This paper analyzes the implementation of exclusionary citizenship laws against Chinese and Japanese immigrants from 1880 to 1940. It further analyzes the application of these exclusionary mechanisms to the Asian immigrant populations in Monterey County, California. It identifies how the agricultural industry in Monterey County by-passed these exclusion laws as a result of the favored labor force of Japanese immigrants. The paper compares the acceptance of Japanese laborers to the decimation of the Chinese fishing industry in the county, which caused the eradication of Chinese culture. Finally, the paper analyzes the retroactive effects of these laws to the current Feast of Lanterns festival, which inadequately celebrates and remembers that Chinese culture due to a white lens. In summation, this paper discusses the varied exclusionary mechanisms of Asian Americans: the violent methods to prevent Chinese and Filipino immigrant assimilation, and the relative acceptance of Japanese immigrants due to their dutiful labor in the agricultural industry, using Monterey, California as a case study, and finally how the achievement of Chinese exclusion is reflected in a manifestly amnesiatic history of Asian Americans in Monterey.
A Forgotten History: How the Asian American Workforce Cultivated Monterey County’s Agricultural Industry, Despite National Anti-Asian Rhetoric, 27 Hastings Envt'l L.J. 229
Available at: https://repository.uchastings.edu/hastings_environmental_law_journal/vol27/iss1/6