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Second Generation From A Chinese Point Of View

1393 words - 6 pages

Immigration is the arrival of new individuals into a new environment or population. Immigration is a process that happens every day, but there is a side effect of immigration that is observed between the parents (first generation) and their children (second generation). In history, during the nineteenth century, Chinese travel to America for financial solutions, with hopes to return to their home with money. As time moves ahead, Chinese immigrants to America searching for a better life, for instance, my parents immigrated to America, who then conceived us as the second generation. With pressure from the parents, children of the second generation were forced to perfect both the American and ...view middle of the document...

According to Robert Eric Barde, the first major law to restrict immigration to the United States was passed in 1882, called the Chinese Exclusion Act that excluded immigrants of specific ethnic group from those who are trying to enter (120). Under this act, only Chinese merchants, diplomats, tourists, students, teachers, and relatives of those already here could enter the United States. When the Chinese Exclusion Act took effect, over half of the Chinese in America decided to return to China with what they gained. After the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Hawaiian planters went to Japan to hire more workers for their fields. The racism towards Asians caused the government of America to try to limit the immigration of Japanese, but the government couldn’t just pass a law to do that because the Japanese had made weapons that can almost win any war with any country if needed. To make everyone happy, the two governments of Japan and the United States made an informal agreement called the “Gentleman’s Agreement” (100). The Gentleman’s Agreement was created to stop Japanese from coming to the United States in order to allow Japanese students to attend public schools in America. Throughout history, racism was big factor of the immigration process.
Unfortunately, American society did not consider second-generation Chinese Americans as one of their own. Even though they knew English and had American thoughts, and attitudes, they still had a physical Chinese appearance. The American society rejected the second generation Chinese Americans’ chances for better jobs and social status because they did not look "American". The Chinese immigrants did not fully embrace these second-generation Chinese into the Chinese community either because they were not actual Chinese to them. The Chinese immigrants called them "jook-sing" or “ABC” because they were not accepted on either side. Most of the second-generation Chinese Americans felt isolated and alone, as if they were stuck on a deserted island between the two countries of China and the United States. With two cultures, the children often have a duel identity when facing society.
In the article, “Legacies,” by Alejandro Portes and Ruben G. Rumbaut, who discovered that the second generation are tending to be young and growing up as an American, are changing. It’s true that “descendants” of first generation are getting much younger than before, but “the process of ‘growing up American’” with parents who are immigrant wasn’t easy at all. They also wrote, “The experiences of adult immigrants are important for the future of these ethnicities, but even more decisive is the fate of their children” (183), it has an immense impact of the way how the children think and behave. My parents were the first generation who immigrated to America from China. Both my parents told me stories of their immigration process. My father would tell us about how living in China is more difficult than the life we are living in America. He knew...

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