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Filipino Immigration and Racism

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Discuss the different waves of The Filipino Americans immigration to the US as well as their contribution. In what ways are the experiences of the Filipino different and similar to that of other Asian Americans? Show that you are familiar with the information from the text in your answer.

Coming from a country of seven thousand plus islands and a culture where "Ð'...women were considered equal to men,"(1) according to Linda A. Revilla in her article entitled, "Filipino Americans: Historical Review," Filipino Americans have presently become the second largest immigrant group to enter the US annually. The Spanish colonization of the islands now known as the Philippines, started in 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan set foot on soil and claimed the land for Spain. The Spaniards succeed in the colonization of the Philippines in many ways. Catholicism was integrated into the lives of the majority of the population. A strong education system was also established in the Philippines. Most vital to the economy of Spain may have been the use of Manila as a port for trade between Asia. The stay of the Spanish eventually ended in 1896 when the Philippine Revolution started. The Treaty of Paris gave America "rights" to the Philippines for a dollar amount of twenty million dollars. During the American Colonization, "Americans continued the western tradition of exploiting the Philippines for the benefit of the United States."(1) The Americans furthered the Spanish efforts of colonization and "Ð'...set[ing] up education, public health, and public work programs."(1) During the colonization of the Philippines, it became evident that the land present would not suffice the amount of people living it; this started a migration of Filipinos to the United States.

The first wave of Filipinos who embarked to the United States in 1903 were students. "The Pensionado Act, passed by the US Congress, provided support for young Filipinos to be sent tot eh United States for education about American life."(1) These originating Filipino students were known as the "pensionados" and were educated in prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, and UC Berkley. The pensionados were responsible for founding Filipino organizations that would relay information to the Philippines about the grand opportunities in the United States. With the education gained from their stay in the United States, the pensionados came back to the Philippines to become "social, political, and economic leaders."(1) As stories about the pensionados' success became common topics of discussion, more and more young adults were making the endeavor to the United States in hopes of gaining enough education to better they lives. "Between 1910 and 1938 almost 14,000 Filipinos were enrolled as students around the United States (Crouchett, 1982)"(1)

During the years between 1905 and 1935, the second wave of Filipinos migrated to the United States; this wave was made up primarily of workers. Because of the semi-independence of the Filipinos to the United States, Filipinos could travel as they pleased to the United States without having to obtain visas. The second wave was primarily made of males in hopes gaining education or laboring for better wages; due to the difference in the exchange rate between the Philippines and US. The laborers began to fill in the job demand in Hawaii, Alaska, and the western states of the United States. At the same time, "the Philippines was experiencing growing poverty." This caused many poverty-stricken Filipinos to turn to the United States for work. Although the there were laws in place restricting Chinese and Japanese immigration to the United States, these did not apply to the Filipinos; particularly the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907-1908.

The experiences of the Filipino people had many similarities and differences when compared to other Asian Americans. As Asian Americans before them, Filipinos Americans were discriminated by the United States; the land where opportunity was supposed to be for all men. As laws were made to discriminate against the Chinese and the Japanese, the Filipinos were not to be left out. The Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 was passed by the United States Congress. "In this Act the Philippines was granted commonwealth status and the immigration of Filipinos to the United States was restricted to 50 persons a year."(1) There was also the Filipino Repatriation Act of 1935 that gave Filipinos free transportation back to the Philippines in hopes deporting as many Filipinos as possible. During the times of these laws, Filipinos in America faced much discrimination, similar to the Chinese and Japanese, however not as harsh. During the Depression, Filipino laborers were blamed for taking the jobs of Euro-Americans. In these times, Filipinos were able to lease land, but were not able to own. Filipinos faced discrimination in all public places, "including housing, hotels, restaurants, barbers, pools, cinemas, tennis courts, and even churches. (Melendy, 1977)"(1) Another issue that inflamed the Euro-Americans was the relationships between many Filipinos with Euro-American women. The ratio of Philippine men to women was a dwindling 23 to 1. This controversial issue ended with California legislature making it law that no Filipinos were to marry Euro-Americans. Differentiating from other Asian Americans, the Filipino people were insistent on becoming Americans. During the start of World War II, Filipinos were initially denied entrance into the United States Armed Forces. However, by 1940 there were about 100,000 Filipinos in the Armed Forces. Many Filipinos joined the Armed Forces to fight for their "new homelands," fight for land taken over by the Japanese, or because of lack of jobs due to the dwindling economy. Because of the heroic efforts of the Filipinos, many were granted American citizenship. One major difference between the Filipino people and other Asian Americans were the American "nationals." These people were Filipinos raised in the Philippines to learn about the American freedoms and ideals. However, upon arriving to America, Philippine Nationals were treated as second-class citizens. An example of this treatment was the delayed effort in allowing Filipinos to enter the US Armed Forces.

As stated earlier, Filipinos have made their way to being the second largest Asian group in the United States. With their persistent attitudes for a better lifestyle, Filipinos have migrated to the United States in hopes of better jobs. Presently, many well-educated Filipinos are leaving the Philippines to go to the US, therefore taking away professional workers from the Philippine society. Although Filipinos



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