Asian Americans and African Americans are amongst the emigrant races found in the U.S. They began their entry into the country in the 18th century. The populations of these nations have increased considerably over the years. However, in the 21st century, under Trump’s reign, there has been a sharp decline in their populations. It is majorly attributed to the immigration laws put in place by the president’s government. In terms of religion, there is a widespread community of Christians and Muslims dispersed in the various states. Other religions are Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism while the Black Americans are Catholics, with a majority confessing no religion. As such, there exist peculiar similarities and differences in the ways how the immigration laws in the U.S. influence various races introduced in the country and, in particular, the religions they manifest.
The central subject of contrast is the number of Asian and African Americans who have been practicing Christianity since their immigration. While there has been a continuous decline in the number of Asians confessing Christianity, the amount of Black Americans have been on the rise. The major contributing factor is the increased number of settlers from China and India where Christianity is a marginal religion. They bring along their traditional Asian religions such as Taoism and Shintoism. Indians confess Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Majority of African Americans, on the other hand, have remained Protestant, historically following practices of the black churches, which began after slavery was abolished. Catholics and Jehovah witnesses add to the number of black Christians. As much as Christianity is the main religion in America, the percentage of Asians practicing it has dropped whereas Black American numbers have increased.
Asian and African Americans show similarity in their experience with the functions of religion. Despite the falling numbers, most of the Asians living in the country are still Christians. Christianity is the widespread religion in the U.S and its representatives include Asian and African immigrants and the people who switch religions. The acceptance of Christianity by Asian races, majorly Koreans, is a result of the active role that missionaries played in converting them in the early 20th century and persuaded those people to move to Hawaii, a Christian land (Chan 15). The migrants confess that religion plays an important part in their lives; therefore, they show commitment to their corresponding practices and beliefs. The Asian race is the major contributor to the de-Europeanization of American Christianity in the 21st Century. Identification with the evangelical Christian doctrine saw the intrusion of Christians from Korea, China, Japan, and the Philippines. The African American experience with religion is not different from that of the Asian Christians. Those migrants brought to the U.S. their local religious beliefs. Black Christianity arose from the Methodist and Baptist churches. In comparison to the other ethnicities and races in the U.S, blacks are the majority classifying themselves as Protestant. They have formed and joined a number of denominations in the United States, and their populations continue to increase. The Asian and African Americans, thus, demonstrate resemblance in their approaches to religion.
There is a distinct similarity in the ways how immigration laws affect the Asian and Black American races. There have been calls for a tightening of immigration policies in order to protect the vulnerable African-American community from competition posed by new immigrants. Widespread Asian immigration and African slave trade was as a result of the attempts to fulfill the labor requirements in the U.S. (Chan 5). The enactment of the Naturalization Law and the abolishment of quotas allowed the people of African descent to acquire citizenship. However, the measures set forth in the early 20th century restricted immigration from Asia and Africa alike. A repeal of the national quotas resulted in an increase in the immigration from the two continents. Under the Diversity Visa Program, there has been an increased inclusion of Blacks and Asians migrating into the country. President Trump’s administration, however, aims at ending the programs including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The immigration laws, for that reason, affect the Asian and American immigrants in equal measure.
Unlike African Americans, Asian Americans were excluded and experienced limitation to immigration. They were barred by the American laws from acquiring citizenship by naturalization. It was only after the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 when the U.S. received unprecedented immigration of Asians into the country. All along, African Americans were allowed to be citizens by naturalization. Chinese were affected by the Chinese Exclusion Act which prohibited the immigration of the Chinese Laborers. Additionally, Indians immigrated into the U.S. in 1907-10 in large numbers before the Exclusion Act was passed in 1917 (Chan 23). Generally, Asian immigrants received less friendly reception in the United States as compared to their African counterparts.
In summary, the Asian and African races in the U.S face similar issues in regard to migration laws and their religious practices. The main problem affecting them relates to the anti-immigrant policies endorsed under the different administrations. They have fought for decades to be considered the U.S. citizens. Since the immigration into the U.S. began, the country has seen the second and the third generation of immigrants, the children of the early settlers. In terms of religion, the U.S. is a multifaceted country embracing individuals from all faiths, which should be necessarily considered in the country’s legislation.
Chan, Sucheng. Asian Americans: an Interpretive History. Boston Twayne Publishers, 1991. 3-23,200-201.
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