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Korean American Diaspora Dr. Young Rae Oum Hanyang International Summer School Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US Yen Le Espiritu, Ideological racism and cultural resistance in Asian American Women and Men.

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korean american diaspora

Korean American Diaspora

Dr. Young Rae Oum

Hanyang International Summer School

Session 2

History of Asian Immigration in the US

session 2 history of asian immigration in the us
Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Yen Le Espiritu, Ideological racism and cultural resistance in Asian American Women and Men.

Controlling Images:

  • Cultural symbols and ideas generated by the dominant group to help justify the economic exploitation and and social oppression.
  • Produced and manipulated by various elites who own and control cultural institutions.
  • Naturalize racism, sexism, and poverty by branding subordinate groups as inferior, threatening, or praiseworthy.

Exercise:

What are your images of “Americans”?

Koreans? Korean-Americans?

What are the sources of these images?

session 2 history of asian immigration in the us3
Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Images of Asian (American) women in the US

Sexuality is indissociable from the effects of polarization and differentiation. I.e. Sexuality is always utilized in creating an Other.

Two common images of Asian women:

  • China doll: hyperfeminine, attentive, hypersexual (sexually available)
  • Dragon lady: castrating, violent, dominant
session 2 history of asian immigration in the us6
Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Controlling Images

How can the contradictory images be associated with the same group of women? What is common among the two images?

China Doll/Suzie Wong/Lotus Blossom vs. Dragon Lady

Sexually depraved

Abnormal (What is the norm)?

Exotic

Deviant

The process of creating Other/Self

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Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Controlling Images

Images of Asian (American) men:

Early Asian immigrants (late 19C to early 20C) were mostly males; they were indentured laborers.

At the time, Asian men were supposed to be “hypersexual, sexually aggressive, and dangerous. (“Oriental rapists” were supposed to be predatory, that is, eager to rape white women.)

Over time, the dominant image evolved to the opposite: Asian men are now seen as effeminate, nerdy, asexual, passive, small-framed, weak people.

session 2 history of asian immigration in the us9
Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Controlling Images

A Wartime propaganda material

Titled “How to spot a Jap.” 1942

session 2 history of asian immigration in the us10
Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Controlling Images

“Yellow Peril”

Both Asian American men and women are depicted as masculine, dangerous, threatening, and untrustworthy on the one hand….

“Model Minority”

And on the other hand, both are seen as compliant, passive, meek, docile people.

session 2 history of asian immigration in the us11
Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Controlling Images “Yellow Peril” (coined by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1895)

The Great Duel between Yellow and White”

In this “Great Duel between Yellow and White,” the United States, France, Germany, and England look on as Japan (the emperor in a conspicuously yellow kimono) tries to knock the white Russian polar bear off its legs (labeled Korea and Manchuria). All but invisible is a dagger in the emperor’s hand.

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Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Controlling Images “Yellow Peril”

The idea of “yellow peril” was used to justify xenophobia and the immigration laws that excluded Asians, “unassimilable aliens.”

(also see Mia Tuan, p.42)

“Gook Soldier”

• 1870-1885 Anti-Chinese Movement

• 1880 CA bans marriages with

“Mongolians”

• 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

• 1907 Gentleman’s Agreement

• 1913 CA Alien Land Law

• 1924 Immigration Act

“Dragon lady”

“Coolie”

session 2 history of asian immigration in the us13
Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Controlling Images “Model Minority”

The idea of “model minority” was used to pit minority groups one against another.

“nerd”

“banana”

session 2 history of asian immigration in the us14
Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Controlling Images

Interracial marriages were discouraged and had been illegal in many states up until 1960s.

A white man-Asian woman union has been more accepted; but not as equal partners. Asian women, “sexually available,” became yet another possession of white men.

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Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Interracial Marriages

(Also see Mia Tuan, p. 34)

U.S.-Born or 1.5 Generation: Percentages of the Koreans who are Married to…

Spouse’s Race

Husbands Koreans 63.2

(24,522) Other Asians 9.2

Whites 23.9

Blacks 0.1

Hispanics/Latinos 3.4

Wives Koreans 40.0

(34,464) Other Asians 7.5

Whites 48.0

Blacks 1.4

Hispanics/Latinos 2.5

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Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Problems with White male-Asian female unions

  • Rejection of the race/culture on the part of the Asian women

(Pocahontas mythos, Miss Saigon, Madame Butterfly)

  • Internalized racism (desexualization of Asian men):

“Asian men are boring, ugly, too domineering, traditonal, abusive etc.”

  • Sexualization of white racism
session 2 history of asian immigration in the us18
Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Mia Tuan, Forever Foreigners or Honorary Whites? pp. 1-47

  • Asians are still considered “new immigrants.”
  • Regardless of immigrant generation, always viewed as “foreigners” (Examples)
  • European immigrants have successfully been integrated into the mainstream, and consolidated into “White race.” (Examples)
  • Problems with the “assimilation model.” (E.g. middle class African Americans.)

D’Amato

Ito

session 2 history of asian immigration in the us19
Session 2 History of Asian Immigration in the US

Mia Tuan, Forever Foreigners or Honorary Whites? pp. 1-47

First generation Asian immigrants more optimistic about being “accepted” by whites. Embrace the model minority

Asian Americans tend to see racism as more systemic.

Q: Why the difference?

Ethnic “options” for white people vs. Foreignness of Asians

Why the difference?

Table 2.6 (p.38)

Source of “model minority”?

1960s civil rights movement. Used to defend “white establishment” to African Americans.