By: Praguni Kumar
Have you ever thought of what your favourite eyeshadow/ highlighter does to your face? Have you ever really taken a minute to truly see what it is made of? And even if you did, did you ever wonder where the ingredients came from?
Although makeup can make us feel beautiful, it has quite a dark side and children are the hidden cost behind the making of your favourite daily products.
You may ask, how are they manufactured? By mining Mica. Mica can be found in almost all your makeup products ranging from eyeshadows to highlights to anything with that shimmer. Mining the mineral involves dangerous digging of vertical shafts of one to two metres wide and around 15 metres deep with the fear in mind that a rock could fall on them at any moment, extracting and then sorting the mica. Once extracted and sorted, the commodity is exported primarily to China. From there it finds its way into Western products.
Mica scavenging in Eastern India is destroying lives and the environment. Illegal mica mining not only causes serious health hazards among the child workers but also leads to massive deforestation and loss of wildlife. Exploitative child labour, death by suffocation in mining shafts, heads splitting open due to a rocks falling on their head, severe health hazards such as tuberculosis for the impoverished workers who have nothing else to turn to for a living are issues that need more immediate attention. As much as you might love your sparkly beaming product, would you really want a death attached to it?
Even though East India is quite rich in mica and other minerals, it has the highest poverty rates in the entire country.
The families from whom the mica is purchased do not receive a decent wage to get their children educated or to have proper standards of living. Globally, the mica industry is worth over half a billion dollars while the families receive hardly $5 dollars per month. The children are made to hand pick mica one by one and for that they are making less than a quarter a day. It has been estimated almost 20,000 children are working across the region in small, claustrophobic mines.
But it is also painfully clear that these children have no alternative to feed their families.
Despite multiple reported cases of lung failure and death due to tunnels collapsing, there is an estimate of 10 out of 20 deaths each month, the children and their families are left with no options. The unregulated nature of mica has opened the door to dangerous work conditions and predatory pricing. Only if they were provided with ₹30-40 for a kg (56 cents) they would have been able to escape the never-ending cycle of poverty.
If you think about it, there is absolutely no transparency about the supply chains involved in making these beauty products. James Charles, Jeffree Star, Fenty Beauty etc all contain mica, even your drugstore makeup brands. If you check the description tag, they say “cruelty free” but is cruelty free only limited to animals or does it extend to children too?
By: Isabella Miranda
The BLM movement feels like it’s dying, so here’s what you can do about it.
If you’re reading this article, you likely care about the Black Lives Matter movement. But, with the decline of public attention the movement has been getting lately, it has started to feel like the “old normal” again. As if nothing had happened at all.
But there’s still so much we can all do. Here’s a few ideas.
Distribute information. And yes, sharing Instagram posts and articles count *wink wink*By uplifting, listening, supporting and sharing the stories and voices of Black, Indigenous, queer, disabled, and other people of color, you allow more people including yourself to understand and learn from the experiences of all kinds of minorities, and get to repay them by giving and sharing what they say on your platform! Share and uplift everyone and everything that isn't being seen or heard! If it weren't for the people sharing information, many would even know about police brutality and the aggravated protests that continue as we speak.
Learn and Educate.The whole core of this movement is about moving towards an Anti-racist society. And to do this, learning and educating people is essential. Listen and learn from BIPOC, educate people on BIPOC issues, and teach young children on racial issues. It all works as long as you know what youre talking about and don't exploit the work of BIPOC when learning or teaching others on their issues. Here’s some resources:
Books to read:
●White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
●Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
● The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale,
●So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo,
● I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Foreword By
● Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum
Netflix series & films to watch:
●When They See Us
●I Am Not Your Negro
●Who Killed Malcolm X
●Dear White People
●DA 5 Bloods
●The Innocence Files
●Oprah Winfrey: When they See Us Now
How to talk to young kids about race
BLM National Resources and Education Tool
Linktree on Prison Labor
BLM Educational Linktree
“Your Black Friend” Animated Short
Misogynoir, Adultification of Black Girls, and Black Woman Stereotypes
Call people out on their BS.
