Tuesday, August 19, 2014

American Born Chinese Essay

American Born Chinese is a book I have just read and I liked it a lot.

The book tells three parallel stories. One about a Chinese immigrant in America, another about an American boy who is visited on holiday by his cousin. The two stories are supplemented by recreating the legend of the Monkey King.

In a story, the character Jin Wang, who came from China to live in the United States, is experiencing a period of adaptation to the new reality, as the countries are of the two very different cultures. He lives in isolation and is subjected to ignorance, even being rejected by her schoolmates, notably by Peter Garbinsky due to attitudes of prejudice against the culture of the country from which immigrated. 

After some time, a teenager, falls in love with Amelia Harris. To get her to feel something for him, he changes his behavior and his appearance by adjusting the haircut. 

Wei-Chen helps her do her homework. Later Jin manages to convince her to go out together, to the movies, but nothing happens at the meeting.

After some adventures, one night going to sleep, he asks to become an American type. The next morning, the desire was fulfilled, getting the new name of Danny.

In another story from the book, the American student receives a visit from cousin Chin-Kee, who represents the worst of stereotypes of Chinese people. Every year, the visit of Chin-Kee cause embarrassment to Danny.

And to tie these two narratives, the author reinvents an ancient Chinese legend: in the hands of Gene Luen Yang, the traditional story of the Monkey King who, when rejected by the gods, decides to renege nature itself and become a man.

The story begins when the Monkey King was rejected on the feast of the gods, so he beat them all and then returned enraged to his home in the "Mountain of Flowers and Fruits". The next day, he made ​​a law that all monkeys had to wear shoes and he was on his own training to have all four major disciplines of invulnerability and the four major disciplines of physical form. When he left, he was convicted of invading the sky and was sentenced to the death penalty, but as he had already achieved major powers of Kung Fu, he changed his name to The Great Sage. He went to everyone who sentenced him to beat them, so they called Tze-Yo-Tzuh to contain the monkey king. The king was challenging him, but always lost until Tze imprison the king of low stones.

Wong-Lai-Tsao was a monk who was chosen to go to the king, with three disciples. Upon arriving to the king they were arguing because the king could not leave the lot, then came two demons and seriously injured a monk. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Injustice of the Chinese Exclusion Act Essay

In the mid-19th century, the Chinese joined other nations in migrating to America in search of gold. 

However, the gold rush season was short-lived and they started looking for other things to do. Therefore, most of them joined the local workforces and sought for a livelihood like everyone else. Soon, there were many Chinese moving to the country in search of employment. Their increasing presence in the country did not go unnoticed. It was then that a lawyer named H. N. Clement went before a senate committee and announced the evil invasion from the Chinese people. Soon, an investigation began with a calculated intention of portraying the Chinese people negatively to the public. The hatred that they intended caught on fast. In 1882, congress made it into law that all Chinese laborers seeking citizenship by naturalization were barred from the country for ten years. The exclusion however did not apply to students, teachers, travellers, and diplomats. This law became the legal means by which Chinese were barred from migrating or becoming citizens in the US. This law was one of the most unjust laws ever passed in the US, and it had numerous negative consequences.

Looking back in the history of America, it is almost impossible to believe that a law like the Chinese exclusion Act ever existed. However, the evidence of the far-reaching effects of this law is still evident to date. This law was the first of its kind to impose immigration restriction based on race and class. In addition to the suffering and persecution that the Chinese faced before the passing of the law, they faced close to six decades of immigration restriction. The effects of the restrictions also started being felt by other immigrant groups. Due to the success of the law, there was a major shift in the design of the American law towards immigration in general. The exclusion law set precedents in various aspects such as naturalization, documentation, surveillance, and deportation of immigrants. The law changed the American immigration policy to date.

