Sunday, March 23, 2003

A TV Show You Don't Want to Miss

"BECOMING AMERICAN: The Chinese Experience"
Date/Time/ Station: 3/25 � 27, 9 p.m. your local time for most
places on your BPS station. To be sure, go to: type in your
zip code on the left side, and the exact air time of your local station will
be known.

It's a 3-part Bill Moyers Special, each of 90 minutes. It is the
microcosm of immigrants' experiences in America. It applies
not only to Chinese, but all immigrants from Asia & Europe,
including the Irish, Polish, Italians and Jewish.

Part 1 illuminates the experience of early Chinese immigrants --
taking on jobs considered undesirable by American males. The Irish
had the same experience. For example, in the 1860s, Irish and Chinese
made up the bulk of railway workers.

Part 2 records the repercussion against the existence of "cheap
immigrant labor," especially in hard times and in areas where the
immigrants congregated. For the Chinese it was San Francisco. For
Irish, it was Boston. "No Irish Need Apply" was blatantly displayed
in newspaper ad in Boston.

Part 3 records the major improvement for Chinese as a result of
America's political needs. PBS stated: "At war with Japan, China
became an American ally. Chinese Americans found themselves
suddenly embraced by America's political establishment, and the
exclusion laws were quickly repealed. Chinese men and women moved
into factory jobs, the military service and other arenas formerly closed
to them."

Similarly, Irish won better opportunity in workplaces through
politics. The Irish became highly politically organized. Boston became
a political base. The fabled "Irish Mafia" in politics later propelled
John F. Kennedy into the Presidency in 1960.

As you watch the 3-part series, see if you would agree with 2
observations offered by 80-20:

(1) San Francisco and Boston were respectively locations where
repression against Chinese and Irish were the strongest. However, the
same two cities become the source of political power for Chinese Ams.
and Irish Ams, once they've learned politics!

(2) The level of YOUR achievement is linked to politics.
The bigger the group political clout the more individuals in that group
will be allowed to live to the maximum of their potential. Ponder a
moment the dramatic increase in the level of achievement of women,
blacks and gays, we hope you'd agree that 80-20 is telling you the
truth. There are still glass ceilings above us. Please do your share to
help build our group political clout.

When one is in Rome do as the Romans do.