Call people out on ALL their bullsh*t, even if it makes both of you uncomfortable. Question your racist family members beliefs, call out your transphobic neighbor on their comments, put a loudly uncomfortable spotlight on the homophobic sexist guy from your school. Make them feel uncomfortable. Here’s how you can do that.
Messed up jokes/microaggressions:
● Don’t laugh
●“That’s not even funny”
●“Nobody finds that funny”
● “That’s _____” (racist, sexist, homophobic ,etc)
●“It’s not dark humor if there’s no humor.”
●“Why did you say/do that?”
●“Can you elaborate on what you mean by that?”
Thread on rebuttals for racist/BLM comment:
Video on rebuttals for transphobic comments:
Article on calling out sexist comments:
Normalize buying from black and POC owned businesses
During the growth of this movement, the promotion of buying black owned and POC owned creations had gone high, which is great! But it seems like it only lasted a few weeks until the movement began to die down in the mainstream and so did many customers. If you’re going to buy from BIPOC, don't only do it when it's relevant in the media. Normalize buying from BIPOC businesses and stop making white ones your default!
Use the power of Tik Tok
Although it might sound unusual, Tik Tok holds a lot of power when it comes to sparking social change. Videos can be viewed by thousands and millions within seconds. Use it. Share important petitions, donations, stories, and websites and bring virtual communities together for change!
And finally, keep up those petitions, donations, and emails!You’ve been signing petitions, donating if you can, and sending emails, right? No? Well get to it! The best way to continue the movement is by taking direct action and these are the 3 simplest ways to do it! Here’s some links to do so for your convenience.
BLM Pending Petitions
Email Templates for BLM
Direct Donations to Black Trans People
How to Get Rid of LAPD Helicopters
Link to Change.org
Watch to Donate BLM
Source reference for educational books from @sarahmian on Instagram
How to talk to young kids about race: www.prettygooddesign.org
BLM national resources and education tool: www.pb-resources.com
Linktree on prison labor: linktr.ee/prisonlabor123
BLM Educational Linktree: linktr.ee/actionEDUCATE
“Your Black Friend” Animated Short: youtu.be/iHvxXImnWKw
Misogynoir, Adultification of Black Girls, and Black Woman Stereotypes: www.instagram.com/michaelabalogun
Thread on rebuttals for racist/BLM comments: https://twitter.com/sujoyshah
Video on rebuttals for transphobic comments: www.youtube.com
Article on calling out sexist comments: www.stylist.co.uk/people/feminism
BLM Pending petitions: pendingpetition.carrd.co
Email Templates for BLM: sayitagain.carrd.co
Direct Donations to Black Trans People: linktr.ee/disconnect__me
How to Get Rid of LAPD Helicopters: www.instagram.com/henry_dugan
Link to Change.org https://www.change.org
Watch to donate to BLM: Watch to Donate BLM
Written by: Pauline Francez Gordula
Hailed as the United States of America’s Melting Pot, New York City is known for its unique blend of nationalities, ethnicities and cultures. To give a taste, there are over 800 languages spoken throughout the city. When COVID-19 struck the United States in March, the melting pot became the epicenter of the pandemic. New York City's healthcare system was immediately put under pressure as hospitals swarmed with patients. It is vital to examine the demographics that comprise the New York City healthcare workforce and how this impacts the quality of healthcare that minorities received during the pandemic.
For the past five months, I received news that some of my friends’ parents and family friends have contracted the virus -- a few of them passed away. Living and studying in a predominantly South Asian and Caribbean neighborhood, most of my friends and family friends are non-White. I began to express concern about the disparities in healthcare especially among minorities during this unprecedented time.
