evolution of the racial exclusion laws. The writer explores the Jim Crow laws and the Chinese Exclusion Act and examines their similarities and differences. The writer finishes by defining how the writer would have reacted as a white leader at that time.
The Evolution of Exclusionary Laws
Today, America works hard to stamp out racism. There are hate crime laws in affect that raise crimes based in racism to a federal offense level. While the nation is taking this and other steps to prevent racism issues, it has not always been this way. Years ago in America racism was not only tolerated, it was encouraged through legislation exalting its value.
Throughout American history racial exclusionary laws evolved and came full circle from being discussed, passed, upheld, challenged, struck down and the dismantled and all along those who were the victims of such laws stood strong and proud, knowing they were being abused and refusing to stand idly by and allow it to happen.
Whether it was the Jim Crow laws or the Chinese Exclusion Act, different periods in history allowed the mistreatment of various minorities and the evolution of society removed the ability to do so.
While most people are aware of the atrocities of America's days of slavery, others are not so familiar with the evolutionary process that racial exclusion took. Slavery impacted African-Americans in ways that will never be forgotten but there were other acts in the U.S. that perpetuated racial exclusionary practices. One of those practices included the Chinese Exclusionary Act (Johnson, 1998 pp 1112-1148).
The Chinese Exclusionary Act had some things in common with the Jim Crow laws, and also had some differences. One of the things that was similar was the fact that it was designed to allow the mistreatment of a race population simply based on the fact that the members belonged to that race.
As Chinese immigrants continued to make their way to America resentment continued to grow. White miners and workers believed that Chinese immigrants were coming to the U.S. And taking jobs, homes and other life sustaining elements that should have gone to white residents (Johnson, 1998 pp 1112-1148).
Passed in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was a climax to more than thirty years of progressive racism. Anti-Chinese sentiment had existed ever since the great migration from China during the gold rush, where white miners and prospectors imposed taxes and laws to inhibit the Chinese from success. Racial tensions increased as more and more Chinese emigrated, occupied jobs, and created competition on the job market (Johnson, 1998 pp 1112-1148)."
By 1882 the public outcry was heard and there was a ban that prohibited Chinese immigrants from gaining access to American soil or land (Johnson, 1998 pp 1112-1148).
When it was first implemented it was supposed to last a decade but it was later changed to have an indefinite time frame.
The difference between this and the Jim Crow laws was that this banned Chinese immigrants from coming to America. The Jim Crow laws abused and excluded African-Americans already in America from certain standards of living.
When China became an important ally of the United States against Japan, the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed; however, a lasting impact remained. The act was both cause and effect: it came from decades of Chinese discrimination, and initiated decades of Chinese exclusion (Johnson, 1998 pp 1112-1148)."
Chinese who were caught in America after the Act was passed claimed to be relatives of those with papers who were already here.
The refusal to allow Chinese to immigrate to the states lasted more than six decades.
When challenged, the Supreme Court initially alleged that it would disturb the national sovereignty to strike down the Chinese exclusionary act.
In the famous Chinese Exclusion Case, the Supreme Court stated that "the power of exclusion of foreigners is an incident of sovereignty belonging to the government of the United States, as a part of its sovereign powers delegated by the Constitution." Similarly, in Fong Yue Ting v. United States, the Court reasoned that "the right of a nation to expel or deport foreigners, is as absolute and unqualified as the right to prohibit and prevent their entrance into the country (Johnson, 1998 pp 1112-1148)."
It was not long after that when Congress banned immigration from…