Racism in California: A Reader in the History of Oppression

By Roger Daniels; Spencer C. Olin Jr. | Go to book overview

15
California's Discrimination Against Filipinos, 1927-1935

H. BRETT MELENDY

H. Brett Melendy, for many years a professor of history at San José State College, is now on the faculty of the University of Hawaii. Here be examines the oppression suffered by the least studied and the least upwardly mobile of all the Asian nationalities in California.

WESTERN people are brought up to regard Orientals or colored peoples as inferior, but the mockery of it all is that Filipinos are taught to regard Americans as our equals. Adhering to American ideals, living American life, these are contributory to our feeling of equality. The terrible truth in America shatters the Filipinos' dream of fraternity.

I was completely disillusioned when I came to know this American attitude. If I had not been born in a lyrical world, grown up with honest people and studied about American institutions and racial equality in the Philippines I should never have minded so much the horrible impact of white chauvinism. I shall never forget what I have suffered in this country because of racial prejudice.1

Thus cried out Carlos Bulosan for Filipinos in 1937 against indignity and injustice. Those Filipinos, residing on the Pacific Coast during the 1920's and the 1930's were victims of anti-Asiatic hostilities which the western States had perfected over the years against Chinese, Japanese, and "Hindus." The basic motive of Asiatic discrimination was legislation leading to exclusion. Though the 1924 Immigration Act appeared to complete the exclusionist's program at the close of the 1920's, Californians became concerned about what they called the third Oriental invasion.

____________________
SOURCE: H. Brett Melendy, "Califo rnia's Discrimination Against Filipinos, 1927-1935," in J. M. Saniel, ed., The Filipino Exclusion Movement, 1927-1935-Occasional Papers No. 1 ( Quezon City, Philippines: Institute of Asian Studies, University of the Philippines, 1967). Reprinted by permission of the author and the University of the Philippines.
1
Letter, Carlos Bulosan to Dorothy Babb, Los Angeles, Dec. 12, 1937, in Carlos Bulosan , Sound of Falling Light: Letters in Exile, ed. Dolores S. Feria ( Quezon City, 1960), 191-192.

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