The history of immigration in the United States is marked by instances of both acceptance and rejection of various nationalities. In the early 1900s, opposition to Asian immigrants became quite prominent, leading to the implementation of the 1907 Gentlemen`s Agreement with Japan.
At the time, Asians were seen as a threat by many Americans. They were viewed as low-skilled laborers who would take jobs away from white Americans. Furthermore, a deep sense of racial superiority pervaded the national consciousness, with many people believing that the “yellow race” was inherently inferior.
This led to the implementation of restrictive immigration policies, particularly against the Japanese. In 1906, the San Francisco school board passed a law separating Asian students from white ones. This law was met with fierce opposition from Japan, which threatened to end the flow of Japanese laborers to the US.
In response, President Theodore Roosevelt intervened and negotiated the 1907 Gentlemen`s Agreement with Japan. Under this agreement, the US promised to end the segregation in schools, and Japan agreed to restrict the number of new immigrants to the US.
While the agreement was seen as a victory by some, it was a clear manifestation of the discrimination and prejudice that existed at the time. It further solidified the idea that certain immigrant groups were not welcome in American society, and that they needed to be kept in check.
Today, we can see the lasting legacy of this agreement in the continued marginalization and discrimination of Asian Americans. However, we can also see the resilience and perseverance of this community, as they continue to fight for their rights and dignity in the face of adversity.
As a society, we must acknowledge and learn from our past mistakes, and work towards creating a more inclusive and just future for all. We must understand that diversity and inclusion are strengths, and that our society is enriched by the contributions of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Only then can we move towards a more equitable and compassionate world.