Chinese immigration and their challenges have a long history. Most of the Chinese immigrants started making the difficult and costly journey to America in the early 1800’s. The second wave of immigration was between 1949 and 1980s. Another major mass relocation happened after the immigration and nationality act of 1965 (Findley, 1998). However since the Chinese immigrated to USA, they have faced many challenges. One of the major contributing factors to Chinese immigrants suffering in the USA was the lack of prior arrangement for accommodation. This paper seeks to look into these challenges from a historical perspective. We look at Chinese immigrants problems prior to Second World War and post 1965 era. Moreover the paper will also look at difficulties of rising up children in the new country. Lastly the paper will ascertain how parents and children deal with these difficulties in order to achieve socioeconomic success.
The Chinese immigrants in United States have faced many challenges even after the passing of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. The act introduced a new era of immigration. The new immigrants arrived in the United States mostly in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of the Chinese who came to America were poverty stricken villagers. These Chinese immigrants have faced opposition due to their cultural orientation. The Chinese immigrants also found it difficult to get jobs. This is made worse by the fact one must be proficient in English language for them to get jobs in America. The sad truth is that Chinese immigrants never knew how to write and speak fluent English (Liu, 2005).
The Chinese immigrants also faced discrimination from their employers. The Native Americans were often paid more wages compared to their Chinese colleagues. The Chinese workers were not given job promotions at the same rate as the Native Americans. More promotions went to Americans.
The Chinese immigrants have also faced challenges in regard to their culture. An example of such a conflict is in matters of living together with parents. In the American culture, children are always allowed to enjoy a lot of independence and freedom. The American parents leave the children to decide many things for themselves. The children leave their parents at a tender age to depend on themselves. In contrast, the Chinese children stay with their parents for a longer time. Parents determine many things for their children. The Chinese children are not free to do all they will to. Another challenge in culture is that Americans value individualism. On the other hand the Chinese culture discourages individualism and promotes communism. Trying to adjust to such cultures has been quite challenging to the Chinese immigrants (Min, 1998).
Another problem facing the Chinese immigrants in post 1965 era was increased criminal involvement of their youths. This can be said to have resulted from increased unemployment rate among these youths. This increase was fueled by the fact that many new immigrants did not understand English language. Many well paying jobs in America require the employees to be proficient in English language. This era has also been associated with illegal immigration from China. The illegal immigrants are always on the watch out for police officers and, therefore, rarely concentrate on their jobs (Findley, 1998).
The Chinese immigrants still face racial segregation. The Chinese are treated as second class citizens in America, even those who were born there. The standards of living of Chinese immigrants are lower than that of the European Americans. Many of the Chinese immigrants live in overcrowded buildings. Some of those buildings are poorly constructed. They are either too cold or hot and lack exits in case of fires (Findley, 1998). In the 1960s the Chinatowns were very insecure. This was because of the frequent conflicts between new immigrants and American born Chinese youths. There was hatred between these two groups which always resulted into wars. The new Chinese immigrants felt like their American born countrymen were more privileged and spoiled. This is because they had good command of English language and also excelled in school. Most of the newly arrived immigrants were underprivileged and most of them dropped out of school.
Many societal differences have been noticed among the Chinese immigrants. This was common prior to the Second World War and even in the contemporary period. Before the Chinese exclusion law in 1882 the Chinese were found almost everywhere. The Chinese were then locked out of many jobs after the law. The immigrant businesses which were seen to be competing with the white’s were also forced to close down. After the second world war the Chinese immigrants were then absorbed in almost all the branches of the police service. The exclusion laws were so tough. Chinese immigrants were not allowed to live in the whites’ cities and estates e.g. New York, Boston and Chicago. After Second World War they were allowed (Lee, 2002).
The Chinese immigrants were only allowed to acquire citizenship after the Second World War. Initially they were denied this right. Before the Second World War, the dominant religions were traditional in nature. Today there are almost all major religions in the American Chinese regions. These include Buddhist, Muslim, Christianity and Confucianists. Due to the inherent racial segregation policies in USA, there were no intermarriages between the Chinese immigrants and the whites. Today intermarriage between the races has become more common (Min, 2009). However the racial conflicts between the Americans and Chinese immigrants still exist. The immigrants are seen as second class citizens by many whites. Stereotyping and prejudice of Chinese immigrants is deeply entrenched in the European Americans.
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Parenting has been a major challenge among the Chinese immigrants. The immigrant parents desire that their children learn up to the highest institution of the land. Furthermore they want their children to have the highest level of occupational achievement. The Chinese immigrant parents believe that education can help lift their families to middle class levels. However, many of them lack funds to take their children to well performing schools. The Chinese immigrant parents are also faced with a new challenge. This is the emergence of a unique generation of children. These children have had contact with European American children that have affected them. They have borrowed a lot of habits from the Americans. This makes the Chinese parents sad and worried. Furthermore, the world has changed and what used to be taken as norms are now not allowed. A good example is canning which has become illegal (Nakano, 2002).
The children, on the other hand, have their own challenges. They are under pressure by their parents to perform excellently in academics. In addition they find themselves surrounded by two different socio-cultural worlds. On one hand they are being lured by the lifestyle of American children. On the other hand, these are the archaic rules of parents and their pressure to perform well in school (Nakano, 2002).
The parents and children alike have found ways of dealing with their problems. The parents for example work very hard to get money to educate their children. Moreover they save money to educate their children. Some parents also hire private tutors for their children. They also encourage their children to work hard. The Chinese immigrant students on the other hand work very hard and pose good academic results. The children also ensure that they are disciplined (Min, 2009).