Date

5-26-2020

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California during the Progressive Era was a hotbed of racism against Asians. Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and Immigration Act of 1907 effectively blocked Chinese and Japanese laborers from immigrating to the U.S., and laborers who already immigrated to California before these laws faced both segregation as well as verbal and physical attacks. However, Chinese and Japanese students continued visiting California to study in higher institutions throughout this period, and little is known about them. Drawing from news articles and university archives, I conclude that Japanese and Chinese students studying at Stanford University and the University of California (Berkeley) faced significantly less racism and received academic and social opportunities similar to those of white students. This case study documents that American higher education functioned as a diplomacy building site for the U.S. and Asian countries. I argue that the experiences of racism changed significantly based on ones’ immigration and socioeconomic status. Finally, I conclude that even blatant racism is complex and fluid in its nature and the experiences of it could differ significantly.

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May 26th, 12:00 AM

A Bubble of the American Dream: Experiences of Asian students at key universities in the midst of racist movements in Progressive-Era California

California during the Progressive Era was a hotbed of racism against Asians. Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and Immigration Act of 1907 effectively blocked Chinese and Japanese laborers from immigrating to the U.S., and laborers who already immigrated to California before these laws faced both segregation as well as verbal and physical attacks. However, Chinese and Japanese students continued visiting California to study in higher institutions throughout this period, and little is known about them. Drawing from news articles and university archives, I conclude that Japanese and Chinese students studying at Stanford University and the University of California (Berkeley) faced significantly less racism and received academic and social opportunities similar to those of white students. This case study documents that American higher education functioned as a diplomacy building site for the U.S. and Asian countries. I argue that the experiences of racism changed significantly based on ones’ immigration and socioeconomic status. Finally, I conclude that even blatant racism is complex and fluid in its nature and the experiences of it could differ significantly.