 170,000 from the Eastern Hemisphere; family members and some categories of skilled workers were favored.
- 1980: Refugee Act, which redefined refugees more broadly, thus granting asylum to boat people escaping Vietnam.
- 1990: Immigration Act, which increased the ceiling on new immigrant visas, especially for family members of U.S. citizens and for skilled foreigners requested by U.S. employers.
(Source: Pew: The Rise of Asian-Americans)
This should be taught in all history classes:
This is funny because it's so real--a great exploration of how when it comes to racial comments, some folks don't even think about what they are saying. Black folks have been militant about policing racial stereotypes for a long time now, so most everybody knows how to avoid getting Jimmy the Greeked. But when an Asian ballplayer comes along, there's not much precedent. Yet another reason why Jeremy Lin means something important beyond points and assists.
What a difference five words can make. In a tweet promoting my latest story, I said that some Asian-Americans are not checking the Asian box on college applications "to avoid what they call discrimination." That prompted an interesting question from a cat I had not met named Jabari Bell, who tweeted, "what's the difference between 'discrimination' and 'what Asians call discrimination'?" He included another brother I had not met, Professor Dumi Lewis (his real name is even fresher than that), in the tweet.
This is an important question. It's hard to tell on Twitter, but I think what these dudes were saying was, "Why you half-stepping?" Why not call the proverbial spade a spade?
I tweeted back that since some disagree that Asians are discriminated against in college admissions, I qualified the statement. The colleges themselves, for example, strenuously deny any discrimination (although they would not comment for my story, cough cough). More importantly: If you believe that admission to elite schools should be based solely or primarily on test scores and GPA, then yes, it's easy to call this discrimination. But if you believe that admissions decisions should include other factors in order to assemble a university environment full of different types of people with different skills, experiences, interests and abilities--and that all of the people admitted under this scenario have the ability to be academically successful at that school--then it's harder to call it "discrimination."
Dumi and Jabari had some interesting challenges to my statement. I'd rather let them voice these in their own words rather than describe them myself. I'm eager to hear and learn from what they have to say in a more nuanced space than Twitter. The comment section is below, brothers.
One more thing, though: This question get to the heart of how I do my job at The Associated Press. My goal is to introduce and explore topics that shed light on race and ethnicity in America. Hopefully I can talk about new things, or new aspects to old things (the Asian admissions story was one of those), or introduce readers to people and places they probably would not have otherwise encountered. I specifically avoid taking sides. That's for columnists. I'm a reporter. So to simply call this Asian admissions situation "discrimination" goes against my AP DNA. I'm not saying I don't have a personal opinion on whether or not it's discrimination--I'm saying that expressing this opinion (even subtly, in a Twitter post) would hinder my goal of bringing various people of various beliefs to the table of contemplation and consultation.
So Dumi and Jabarai: What say y'all?