Highlights Of Voter Suppression In Asian America

Since the sixth of November is 2012’s election year, Mother Jones recently put out an article on the timeline of voter suppression in America. What’s interesting about the piece is that many individuals from Asian American history are right there on the timeline. Here’s a few snippets snagged from them with a few comments from us, and an extra tidbit we added as well. Can you throw in some of your own highlights from Asian American history and current events too?

The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act: Congress passes into law that voting rights and citizenship is denied to all persons of Chinese heritage. If this were still around today, that’s over 3.8 million people ineligible to vote.

Takao Ozawa is denied voting privilege in 1922: The U.S. Supreme Court denies Takao Ozawa, a man of Japanese ancestry, citizenship. He is neither white nor black as required by the Naturalization Act. Ozawa sought to reclassify Japanese as white under the act. Bold! But would Japanese Americans today have “white privilege” if he was successful?

Bhagat Singh Thind is denied citizenship in 1923: The Supreme Court denies citizenship to Bhagat Singh Thind because he does not qualify as white under the Naturalization Act. Thind was born in Punjab, India, and immigrated in 1913 to the United States and joined the Army. He may not have qualified as white, but he had a gun and knew how to use it like any true-blooded American, so let’s give him some credit.

All Asians are excluded from entering America in 1924 except for Filipinos under the 1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act: Due to the Philippines being an American possession after the Spanish-American War in 1898 and being classified as “nationals”, immigration from the Philippines increases by thousands. Unfortunately, they still can’t vote because they are neither black nor white.

These are a few pieces of Asian American history and voting. What can you add in the comments?

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About JohnnyC

Johnny C is a self-described Accidental Asian American: born in California and raised in Hong Kong and Manila, he spends his days traveling as a freelancer for various NGOs in development and human rights. An idealist and adventurer, his travels are both for work and fun, while sharing stories through his pictures, videos, and writing. When he's not dance-walking to indie rock songs on his iPod in cities around the world, he's usually got himself engrossed in a science fiction novel traversing the portals of reality.
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