Every time I read the news on COVID-19, I often see that the Black and Hispanic communities have the highest case and death rates in New York City. 704.53 of African-Americans and 671 of Hispanic/Latino per 100,000 are hospitalized. Meanwhile, 259.83 of Hispanic/Latino and 244.77 of African-Americans per 100,000 people die. The racial makeup of New York City is as follows: 42.7% White, 24.3% Black or African American, 0.4% American Indian, 13.9% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 3.5% two or more races, 29.1% Hispanic or Latino and 32.1% White non-Hispanic. This made me wonder: if New York City is predominantly White, then why are the Black and Hispanic communities being devastated the most by the virus?'
The most logical answer would have to be income. The median household income for New York City between 2014 to 2018 was $60,762. From 2011 to 2015, the poverty rates by racial groups differed significantly from the national trends: 20% of Asian New Yorkers are poorer compared to 14% nationally; 22% of Black New Yorkers live below the poverty line in comparison to 27%; 29% of Hispanic New Yorkers are poor while 25% nationally; and 12% of White New Yorkers were living below the poverty line as to 1% nationally.
However, I digress. While household income plays a huge role in surviving the pandemic, I think that the quality of care that minorities (specifically, the Black and Hispanic communities) receive is also an important factor that people overlook. Annually, New York City Health + Hospitals receive a budget of $8 billion, which funds 11 public hospitals in four boroughs.
At the peak of the pandemic in the melting pot, NYC Health + Hospital at Elmhurst was besieged by the virus. The hospital once reported 13 coronavirus deaths within 24 hours back in March. Situated along Broadway, Elmhurst Hospital has garnered over 2.1 stars out of 5 stars from 518 users on Google reviews. User Leo Lu left a comment 4 months ago saying, “Not the best hospital. They need more professional personal here and they really need to work on cleaning. I see blood stains on some surfaces, which it quite scary. People who goes to hospital are people who are sick and u have no idea what disease they might carry, they leaving blood unclean that is already a bad sign of sloppy work and carelessness. It does seem to me this place is more about making profit as a business than a professional medical center. I do blame lack of management for sloppiness and carelessness.”
I found that the Allerton/Baychester/Pelham Gardens/Williamsbridge neighborhoods in the Bronx are the one of the groups of neighborhoods with the highest case rates in New York City. One of the hospitals in Pelham Bay, NYC Health + Hospital at Jacobi, has accumulated 2.3 stars out of 5 stars on Google reviews from 519 users. One user, Nadine Thomas, left a Google review about 4 months ago: “If I could give zero star I would. The doctors are very unprofessional and do not know how to talk to people. Worst hospital ever..” On March 29, nurses at Jacobi Medical Center spoke out about the lack of medical equipment to treat their coronavirus patients. Staff used money from their own pockets to buy their own medical gears, which speaks volumes about the insufficiency of resources that the hospital receives. Additionally, the sudden influx of patients forced the nurses to work for 12 or more hours three or four days a week. Sadly, one of the nurses in the hospital, Freda Ocran, contracted the virus and passed away.
On the other hand, I observed that most neighborhoods in Manhattan have low case rates. Around the Upper East Side and Lenox Hill area, there are about 15 hospitals -- most of them nonprofits. For instance, Weill Cornell Medical Center -- a NewYork-Presbyterian hospital -- has 4.0 stars out of 5 stars from 426 users on Google reviews. User blackorpheliac1 left a review 4 months ago: “Best Hospital I’ve been to in New York. I usually head to Harlem Hospital, and I guess I thought it was normal to wait 4 hours to be seen on an empty day. I was in and out of imaging here in 13 minutes. Shocking how friendly, responsive to questions and happy the staff is here (both administrative and medical). Clean too. I highly recommend.” The comparison of Weill Cornell to Harlem Hospital struck me as interesting. I decided to look up Harlem Hospital to get an overview of this hospital’s overall performance. To my surprise, NYC Health + Hospitals at Harlem’s overall reviews on Google reviews are on the opposite side of the spectrum -- 2.6 starts out of 5 stars from 254 user reviews.
