The earliest form of racial discrimination against Asian Americans was encountered during the California Gold Rush. The Gold Rush attracted Chinese immigrants who came to California to fill the high demand for laborers. However, as more and more Chinese immigrated to California and the lower-paying labor jobs were filled, the Chinese began filling higher-paying positions typically held by Whites. As a result, an anti-Chinese Movement was formed followed by the enactment of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which prevented any additional Chinese immigration into the United States. Essentially, Chinese were discriminated against by the Whites due to fear of the Chinese taking over their jobs. After World War II, the federal government ended the 1882 ban on Chinese immigration and gave citizenship to Chinese Americans born abroad (Charles and Guryan 507).
In relation to workplace discrimination, wages rank among the issues that affect working Asian-Americans. According to ChangHwan Kim and Author Sakamoto, Asian Americans earn 8% lower wages compared to their White counterparts. Furthermore, they also found out that education did not significantly improve the wage earning situation for Asian Americans. Asian American males with college degrees still earn a lower wage compared to a White male with a similar level of education. Although the 8% difference may not seem to be much, it is a clear indication that racial discrimination for Asian Americans still exists through wage rates (Charles and Guryan 509).
Debate on whether Asians are subjected to workplace discrimination based on their race has been raging on for years. The research findings on this issue have been varied. For instance, Cabezas and Kawaguchi (1988) showed that foreign-born and US-born men of Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese origins earned less than U.S-born White men. A population survey conducted in the 1990s revealed that Asians earned less than the Whites did. Although these findings did not provide evidence that Asians were subjected to low wages because of their race, it was clear that foreign-born Asian men faced wage discrimination. While U.S-born Asians may not suffer from wage discrimination, they are subjected to a “glass ceiling” with regard to their earnings when compared to white men, meaning that they would eventually reach a point beyond which the potential for increased earnings disappeared. Even when Asians and Whites had similar educational qualifications, Asian men were reported to earn less than white men.
According to research findings, if the reward systems for Asians were same as for Whites, Asians would earn more than their current pay. Without discrimination, Asians would earn wages more or less similar to those of White workers. Just like the native-born workers, foreign-born Asians would earn approximately 23% more than they currently earn if employers treated them like White workers (Blank 76). Because workplaces treat Asians and Whites...