The gatekeeping policy
The use of the term gatekeeping in discourse relating to immigration issue is not new. However, people do not take time to consider the source of this term. There is clear indication that the gatekeeping tradition in American started with the Exclusion Act. Before the closing of the borders to the Chinese, there had been talk of closing the ‘American Gates’ to outsiders. The first of these people became the Chinese. To justify their actions, the idea of exclusion was built on racial prejudice. The Chinese were considered to be inferior due to their culture, labor, gender and relations. Closing the border offered the chance to protect the country from further intrusion by dangerous immigrants. The lawmakers felt that it was within their rights to close their borders to any nation or race they so wished. The racial connotations hidden in law were made clear when Clement, the lawyer pushing the exclusion, declared that America as a nation had the right to declare to the half-civilized Asian subjects not to come. Such a statement is not information founded on concern but rather hatred and disregard for a given race. If a lawyer like clement would use such strong racial language, then was no justice that could be found in passing such laws. That was basis upon which the Supreme Court described the multitude of Chinese people coming to the US as a hoard of dangerous people capable of threatening the country’s peace and security. These were the words that the nation’s highest court used in passing the Exclusion Act.

The racial prejudice against Chinese was now strongly founded on federal law. The basis was the protection of national sovereignty from ruin by a dangerous race. Since that time, the laws of immigration are created based on race, ethnicity, gender, morality, health, political affiliation among other issues. Depending on the period, all these reason have been used as the basis for excluding immigrants from the country. They have even been used in work places to keep immigrants from competing with white workers. That also meant that immigrants were monitored closely for diseases, and moral issues. Laws relating to morality described people with certain moral issue as having constitutional psychopathic inferiority. The fact that racial exclusions were founded on law, gave America the legal framework to close out certain groups of immigrants. This position is a sharp contrast to the popular view of America as a nation built by immigrants. The feeling that it is a land of promise for immigrants from many other nations lacks a basis in this case. The law and specifically the Exclusion Act institutionalized racism. That is why to date, Asian immigrants tell their story based on the limiting American democracy. The gates against immigrants established in 1882 were later extended to other immigrant groups in varying degrees.

The Establishment of Legal Racism
The exclusion of the Chinese people from immigrating to the US created an avenue through which other immigrants could also be restricted. After the Exclusion Act was passed, the call to keep other groups away from the country soon followed. A good example was the call to bar contract workers from other nations from coming to the country. The Exclusion Act was just the beginning of many other such acts that followed soon after. The Foran Act of 1885, for example bared any immigrant contract workers from coming into the country. The Page Act of 1875 bared women perceived to be immoral. Later, in 1903, the Immigration Act barred all prostitutes from moving into the country. The means of establishing this was by barring any unaccompanied woman of any age from admission into the country. The nativity rhetoric was used to create most of these laws. For example, there were claims that immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe had higher birth rates than the natives. Based on this, allowing more immigrants from this region was viewed as race suicide towards Anglo-Americans. The exclusion of Chinese became the basis of measuring how acceptable an immigrant group was. That meant that the Chinese was the worst group there could be among all other immigrant races. Among all the other issues used to bar immigrants from the country, race has played the biggest role to date.

Immigrants from Europe were also barred to a certain degree, although their whiteness made them acceptable. Other races such as Italians were described as ‘guinea’ and immigrants from Slovakia ‘hunky’. The Asian or Mexican races were the most racialized based on their yellowness. In the case of African American’s, though considered the most inferior, they could not be returned to Africa. They were brought in as slaves and they had to be kept as such. That is one reason why the Jim Crow and Segregation laws were established to ensure the African Americans were kept where they belonged. The Chinese were viewed as a complete opposite of Americans. It was not uncommon to compare Asians to the blacks.

