Do You Really Love Chinese Food? (Part 2)

Do You Really Love Chinese Food? (Part 2)


Last time, I talked about how America only welcomes the "sweet deal" among immigrants. This week, I'll show you how this is the case.

Ever since the 1960s, Asian Americans, the “model minority”, have represented such a sweet deal that Americans prefer. As Keith Osajima, the professor and director of the Race and Ethnic Studies program at the University of Redlands pointed out, around the 1960s, Asian Americans were praised as the hard-working, responsible, and rule-abiding ethnic group, elevated from other more “troublesome” ethnic groups, like African Americans. This step was more purposeful than coincidental.

Asian Americans were not always the “model minority.” However, when America recognized them as the “model minority”, this minority group started to exceed the other minority groups. They are awarded better education and employment compared with other ethnic groups.

America is essentially using Asian Americans to show other minorities how minority groups should properly behave – politically silent and ethnically assimilated, as summarized by Robert G. Lee, an associate professor of American Studies at Brown University. If other minorities can behave as “graciously” as Asian Americans, if other minorities can assimilate as well as Asian Americans, they can be successful as well. The point is: Americans privilege assimilation instead of, as most of them, claimed – diversity of immigrants.

Even though Asian Americans are seemingly thriving in America, they are still discriminated against. Research has shown that even though Asians generally have higher education and are better paid, they are still paid less than their nonminority similarly qualified counterparts.

If America is really the land of opportunities and if America really welcomes immigrants as they claim, why discriminate against the “model minority” in the workplace? Why even bother naming them the “successful model minority”? Because America only wants immigrants to serve, but not gaining real power in the society.

Americans want immigrants to assimilate so that things are easier and American values, instead of other cultural values, will be endorsed. If one minority group is awarded for more successful assimilation, others will be likely to follow the lead because everyone wants to survive and thrive. At the same time, situations for not well-assimilated immigrants are much worse.

For instance, Hispanic immigrants, generally seen as resistant towards American culture, have significantly lower socioeconomic status, and the more recent immigrants among them (i.e., less assimilated) have lower occupation status than others. Yes, America wants hardworking immigrants, but it does not necessarily welcome cultures different from its own.

Now, one may question, how exactly does America promote assimilation?

After all, setting a model does not necessarily force one to change. It starts from language, the manifestation and the culture itself. It is essential for cultural identity, especially for immigrants who are situated in a different language environment. Their languages may be the last thing connecting them to their cultures.

If America truly welcomes immigrants with their unique cultural backgrounds, immigrants should be allowed to keep their cultural identity (i.e., at least speak in their mother tongues).

However, this does not seem to be the case. Kari Gibson, a legal fellow at Public Law Center, summarized twenty-one cases in which the employers are forced to speak only English at their workplace. He also included judicial opinions at state or federal levels. The general settlements were upholding the English Only Policies.

However, the fact that these policies existed and were executed until courts intervened showed Americans’ unwelcoming attitudes towards immigrants’ cultures. The employers may need to speak to their employees in English for convenience because they can only speak English. Yet, it is unnecessary to require the employers to only use English in the workplace and even punish them for using their native languages.

In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court still has not given explicit opinions on English Only Policies, and lower federal courts also have not widely accepted the unlawfulness of such policies. Such silence says America’s systematic encouragement of assimilation at a policy-making level.

A similar story happened in the education system as well. Of course, teaching immigrant children English is important for them to live in America, where English is the common language. However, proper education should respect immigrants’ cultures as well, instead of imposing English-Only policies.

During the nineties, the English-Only Movement started in California and swept through the rest of America. Supporters of this movement argued that immigrant children should be taught in English-only environments, otherwise (1) existence of other language speakers can threaten the unity of America (i.e., similar to Canada where French and English are both official languages because of Quebec), (2) these children will not actively learn English, and (3) they will suffer in terms of education and social integration. It sounds like this English Only Movement has the welfare of immigrants at heart and tries to help immigrants succeed.

However, the research done by Amado M. Padilla, professor of psychological studies at Stanford University, has debunked all these claims, indicating that English Only Movement cannot be justified.

The minority groups in America, with histories different from Quebec residents, are in a subordinate position. Thus, they feel compelled to learn English quickly and are ashamed for being unable to speak English.

Even the Spanish speakers, who are perceived as the most resistant immigrant group, generally shift to speaking English within one or two generations. Also, English immersion education programs actually lead to lower achievement in life, while Bilingual education programs can improve cognitive performance and psychological developments.

All the “advantages” of the English-Only movement are in fact invalid. Yet, 28 out of 50 states in the US still have English-Only policies. The purpose of these policies is obvious – make everyone speak American English regardless of their backgrounds. In other words, the true reason behind this movement is to assimilate immigrants and their descendants so that everything is easily digestible for America.

Of course, systematic public policies are not the only way in which immigrants were pushed to assimilate. Come back next week to see how pop culture undeniably played an important role in the process as well.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Why The Walk Out Was Necessary For The Gun Control Conversation

The kids are our future and they're making sure we know it.

If you haven't heard about the March 14th Walk Out protest that took place in high schools all across the country, you may be living under a rock. The protest was posted all over social media and shared hundreds of times by passionate students in high schools from coast to coast. It was truly a movement and, like all movements before it, caused a lot of conversation and controversy amongst political parties, parents and really anyone who heard about it.

