“Perpetual foreigner” is a common term associated with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. This sentiment can be traced back to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America and for Chinese nationals already in the U.S. to become citizens, and is also associated with the establishment of Japanese Internment Camps (aka Japanese concentration camps) during World War II. Individuals of Asian descent have historically been “othered” and this treatment continues today.
To better understand the history of the AAPI community in the United States, we have collected a few clips and articles that explain the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese Internment.
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act
- What was the impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act? - Clip from the PBS Documentary Chinese Exclusion Act
- Inclusion/Exclusion | United States vs. Wong Kim Ark - Clip about the Supreme Court case confirming the right to birthright citizenship
- The Chinese Exclusion Act - Full PBS documentary
- As Chinese Exclusion Act Turns 135, Experts Point To Parallels Today - Article from NPR’s Code Switch
Oregon's Japanese Americans - Clip from the Oregon Public Broadcasting documentary about Japanese Internment (starts at 13:35)
- Life In A US Japanese American Internment Camp - shorter clip based on the documentary
- This Was Life for Japanese-Americans During WWII - Clip from the Smithsonian Channel
- Revisiting Japanese internment on the 75th anniversary - News clip from PBS NewsHour
- Historical overview of Japanese Internment from the History Channel
If you are interested in hosting an event with your local AAPI caucus, chapter, or country committee, we have prepared an event in a box with materials to help you host your own discussion.