It is still hard for historians of American immigration to compare Asian experiences to the European experiences. The Exclusion of Chinese was the beginning of tougher laws and negative attitudes directed towards other Asian groups. After the passage of the Exclusion Act, Americans from many parts of the country became increasingly concerned about other Asian groups coming into the country. They called the government to protect their country and keep it for the white natives. For example, there was increased fear of the Japanese immigrants since they were quite successful and hard working. Unlike the Chinese, they started families, settled, and developed fast. This only renewed the fear that the Chinese had raised before them. It was only a matter of time before restrictions against them would be instituted. Headlines in newspapers across the country announced that a new wave of Asian immigrants was taking the place of the Chinese before them. The descriptions given about the Japanese made them appear even more dangerous than the Chinese. They were seen as unscrupulous, tricky, aggressive, and even warlike. These descriptions were similar to those given to the Chinese only a few years before. It was not hard to tell what these views would result into in the near future. One of the charismatic leaders of the white workmen, Denis Kearney, claimed that the Japanese were flocking the country in their numbers to take up the gaps created by the Chinese. He claimed that it was time to declare that the Japanese must go. At the time, it was common for politicians to run for elective positions under the slogans of Asian exclusion. Ironically, the slogans they had used to declare the Chinese a threat now changed to accommodate the new Japanese threat. They now called for the exclusion of the Asians. For example, a group that initially called itself Japanese-Korean Exclusion League changed its name to the Asian Exclusion League. The restructuring was for purposes of fighting a new threat creeping into the country.

The Hindus were soon enjoined to the group of those who should be expelled from the country. They were described as the worst type of immigrant groups. There were even worse descriptions such as emaciated, sickly, cheap, dirty, and diseased. Those who pushed for their exclusion claimed that such people had no right whatsoever to become citizens. Another group that soon became the target of the exclusionists was the Mexicans. Also seen as racial inferiors, many felt that they would soon replace white farm laborers. It is easy to see how all these racial prejudices relate back to the Chinese exclusion. The exclusion Act laid the ground for injustice, hatred, and disregard of other races. Although the white supremacists were also immigrants from Europe, they felt that they owned the rights of nativity. Allowing other races that were inferior to infiltrate the country was exposing the white race to pollution. It is now clear that the Exclusion Act is one of the most unjust laws ever made in the United States.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Essay on Should We Be Happy with What we Have

Should we be happy with what we have? It is a very common but not less actual question. I would like to present a few arguments to support this sentence.

Excessive possession and consumption of material benefits harms to the improvement of our soul. 
Gluttony, self-seeking, money-grubbing are manifestations of our lower nature, leading to the poverty of our soul. Luxury is an ugliness created by irrepressible selfishness and indulgences to own weaknesses. Spiritual emptiness man tries to fill with material benefits and amenities, seeking external pleasures.

When wanting more, we overload ourselves with useless, unnecessary things.
It is necessary to distinguish between something we really need (livelihoods) and the things that are not important for our life. All things in large quantities become redundant.

In life there are things necessary, without them it is difficult to live, and the things that we constantly need. 

And there are some things superfluous, without which a person can easily manage and live, without even noticing.

Compare bread, candy, chewing gum, knife, dish, cup of coffee; paper, toy, pencil sharpener; bed and carpet; apartment and garage.

Must be able to be happy with what we have.
It is easier to be satisfied with a little than to pursue more. Increased demands do not lead to good, they are pushing for action in the name of selfish desires and counter environmental resistance develops and tempers overly negative characteristics and traits of the person. We have to be able to restrain ourselves, and not to indulge ourselves. People often want to think about something they do not have. They feel that they miss something, they can not calm down, all the time they want some more.

We have to learn to appreciate what we have now, and think less about what we do not. If you think that you do not have much, it is useful to think about how homeless people, who live in basements, in the cold and hunger. Then you will understand who is really in need, and will be able to tell the real need from apparent.

A certain shortage is good for our soul. Lack of knowledge and the mind is worse than a lack of money.
Our lives have meaning, if we are able to be happy with what we have. We often imagine ourselves in other circumstances and in another place, compare our live with that of another person, do not notice the good things that we have in our lives and start to think that it has no meaning. We has only to look at our life from a different angle, and it seems quite different - bright, colorful and joyful. The only question is whether we are able to consider. Think about the words of a wise man: "Two women looked through the prison window. 

One saw mud, the other stars. "But the choice is always up to us - to see in this life meaningless dirt or admire the stars!

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