Research Proposal





Research Proposal


Name: Cheng Dong

Age: 40 years

Occupation: proprietor of a mid-sized cafeteria

Marital Status: married

1.) Where is your ancestry?

The southern region of China

2.) Are you aware of the first person from your lineage who migrated to the United States? If yes, during which period?

Yes, my parents migrated to the United States in the 1950s.

3.) What was the main intention of the initial immigrants?

They sought to improve their living standards and those of their dependent relatives by acquiring employment in this foreign nation.

4.) What challenges did you face in your initial stages of existence?

  • financial difficulties since my parents did not have a stable source of income
  • difficulties in acquiring quality education due to lack of sufficient resources
  • bigotry at the workplace and other social settings based on my ethnic background


The Asian American history discusses the origin, challenges, and migration of the Americans with an Asian ancestry. A detailed evaluation on the Chinese population as part of the Asian Americans indicates the major problems that defined their existence in the ancient periods as well as the transformations that occurred in latter periods (Junn and Masuoka 735). Based on these facts, this discussion will use the information obtained from an interviewee with the main aim of identifying and describing the major themes integrated in this history. Evaluating his background in relation to these historic themes will be useful in comprehending the challenges of these immigrants as well as the social, economic, and political adjustments that either facilitated the migration process or discouraged them from entering the physical borders of the United States. In this case, racial discrimination and financial challenges were some of the problems faced by Americans of the Chinese descent following their migration into the United States (Kim-Ju, Wayne and Cara 437).

Personal Background

Cheng Dong is an inhabitant of the United States with his ancestral home being the southern region of China. He is 40 years old and owns a medium-sized cafeteria in California. His family unit, which is also in this state comprises of his wife, three male children, and her elderly mother. As he indicates in the interview, his parents relocated to the United States in 1950 with the main aim of improving their living standards. They perceived this country as a zone with numerous opportunities that would increase their financial capabilities as compared to the Chinese region. Three years after his birth in 1974, his father passed on in a fatal road accident. This event was devastating for the entire family especially since his mother was an unskilled worker in the fisheries industry. The lack of tuition fees and other required resources hindered him from acquiring education from a formal academic institution of higher learning.

            At the age of 15, he had to cooperate with other members of his family in order to earn a descent living. Accordingly, he sought informal employment in the construction industry. In addition to the merger earnings received from his informal occupation, he faced countless incidences of discrimination in the workplace. Subsequently, his family struggled to acquire basic amenities including decent housing and quality healthcare. His younger siblings also had trouble in acquiring quality education due to their financial limitations as well as the high level of bigotry in some of these academic institutions. However, he was able to establish a cafeteria that has recorded immense physical and operational growth over the years.

Historical Relevance

Cheng represents a larger percentage of Americans who originated from China and other regions within the Asian continent. Statistics indicate that 5.4 % of the total population in the United States has an Asian ancestry (Kim-Ju, Wayne and Cara 437). One of the significant immigration phases occurred in the 1850s. This period marked the California Gold Rush. In China, the Qing Dynasty was unstable, an aspect that affected the political and economic frameworks of the southern region of China. The Taiping Rebellion and Opium Wars worsened the situation. This propelled a larger percentage of the inhabitants to migrate to the United States in search of employment. Most of these immigrants worked in the informal subsections and formed groups that protected them from the hostile coworkers and private employers. During this period, the Chinese Exclusion Act was still applicable and the legal formulators used the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to increase the taxes paid by this group of immigrants (Kim-Ju, Wayne and Cara 437). 

            However, his parents migrated into the United States when the Chinese Exclusion Act was inapplicable. During this period, most nationalized agencies and other participants in the public and private subsections recognized the civil liberties of this group of American citizens (Junn and Masuoka 729). Accordingly, a significant number of individuals from the Chinese descent acquired influential positions in political, commercial, and social platforms. For example, John Wing served as the first Chinese American mayor. He governed the township of Mississippi between 19565 and 1973. In addition, the death of Vincent Chin in 1982 initiated the Asian American movement. As a way of honoring him and promoting the civil rights of the Chinese Americans, the Highland Park in Michigan became a rallying zone for Asian Americans (Kim-Ju, Wayne and Cara 437).

            The difference between the existence of Cheng and his family unit and that of previous generations is mainly due to the legal provisions that discouraged the existing exclusion policy as well as other forms of discrimination. For example, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 disregarded all the former policies that prevented immigrants from Asia to acquire citizenship in the United States (Junn and Masuoka 730). However, this set of policy largely promoted racial discrimination. Through the concept of the visa quotas offered to the Asian immigrants, the administrative authorities counted an individual with two Asian parents against the national quota. This applied to persons born within and outside the geographical zones of the United States. Nonetheless, this situation changed following the endorsement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964(Kim-Ju, Wayne and Cara 437). These legal stipulations prohibited discrimination relating to one’s religion, race, gender, and occupation.


The background of Cheng Dong highlights the transformations that have occurred over the years in the legal, political, and social settings with reference to the Chinese Americans and other immigrants from Asian countries. In the 118th and early 19th centuries, The Chinese Exclusion Act discouraged immigrants from this geographical region to settle in the United States. However, in the later periods of the 19th century, the legal modifications enabled this population category to operate freely (Junn and Masuoka 729). The Civil Rights Act prohibited any form of bigotry with respect to one’s race, gender, ethnic background, or occupation. These legal provisions reduced the numerous challenges faced by Chinese Americas. However, based on recent statistics, a larger number of these individuals still live in poverty. The suitable environment in the modern American society has attracted more immigrants from China. They are part of the 16.6 million Asian Americans, which forms 5.4 % of the entire population (Kim-Ju, Wayne and Cara 437).

Works Cited:

Junn, J, and N Masuoka. “Asian American Identity: Shared Racial Status and Political Context.” Perspectives on Politics. 6.4 (2008): 729-740. Print.

Kim-Ju, Greg M, Wayne Maeda, and Cara Maffini. “A Historical and Contemporary Overview of Asian American and Pacific Islander Experiences: Immigration, Racialization, and Liminality.” Aggression and Violent Behavior. 14.6 (2009): 437. Print.

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