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A Portrait
The Fight for Inclusion in 21st Century America

chapter 11 Black/Immigrant Competition 205 “On the backs of blacks?” asked Toni Morrison in a 1994 essay, con- templating the role of “race talk, the explicit insertion into everyday life of racial signs and symbols that have no meaning other than pressing African Americans to the lowest level of the racial hierarchy”1 in the as- similation of newcomers into a racially stratified society such as the United States. The question arises naturally in the context of today’s im- migration debate, after having served as a fulcrum of controversy among scholars and

85 Accounts about immigrants commonly focus on their struggles in the labor market and their eff orts to gain social acceptance. An equally important task is coping with growing children, whose problems and crises can derail the best laid-out family plans. General trends exist, of course, and we will examine them shortly, but equally important are variations around these averages. Not everyone is chosen for success, and, together with many immigrants on the way to fulfi ll their ambi- tions, there are others who encounter nearly insurmountable obstacles to

255 13 Walling Out Immigrants Peter Kwong Migration has always been a part of human experience—throughout history, people have moved to places that offered better conditions for survival. In doing so, new immigrant groups have typically had to confront the hostility of the groups that ar- rived earlier because newcomers are always seen as competitors for resources and jobs. In the United States, immigrant bashing has become a ready-made tool used by politicians to stir up popular support and distract attention from problems that are much more difficult to resolve

Chapter 4 Arboreal Immigrants 112 NATURAL BEAUTY AND FOREIGN BEAUTY On National Arbor Day in 2001 (April 27), the National Arbor Day Foundation announced the results of a four-month online poll to select America’s National Tree. More than 444,000 votes were cast. The oak won by a clear margin, not least because it comes in sixty varieties that are more widely distributed around the nation than the representatives of any other nominee. Despite its exclusively Californian identity, the redwood that had wowed Fairchild in his twilight years was a respectable runner

Peder Sather and Gold Rush California

northern Coast Ranges. Other immigrants were elephants of the mammoth type. Earlier, in the Miocene and Pliocene, the land had been occupied by great mas- todonts, elephant-like animals with short legs, long heads, simple pig- like teeth, and tusks in the lower as well as in the upper jaws. The mastodonts possibly survived until a few thousand years ago in some parts of North America. The mammoths undoubtedly reached North America by the Bering route and probably entered California f rom the north. Great herds wandered over the coastal lowlands and into southern

Strangers on the Land

45 Chapter 2 Students and Immigrants Until the end of the twentieth century, Japanese visitors to the United States were few and far between. Only three thousand or so arrived be- fore 1890, among them “undesirables” from the country’s lower orders: entertainers, gamblers, acrobats,prostitutes, and pimps.The majority,how- ever, were students. For centuries, the Japanese had seen the outside world as a threatening place. Under the shogunate, movement out of the coun- try (or back in) had been forbidden. But even before the Meiji Restora- tion, travel abroad became