One Immigrant Story: Becoming the Wrong Kind of Doctor
A famous immigrant stereotype is the Indian doctor. Doctor usually means medical physician, not 18th century French historian.
The Guardian has a feature: how did you get here? Recognizing that the 11% of Americans who are foreign born have unique and interesting backgrounds and stories of how they came to the United States, the site’s feature allows individuals to share their unique stories.
Mita Choudhury’s parents left India for London in 1961. Her parents would not have been able to immigrate to the United States in 1965 because of the Reed-Johnson Act (Asian Exclusion Act), which had effectively banned immigration from Asian countries in 1924. They arrived in the United States in 1970, which would make them part of the first wave of Indian immigrants after the Asian Exclusion Act was superseded.
Dr. Choudhury ends her piece by writing:
I make the 18th century my home. In theory, 18th century society had no place for someone like me except to be gazed upon as an exotic other.
Nevertheless, the same period also fostered a spirit of critical inquiry that demanded you interrogate your own society like an outsider. It rejected the boundaries that undermined individual dignity and common humanity.
The education I received and work to pass on to students upholds these values, which are also the core principles of the US, a country established in the 18th century. Now I must ask: are these principles being compromised by a fearful nationalism that discourages outsiders with its angry rhetoric of borders and walls?
Immigrants and American Fashion
Some of the most popular American fashion icons – Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Ralph Lauren – were children of immigrants from Eastern Europe whose parents worked in New York City’s garment industry. Calvin Klein, DKNY, and Ralph Lauren are among the most recognizable global clothing brands. Levi Strauss, founder of Levi’s and blue jeans, was an immigrant from Germany. Levi’s, of course, popularized the iconic blue jeans, which are synonymous with American.
The fashion baton has been passed onto Asian-Americans and Asian immigrants. This Fusion article showcases the creativity and innovations of Asian Americans and Latino Americans who are becoming the icons of fashion.
Amazing Immigration Graphics: Immigration to the United States 1820-1913
Immigration in the United States can be broken into historical periods. The country was founded upon immigration from Western European countries. Mid 19th century immigration included Southern and Eastern Europeans and some Asian countries. Early in the 20th century, on the strength of the eugenics movements, restrictions were placed on African immigration and Asian immigration was banned.
Here is a link containing an amazing video of the source of immigration to the United States from 1820-1913. There are also two graphs with bright colors to demonstrate the flow and percentage by country.
“Max Galka of the Metrocosm blog took all the data from 1820 to 2013 and created this animated graphic, using different colors for each country as well as brightness to illustrate the total migration at any given time. The brighter the color, the more immigrants.”
Happy Chinese New Year!
Welcome to the Year of the Monkey!
Chinese New Year celebrations kick off today! The holiday is sacredly celebrated in China, and it is also well represented in the United States. Many cities are celebrating China’s most important holiday. The National Basketball Association is also celebrating.
The holiday has both mythical and historical origins. The historical origins are agricultural and the mythical origins relate to a village fighting a dragon. The dragon is a staple of Chinese New Year celebrations. There are 12 animals for the 12 years in a cycle, and each year ushers in the year of that animal. This new year celebrates the Year of the Monkey.
Chinese immigration to the United States has a rich historical tradition. Unfortunately, it is also laden with some of the most unfortunate decisions in immigration law history. Many laborers on the transcontinental railroad came from China and settled throughout the country in the 19th century. Enclaves of Chinese settlements formed, but fears of their immigration provoked Congress to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The law forbid Chinese immigration to the United States. Subsequent Supreme Court cases stripped Chinese Americans of their rights to travel and be American, even going so far as to revoke citizenship and preventing Chinese Americans from returning to the United States.