I observed that Elmhurst, Allerton/Baychester/Pelham Gardens/Williamsbridge and Harlem neighborhoods are predominantly Black and Hispanic. Some of the trends on the hospital reviews within these areas are the lack of medical equipment, unprofessional staff and dirty environment. With such a large budget, the NYC Health + Hospitals should properly allocate their funds to better suit their patients’ needs especially during such turbulent times. People in their communities have the highest poverty rates in the city; as a result, more funding should be allocated to these neighborhoods to help improve their quality of life. Unfortunately, the poor quality of care that minorities receive mirrors the catastrophic case and death rates among the Black and Hispanic communities throughout the pandemic.
On the exterior, New York City may be this dazzling city with a conglomeration of cultures and lavish establishments. In reality, the melting pot still has a long way for improvement: public hospitals’ quality is terrible compared to hospitals run by nonprofits. I demand that healthcare in neighborhoods dominated by minorities be one of the top priorities to help sustain the quality of living in such a densely populated city.
Brecher, Patrick Orecki and Charles. “A New Approach to Funding New York City Health Hospitals.” Citizens Budget Commission of New York, 16 Dec. 2019, cbcny.org/research/new-approach-funding-new-york-city-health-hospitals#:~:text=New York City Health + Hospitals (H+H),,the local health care system.
“COVID-19: Data.” COVID-19: Data Details on Deaths - NYC Health, www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data-deaths.page.
“Focus on Poverty in New York City.” NYU Furman Center, furmancenter.org/thestoop/entry/focus-on-poverty.
“Health Care Locations.” NYC Health Hospitals, www.nychealthandhospitals.org/hospitals/.
Ray, Esha, and Michael Gartland. “'We're on a Suicide Mission': Jacobi Hospital Nurse Charges Lack of Coronavirus Protective Gear Endangers Health Care Workers' Lives.” Nydailynews.com, New York Daily News, 1 Apr. 2020, www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-jacobi-kelley-cabrera-personal-protective-nurse-doctor-20200401-sa5mpgvvqvhnzh7qwh2znnbo3m-story.html.
“U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: New York City, New York.” Census Bureau QuickFacts, www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/newyorkcitynewyork/PST040219.
“U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: New York City, New York.” Census Bureau QuickFacts, www.census.gov/quickfacts/newyorkcitynewyork.
By: Isabella Astuto
On August 11, 2020, Kamala Harris was announced as Joe Biden’s running mate in the presidential election. A prior Democratic candidate in the primaries, Harris has served on the U.S. Senate for California since 2017. She has a past connection to Biden through her friendship with his late son, Beau, during the time in which she and him were Attorney Generals together for California and Delaware, respectively. Many wonder how exactly this choice will affect Biden’s campaign in the long run.
As expected of any big announcement such as this, initial reactions have been very divided. Many view this decision as the absolute right one, considering Harris would not only be the first female vice president if she and Biden were to win, but also the first African American and Asian American vice president. Many are excited about the prospect of an educated Black woman in such a position of power, particularly one from a stereotypically liberal state like California.
Others dislike Harris for being a ‘hypocrite’. Many say she doesn’t live up to her self-proclaimed title as a champion for racial equality. A letter from the African Advocacy Network, the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, the Haitian Bridge Alliance, and others was sent to Harris, Governor Gavin Newsom, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra last month. It urged them to take more action in assisting immigrants who have been detained by detention centers.
Former President Barack Obama said in a tweet that Harris is ‘more than prepared for the job… By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, Biden has underscored his own judgement and character. Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president.’
Current President Donald Trump said in a tweet of his own that he believes Harris is ‘extraordinarily nasty.’ He voices his shock at Biden being willing to pick Harris after some of their particularly harsh arguments during the primaries. ‘I thought she was the meanest, the most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate.’
