Chinese Immigrants Of The Past And Present

1663 words - 7 pages

Chinese immigrants to the United States of America have experienced both setbacks and triumphs in the quest to seek a better life from themselves and their families. First arriving in America in the mid-1800s to seek jobs and escape poor conditions in their home country, the Chinese found work as labors and settled in areas known as Chinatowns (Takaki 181-183). In the early years, these immigrants experienced vast legal racism and sexism as women were forbidden to enter the country and the Chinese Exclusion Act prevented laborers from entering the country for years (Takaki 184-192). Today, the modern Chinese-American experience has changed from the experience of early Chinese immigrants. Many immigrants enter the country seeking better education as well employment (Yung, Chang, and Lai 244). Immigrant women have made great strides in achieving equality to men. Despite advancements, many immigrants still experience discrimination on some level. One example of a modern Chinese immigrant is “Ruby”, a college student who, with her parents, immigrated from Hong Kong to a suburb of Providence, Rhode Island, 7 years ago. Ruby’s story shares insight on the modern Chinese-American experience and the struggles this group still faces. Chinese immigrants have long maintained a presence in the United States, and despite many struggles, have eventually began to reap the benefits of this great nation.
While modern Chinese immigrants come to the United States seeking jobs as did their predecessors, new motivations have drawn families to the country. In the mid-1800s large numbers of Chinese people began to arrive in America. These immigrants were driven from their homeland by the opium wars, British colonization, peasant rebellion, floods, and an ailing economy (Takaki 178). Most of the immigrants were men who sought to benefit from the California Gold Rush but who later took jobs working on the Central Pacific Railroad or in agriculture (Takaki 181-183). While many modern immigrants also come to the United States seeking work, education is also an important factor for coming to this country. Ruby’s family experienced a combination of these values as their motivation for coming to this country. Her father came to the United States first in order to establish himself. He had a job waiting for him at a Chinese restaurant owned by a friend. Later, Ruby and her mom came to the United States to join him and her mom got a job in a Japanese sushi restaurant. Her parents have described their new life in America regarding their jobs as “more stable here” (Wong). One main reason they came to this country is they were seeking a better educational experience for their young daughter. According to Ruby, “In Hong Kong, there are very few colleges so only the best of the best get to go to college. There was possibility that I would have gotten into a college, but coming to America guarantees a college education” (Wong). Despite the fact that her parents were unable to pursue...

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