In Moon-Ho Jung’s “Introduction” and “Domesticating Labor,” he writes “Coolies confused the boundary between slavery and freedom, between black and white, causing the mass demand for Asian migrant laborers as well as appeals for their exclusion in the postbellum United States” (6). Coolies as I understand, is “cheap labor” or those with jobs that do not have employment benefits such as health care, or representation of a union. Coolies did not have unions to protect their job at the workplace, and most are temporary and hired for a brief moment of time, usually in instances where the regular workers are on protest or if the employers want to employ cheap labor to increase their profit margin. I think Coolies would have had a hard time in the United States with no protections for their jobs, nor insurances for their job in case of an accident which is probably the worse drawback. I would imagine Asians would not have been treated as well as the Whites or paid as much which is similar to how women are not paid as much even in the present United States. I believe Women only earn about $0.68 to every dollar. In Leti Volpp’s ‘”Obnoxious To Their Very Nature”: Asian Americans and Constitutional Citizenship,’ she questions Asian American citizenship and writes “For more than a century and a half, Asian Americans were barred from naturalization; and they continue to be viewed as a group whose loyalty to American remains in doubt” (71). I think that this is the reason these two readings were put together because they focus on the question mark of Asian American identity. Asian Americans in United States history did not enjoy the same benefits or protections as other White Americans with European Americans, though not citizens, receiving better treatment because of their race and color of their skin. Many Asian American writers point out how Asian Americans are constantly being interrogated or short-handed their rights in the case of Japanese Internment and the Exclusionary Acts. Japanese Internment was a disaster for Asian American rights because the United States decided to displace many Japanese people of their homes in fear of espionage or treason in response to the December attacks on Pearl Harbor. Although Exclusionary Acts barred new immigration, current citizens of that time period were still discriminated and denied a full set of constitutional rights which every American citizen could enjoy because they were either a member of the White race or because they were not Asian or categorized as inferior.

Discussion Questions

1. Do we still see Asian Americans being questioned of their identity as American due to their race?

2. In what instances can we improve Asian American presence and recognition as full citizens with a full set of rights?