While this announcement was waited for with bated breath, many, such as Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, are not surprised that Harris was ultimately the pick. Overall, the consensus seems to be that this decision is a turning point for the Biden campaign, although in which direction is still up in the air.
By: Beatriz Atienza
The stigma around menstruation in India: A general vision through “Breaking the Taboo” by Manavi Nag
As of 2018, 23 million girls from India drop out of school when they start menstruating. Less than 50% of teenagers know about periods when they get theirs. Menstruation is still surrounded by a stigma that causes women to feel ashamed, scared and eventually unworthy of continuing with their normal lives while they are on their periods. Manavi Nag, a 15-year-old from Mumbai, has written a short book called “Breaking the Taboo” which compiles the stories of seven girls on how they got their period for the first time, who educated them on the matter, and how they realised they wanted to work to break the taboo surrounding menstruation in India.
Gayatri, Sara, Kavita, Kirti, Aditi, Aashna, Shreya all went through different situations when they first got their period. However, through their testimonies, we can learn how it is to grow up in an environment where periods are not talked about. In all their stories there are some pivotal points: whether they had received previous education or not, how their families reacted to their period and provided information and sanitary products, and what they learnt from their experience.
Some of them had not been educated prior to having their first period. With no basic information about what was going on, they felt scared that something was happening to them, ashamed that they were making a mess of their clothes. This shows that the stigma around menstruation doesn’t stop once a girl gets her period, and, in fact, it worsens, because in that moment, all those years of silence turn into shame and fear. Nothing prepares them for the brutal experience that it is feeling one’s body change. One story that was particularly curious was Kirti’s, who had never received information about menstruation but still she knew that her mother’s dismissive answers weren’t right. Girls are smart, and curious, and they have the right to know what is going on with their bodies.
Others had been educated and knew what their period was, but even in those cases, they still felt confused. However, this confusion is part of the natural process of accepting what is going on with one’s body.
They all explained that, whether they had been educated before or after getting their period, simply knowing what it was about and what was the reality of what they were living relaxed them and made the feel more confident. Education is important. Knowledge is power. If one knows what is happening in their bodies, then the acceptance will be easier.
Family’s reaction and support
A common point among all the stories was that it generally was a relative or a close one who provided the information (if needed) and the sanitary products. It could be their mothers, but also their sisters, cousins, aunts, and even a friend.
For most of them, the reaction of their families was fine, being sensitive and explaining everything to them. Gayatri, for example, was not at home when she got her first period, so her friend took over and taught her how to use a pad. Kavita was not at home either, but her friends and cousins helped her and supported her. Kirti’s mom was not very open about the situation, but her sister took her under her wing and explained everything she needed to know. Aashna was visiting her family in Mumbai, where the taboo was less big than in her community, an she got the help of her mom and aunts.
However, on the other hand, Sara’s mom burned every set of clothes or sheets she would use while being on her period, along with everything she touched. This made Sara feel dirty, ashamed, as if being on her period was something dark and wrong. Family’s support is important. As previously mentioned, of course education on this topic is important, but it has a bigger impact if someone close to the girl is sensitive and caring.
The girls’ relationship with their periods
All of them declare that, after some time, they became aware of the fact that there was nothing to be ashamed of. They realised that it was society that had made them feel bad about something they could not really control, and they decided to change it. Now they are all taboo-breakers, advocating for a menstrual education and the end of the stigma surrounding it.
This book is just a sample of what it is like to grow up in a society where menstruation is heavily stigmatised. There are as many stories as girls in India, as well as in other countries around the world. The period is a natural process bodies go through, but it is not just a scientific event. Emotions flood through one’s mind when having the period, not only because of the hormones changes, but because it is a turning point from where nothing is the same. Being informed of this, being able to access resources, and feeling supported by our loved ones (especially by fellow menstruating people) is our right, and key to build healthy relationships with our bodies.
