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“California Apologizes to Chinese-Americans”

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It is no secret that the United States has a long-standing history of discrimination. Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, Women, Jews, Muslims, Handicapped, Homosexuals, and even people who are just old have all suffered prejudice from the general public. Ranging from preferential treatment in society to actual laws banning certain rights, these groups have grown accustomed to fighting for equal rights. Over the years, there have been many laws passed toward that end; greatly improving civil rights in this country. It is very easy as a white male to think “you have equal rights, what more do you want?” in regards to these minority groups. In searching for solutions to problems of discrimination it can be easy to overlook a very simple, yet very symbolic gesture; an apology. While many old discriminatory laws have been repealed, and new laws to grant more rights have passed, these only look ahead, to change the future. Many people seem to forget about those who were harmed in the past. The current event which I have chosen to write about is an article from Time Magazine, and talks about the importance of an official apology, made by the State Legislature of California, for its past wrongdoing, as well as many examples of former mistreatment of Chinese-Americans. In this paper I will show how “California Apologizes to Chinese-Americans,” demonstrates issues related to socioeconomic status and labor, citizenship status, and immigration at work, and thus illuminates government-imposed discrimination and the legal mistreatment of Chinese-Americans.

This article, by Ling Woo Liu on July 22nd, 2009, was written just days after the California Legislature approved a bill to apologize to the Chinese-American community for h...

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... WWII (Liu, 2009).

The State of California has made a substantial effort to right the wrongs suffered by Chinese Americans. It is a horrible fact that people who played such a vital role in the formation of the state were treated so poorly for over a century. Stripped of rights which most people take for granted, and treated as second-class citizens, they clung together for support in Chinatowns throughout the state. While nothing can undo the injustices of the past, the State Legislature has made an attempt to make things right. This is a very important step in the continuing fight for equality and fair treatment of all groups in the US. While it may not eliminate discrimination, it is a very significant gesture. They have said, “We were wrong, and we are sorry.” Hopefully, the United States Congress will see fit to follow their example on a National level.
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