The Walk Out was organized by the organizers of the Women's March to push for gun reform and to honor students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school; the school where a month before, 17 students and faculty members were killed in cold blood by a shooter. Since that event the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas spoke on national television in front of their peers and superiors alike, begging for stricter gun laws and citing the deaths of their friends and teachers as the reason why. Those senseless deaths deserved not to be in vain. On March 14th, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas walked out of their classes for 17 minutes - in honor of the 17 lives lost that day and to shout their message of stricter gun control loud and clear. These students were not the only ones who did so; thanks to social media, the Walk Out was shared on all platforms and students across the country united with their peers to honor the victims and ask that something be done to prevent more senseless acts of violence in our nation's schools. Despite being something these students felt strongly about, their act was the topic of much controversy in America; the topic of gun control is an incredibly divisive and partisan issue, and these students made sure it was clear what side they were on.

For one teacher in Oak Hall, Virginia, this Walk Out was not the answer. Many people were against the idea, claiming that students were only using it as an excuse to get out of class or to draw attention to themselves rather than the issue it was protesting. This sixth-grade teacher's counter to the movement quickly went viral, prompting more conversation and argument.

At first glance, the message is obvious and innocuous; it's blatantly clear that many of the perpetrators of school shootings in the past have cited mental illness or bullying as the reason they felt compelled to do what they did. The purpose behind the Walk Up Not Out campaign is to fix that, to spread kindness in our schools and hopefully derail a plan of mass murder by inviting someone to sit at your lunch table. It's not a revolutionary idea.

The problem with this campaign becomes clearer the longer you think about it. It is, in essence, victim shaming. By telling students that "just be[ing] nice" is all they need to do, the message of these killings being the students' fault that people feel the need to shoot up schools comes out pretty clearly. Even if this was not the intention of this counter-campaign, that is what is has become.

As a person who has grown up with and around mental illness, and has been in a high school where I saw and have firsthand experience with kids not being so nice to each other, I have never felt the need to grab a gun and take it with me to exact revenge on my peers. I know plenty of people that I went to high school with and connected with later who were bullied, by definition, who ate lunch alone, who never had partners for projects... None of these people ever thought that murdering their classmates was an answer to their problems. While it does seem like a cop out when these cases come to light, the underlying factor of extreme mental illness can not be smiled away. A person who feels the need to kill people is not going to lose that need by eating lunch with other students.

This epidemic of school shootings needs to come to an end. All of the students who walked out of their classrooms in protest of senseless violence, all of the students who are scared to go to school because what if they're next?, and all of the parents who now have to worry that maybe their child won't come home from somewhere they're supposed to be safe know this. Stricter gun control is a huge issue, one that will not be solved easily, but the conversation has to start somewhere. These students are our future, they will be voting in the next election, they will be voting at their state and local levels; these students have something to say and a whole lot of fire behind it.

Walk Up Not Out may very well have been started solely to undermine these students, but it is not a lost cause. These students are walking up to each other every day, talking about their futures and what they can do to ensure they see them. These students are walking up to the voting podiums, making choices to make sure they have the representation that will most showcase their ideals. These students are walking out of their classes to make sure their voices are heard, but they are walking up every day, to make their voices mean something.

Regardless of if you are for or against gun control, it is hard to argue that these students are not making a difference. They are starting the conversation and fighting for their own peace of mind. The kids are our future, and they're making sure we know it.

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The Gun Violence Epidemic In The U.S. Is Out Of Control And It Is Time We Make A Change

Many other countries have much stricter gun control and it is time the U.S. took notice.

It is a sad truth that gun violence in America has become a norm. While the issue is brought up in politics, regulations and laws tend to focus on mental health, arming others with guns, and pretty much anything but actual gun control. Nevertheless, according to The Guardian, there have been 1,624 mass shootings in 1,870 days in the U.S. This means about nine out of every ten days on average there has been a mass shooting.

A mass shooting is most often defined as an event when four or more people are shot during a single incident. In 2017 alone, there were 345 mass shootings, and as of February 21, there have been 34 in 2018. In two months, 34 mass shootings have occurred and the U.S. is no closer to stopping that number from rising. To compare, many other countries have much stricter gun control and it is time the U.S. took notice.

In Britain on August 20, 1987, the Hungerford gun massacre occurred when a lone gunman killed 16 people and then himself. The shooter, Michael Ryan, had a handgun and two semi-automatic rifles. After Hungerford, Britain cracked down and banned the right to own semi-automatic firearms, pump action weapons, and registration became mandatory. Nine years later, another mass shooting occurred with handguns. This led to the eventual banning of all cartridge ammunition handguns.

In Japan, there is a 1958 law on the possession of swords and firearms. It states no one shall possess a firearm or firearms except a shotgun, but still with high regulation. Prospective shotgun owners must attend and pass classes, writing and practical exams, psychological assessments, and extensive background checks.

In Australia, after a mass shooting resulting in 35 deaths by one gunman, gun control regulations swept the political scene. Part of the gun reform included a national gun buyback policy for all weapons that did not comply with the new licensing and registration system (automatic and semi-automatic rifles), which led to the buyback and melting down of more than 650,000 firearms in Australia.

In the countries that have suffered tragic gun violence and implemented gun control regulations, gun violence has shrunk considerably, especially in comparison to the U.S. It is estimated that Americans own 48% of the estimated 650 million civilian-owned guns worldwide. This news should be eye-opening, but it is common knowledge that of the high income and highly-developed nations, the U.S. having some of the worst rates of gun violence and gun-ownership is not surprising.

In the wake of the Parkland, FL Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in which tragically 17 people were shot and killed by an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, the students involved have brought about the #NeverAgain movement. The movement advocated for tighter gun regulations to prevent these kinds of tragic mass shootings and gun violence. This movement and many others like it that came before are vital to promoting the needed change in the U.S.
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