Two questions for the author, Manavi
Apart from raising awareness thanks to this book, what else are you doing to break the taboo surrounding menstruation in India?
Manavi: Apart from trying to raise awareness, start conversation and educating people, I have also conducted a workshop with the young girls whose stories are featured in my boom from a vulnerable neighbourhood about the biology and importance behind menstruation and some realistic and implementable solutions about how they can break the taboo surrounding menstruation. Another thing that I have been doing apart from raising awareness is calling out the period taboo when I see it. So, if you see someone doing something that reflects the magnitude of the stigma surrounding menstruation, I think it’s important to let them know that there is nothing taboo about periods. This small gesture can go a really long way.
How can we all as humans create a better environment for people menstruating?
Manavi: We, as a components of a larger society, can do a lot to create a better environment for menstruators. Firstly, we can stop treating menstruation as a secret. If someone is talking to you about menstruation, don’t tell them to lower their voice or silence them because periods are a taboo, listen to them and practice active listening with them. We can also teach our young girls, fro young ages, that menstruation in natural and a universal process, so that they don’t feel ashamed. Lastly, we need to normalise menstruation in our communities so that the norm isn’t to not talk about menstruation, but rather to talk about it!
By: Hannah Graham
Recently, I began watching The 13th which is a Netflix documentary. It really opened my eyes on how much the educational system has really failed us. What I was shown in the documentary, I had never learned about in school or it had been very limited information. I continued to do more research after and this is some of what I found:
After the 13th amendment was passed and slavery was abolished, corporations and people still wanted the free labor. They realized there was a loophole. In the amendment, it states “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime”. The “except as a punishment for crime” part is very important. If there were people being punished, there could be free labor. People of color began to be arrested for small crimes and given longer sentences. They would be put in jail for jaywalking, loitering, shoplifting, any miniscule crime that a white person would get a slap on the wrist for. The news, media, TV shows, and movies all portrayed black people as predators. They would show them as rapists, saying that the white people must protect their women from black men.
In reality, the majority of rapists towards all women were white men. Black men knew even getting close to a white woman could result in death. When Nixon declared the war on crime, it really became a war on black people. The focus closed in on drugs. Nixon’s policy chief admitted this himself saying, “We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” Harsher sentences were introduced including an option of no parole and minimum sentencing. Drug dealers could face up to life in prison.
Then, crack cocaine was introduced. While regular powder cocaine was a more suburban, white issue, crack cocaine was a black issue. If you were caught with powder cocaine, most of the time it would be a strike or small sentence. It was not a big deal. Crack became a whole other situation. If you were caught with crack, you could go to jail for the rest of your life. Police stormed into houses and arrested as many people as they could for drug dealing or possession. It completely broke down families and poverty rates increased since the man’s source of income was no longer available.
While only 13% of drug users were black from 1995-2005, they made up 36% of drug arrests and 46% of those convicted for drugs. In the 1970s, the number of prisoners was counted to be about 300,000. In 2016 it was 2.6 million. Prisons became a huge part of the economy. It was used to gain money and also a lot of money was put in. Around $56 billion dollars is given to prisons. The money is used to expand them. There has to be enough room for the growth of inmates. America is #1 in the world for the number of incarcerated people and accounts for 25% of the world's prisoners. Unfortunately, in the land of the free, we have the most prisoners in the world. 1 in 3 black men will go to prison at some time in their life. Whereas 1 in 17 white men will.
There are more black people enslaved in prison systems now than there were actual slaves in America in the 1800s. With the over policing of black neighborhoods and blatant racism in justice systems, black people are more likely to be stopped and arrested. There is little real justice in America, with too many factors to play in for it to be true. Slavery was outlawed, but it still continues in an “acceptable” way.
