Asian-American History: 10 Facts

Asian-American history doesn’t get taught much in schools (and probably even less so in Texas), but May is Asian-American Heritage Month (in case you didn’t already know). And Jenn Fang has compiled ten facts you may not know about Asian-American history. Here are the first five:

  1. The first Asians whose arrival in America was documented were Filipinos who escaped a Spanish galleon in 1763. They formed the first Asian-American settlement in U.S. history, in the swamps surrounding modern-day New Orleans.
  2. In the years between 1917 and 1965, Uncle Sam explicitly outlawed immigration to the U.S. of all Asian people. Immigration from China, for example, was banned as early as 1882, when the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. It wasn’t until the Immigration Act of 1965 — which abolished national origins as a basis for immigration decisions — that nearly 50 years of race-based discrimination against Asian immigrants ended.
  3. Because of their race, Asians immigrants were denied the right to naturalize as U.S. citizens, until the 1943 Magnuson Act was passed. Consequently, for nearly a century of U.S. history, Asians were barred from owning land and testifying in court by laws that specifically targeted “aliens ineligible to citizenship.” Even after the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, American-born children of Chinese immigrants were not regarded as American citizens until the landmark 1898 Supreme Court case, United States v. Wong Kim Ark, which established that the Fourteen Amendment also applied to people of Asian descent.
  4. Among the earliest Asian immigrants, virtually all ethnicities worked together as physical laborers, particularly on Hawaii’s sugar cane plantations. On these plantations, a unique hybrid language — pidgin — developed that contained elements of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean and English. Today, pidgin is one of the official languages of Hawaii, a state that is itself 40% Asian.
  5. Despite the Alien Land Law, which specifically prevented Asians from owning their own land, Japanese farmers were highly successful in the West Coast where they put into practice their knowledge of cultivating nutrient-poor soil to yield profitable harvests. By the 1920s, Japanese farmers (working their own land, or land held by white landowners that they managed) were the chief agricultural producers of many West Coast crops. In fact, the success of Japanese farmers is often cited as one of the reasons white landowners in California lobbied to support Japanese-American internment following the declaration of World War II.

You can find the rest here. And here’s a fuller timeline of Asian-American history.

Thanks to Angry Asian Man for the heads-up.

Increased health coverage decreases abortion rate

As abortion is once again an issue for debate in the current health care bill–does it or doesn’t it allow funding of abortions? I’d argue that the more relevant and useful question is whether or not it reduces abortions. Science, data, statistics, facts–whatever you want to call them–answer in the affirmative.

So let’s pass this bill and start bringing down the number and rate of abortions.


[Notwithstanding the fact that the bill very clearly doesn’t include federal funding of abortion. Sigh …]

Sobering numbers from Afghanistan and Iraq

Courtesy of Jen over at DISGRASIAN, a sobering look at some numbers.

The number of U.S. soldiers who have died in the war in Afghanistan.

The number of veterans under the age of 65 who died in 2008 because they were uninsured.

The number of U.S. soldiers who have died in the Iraq war.

The number of U.S. soldiers wounded in action in the war in Afghanistan.

The number of U.S. soldiers wounded in action in the Iraq war.

The number of homeless veterans in America.

The number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans treated by the VA since 9/11.

3,300,000 (3.3 million)
The number of U.S. veterans who receive disability.

24,000,000 (24 million)
The number of veterans in America.

3,700,000,000 (3.7 billion)
The cost of the Veterans Health Care Bill seeking to expand mental health coverage for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans that has been blocked by one senator, Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn (R), since May because Coburn believes the funding doesn’t exist.

930,000,000,000 (930 billion)
The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan thus far.