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Koreans Facing Discrimination in America Essay Sample

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Koreans Facing Discrimination in America Essay Sample

In the early 19th century, Koreans came to the United States seeking freedom from Japanese rule and to maintain their Korean cultural identity. Like many other minorities, Korean immigrants experienced racial discrimination in the past and they also experience discrimination today. The Alien Land Act of 1913 was passed to prevent non-naturalized Koreans from owning property and limited leases in California. They were often turned away by Caucasian landlords when they were attempting to find housing. The action of the Alien Land Act proves that Korean immigrants were discriminated against by the United States government and the white American home owners. In America, if someone has money, no one can prevent him/her from owning property unless they discriminate against them based on their race, sex, religion or age. Myself, being of Vietnamese descent, as an immigrant living in the United States, I do have the right to become a naturalized citizen as long as I abide by the laws. The experience of Korean immigrants shows that they are struggling to be part of this country.

In the year of 1910, Korean workers were attacked by American counterparts and were told to leave or they would be killed. This left many Koreans feeling intimidated and like they had nowhere to go. Koreans were not allowed to sit next to the white Americans anywhere in public but were permitted to sit in the corners in recreational places alongside the Mexicans. Moreover, Koreans were attacked and intimidated by white farm workers and if they did not defend themselves with deadly force against the white rioters, their minority group would have been endangered.

Life is to this day still tough for Korean immigrants when they first arrive in the United States. Koreans are discriminated everywhere in the work place, public recreational facilities, and restaurants. In the year of 2002, while I was working for a printing company I requested for a username and password for the Xerox machines. My white American employer refused to give it to me and instead gave it to a white female co-worker who was going to be there for a shorter period of time. She told me that my boss gave it to her without any hassle. I felt that I was being discriminated against and that I was in a situation where I could not stand up for myself because of the risk of losing my job. In addition, in 2003, I went to Foxwood to watch a Vietnamese concert. After the show, I entered the Casino and witnessed a racial conflict between two men, one white and one Vietnamese.

The Vietnamese man left the slot machine to get money from the ATM and the white man quickly assumed that the Asian man was not returning to his place and he took his seat. When the Vietnamese man returned, the American refused to return his seat. He proceeded to lash out with racial comments such as “get out of here Gook, I am playing in here, I do not care if you were here before. Go back to China.” They started a heavy argument which resulted in the attention of security who let the white man stay at the slot machine. I felt that that Vietnamese man deserved his seat back and the white man did not have the right to treat the Asian with such disrespect. In this situation, I did not want to get involved because I felt that the security was being racist and gave special consideration to the white man.

The United States is a free and democratic nation – this means that people have to respect the laws and not just to do whatever they want. We, as a society, need to learn how to live together peacefully because it’s more beneficial to be a complete unit rather than just be segregated parts. It is important for the people of the United States to understand that laws do not only protect the citizens, but every individual living in this country, no matter what race they are. Religion, beliefs, behaviors, foods, and language are essential parts of Korean identity and therefore it is important for Korean immigrants to keep their culture alive even while living in the United States. Attending Korean language schools in addition to American schools is important for the next generation of Koreans to understand cultural identity, aside from making their parents proud.

In my opinion, discrimination is a serious issue and it needs to be solved. From my experiences as a Vietnamese immigrant in the United States, I can understand the racial equity and difficulty with the assimilation that the Koreans were faced with in coming to America. When my Vietnamese family first came to the United States, we had a hard time learning the language, a difficult time finding jobs, difficulties with assistance services. For example, when we applied for a job, we could not communicate with the interviewers because of our lack of knowledge in the English language. I believe my generation, the second generation of Vietnamese immigrants, are still struggling to be part of the American society even today. I also believe the Asian community will become an important part of American culture and will have the ability to integrate peacefully, collectively, and with sustenance to raise their family and show America they can enjoy an Asian culture and society.

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