By: Evie Fitzpatrick
Asians in the United States have always been hidden when it comes to being in our history books. We always hear the stories of the European immigrants coming to the United States (which is important of course!), but the fact that Asians are always left out of these curriculums is disheartening. Where are we when it comes to the story of America? What role do we play? I have been asking these questions for years, and never got an answer until recently. One day during quarantine, I was messing around on Google and began looking up some questions regarding the history of Asians in the United States. There, I found an influx of information that I had never known about until that moment. It really opened my eyes to the struggles that Asian immigrants faced when they came to the United States, and how much they had to overcome. So where did the story of Asian Americans begin?
Although Flilipinos attempted to come to America in the late 16th century, it wasn’t until the 17th century that the first Asian was documented in the United States. In Jamestown, Virginia, it was recorded that an East Asian lived there, although there are not many more details about who this individual was. After this, it wouldn’t be until the later half of the 18th century when Asians really started to come to the U.S. In 1763, Flilipinos established the settlement of Saint Malo in what is now Louisiana. These inhabitants of the settlements escaped from a Spanish trade ship, and decided to live in an area where Spanish officials could not reach them. Also around this time, Chinese sailors arrived in Hawaii and Baltimore, Maryland, where many settled and stayed.
In the 19th century, Asians began working in various occupations throughout the United States. Flilipinos worked as shrimp fishermen, smugglers, and artillery gunners in Louisiana under Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812 and the Battle of New Orleans. Chinese sailors and merchants also begin coming to the United States to live. Even with all of these accomplishments however, there were still some setbacks. In 1854, the court case of People v. Hall ruled that Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans could be denied the right to testify against white citizens. Other obstacles to Asians, more specifically the Chinese, included California putting a tax on anyone who was a Chinese man, the Chinese being named ineligible for natural citizenship, the banning of Chinese laborers from immigrating to the United States, and the killing of 59 Chinese miners over a span of a year.
Going into the early 1900’s, there was still a lot of hate towards Asian immigrants and Asian Americans. Schools were set on segregating Asians, especially those of Japanese heritage, but this was eventually stopped in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt and the Japanese government. The court case of Lum v. Rice also exemplified that states possessed the right to define a Chinese person as “non-white” in order to segregate them. Immigration policies for the Asian community also changed during this time. The 1924 Immigration Act barred most immigrants coming from Asia, which caused outrage. In 1935 however, Flilipinos were allowed to come to the United States officially under the Tydings-McDuffie Act, since the Philippines was transitioning from being an American colony to an independent one. Going into the later half of the 20th century, things would do downhill due to World War II.
After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, a navy base in Hawaii, in 1941, U.S. citizens became suspicious of Japanese Americans, even though they had no involvement in the attack. This led to President Franklin Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, which sent over 100,000 people of Japanese descent to Internment camps. Here at these camps, people were surrounded by barbed wire, with no means of escape. Eventually, the order was suspended by Roosevelt in 1944, with the camps being shut down officially in 1946. Although these events were absolutely horrid, after World War II, Asians began showing up in all sectors of careers and entertainment. Asian athletes like Wataru Misaka, Vicki Draves, Sammy Lee, and Roman Gabriel begin playing in professional leagues and even being in the Olympics. Politicians of Asian descent also appeared including Dalip Singh Saund, Daniel K. Inouye, Pasty T. Mink, and John Wing. This was the time when Asian Americans suddenly became a part of the mainstream news. They weren’t just labor workers anymore. They were helping to make history for the United States. And this still continues to this day.
Now more than ever, we are seeing Asian representation. From Andrew Yang, to Mindy Kaling, we are seeing Asians do everything. Whether it’s running for presidency, or being on the big screen, we are finally being seen by the rest of the country. As an Asian American, I am proud to see how far the community has gone, and how resilient with have been. Even with the xenophobia we have faced due to COVID-19, we have remained determined and never let the harmful words of others faze us. I hope that in the future, these moments of history are actually put in the history books, so everyone can realize and learn about our history. We have an untold story, but that has now changed.