In 1982, a young Chinese man named Vincent Chin was murdered on a racial and ethnic basis. The cause of Japanese growth and exports to the USA. The new culprit, besides Islam, seems to be China. Similarly to Japan in the 1970’s, China has recently experienced an unprecedented level of economic growth and exports to the USA. However, the USA is suffering from a recession, which has led many young Americans to view China as a threat.
Among threats to the US, China is seen as being one of them. According to the 2012 study by Generation Opportunity, 6 percent of young Americans view China as a danger, 48 percent as an economic threat and 28 percent as both an economic and military threat. Moreover, young 62 percent Americans view national debt, 61 percent energy dependency and 50 percent indebtedness to foreign powers as one of the biggest threats to the USA. Then followed the threat of terrorism at 39 percent.
Asakawa (2011) argued that anti – Chinese sentiments come in circles. Anti – Chinese sentiment has existed for over a century. In 1870 they were blamed for unemployment levels of white Americans. Their cultural difference was viewed with suspicion. Their race was targeted because of dominance of social Darwinism as a social theory. In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed by the Congress, prohibiting legal Chinese immigration to the USA. Now, because of economic success of China, the Chinese are seen as culprits of the 21st century in the USA.
Multiculturalism is again under attack. Since the 1950’s, the American political scientists have been arguing against multiculturalism. Worldwide famous example is Samuel Huntington’s Clash of the Civilizations, which claimed that multiculturalism is a grave danger to the USA and that someday there will be a clash of civilizations. Others claimed that progress made by Enlightenment would be reversed as other cultures do not value democratic values the Western world does (Rubin & Verheul, 2009, p.9). Now, again, the threat comes from abroad due to globalization.
The approach to multiculturalism has focused on issues which do not account for globalization and social problems. The 1960’s movements called for respect of previously excluded groups such as women and African Americans among some. The USA was seen by many as a home open to anyone who wanted to immigrate. However, Lauter (2009) argued that the structures of power based on class were not eliminated and were instead accentuated. After 9/11, the new “other” became the foreign subject. Issue of the foreign became an issue of integration and access (Lauter, 2009, p.24). However, issues arising though globalization are legitimacy of one’s presence and what constitutes a viable political community (Lauter, 2009, p.24).
Though the USA has helped perpetuate sever inequality across the globe, the US citizens fail to recognize that they are not the only ones suffering from its adverse effects. Whether it is Mexican immigrants who lost their jobs in Mexico and are now working for a minimum wage in the USA, or African farmers who could not produce at a price lower than at which supermarkets sell, globalization has had adverse effects on many poor members of this planet. Currently, with rising Chinese markets, strong export industry and Western dependence on Chinese investment, many American citizens find themselves at a disadvantage. However, it is questionable how many individuals in the USA are aware of their effect on others.
Instead, many young Americans blame China for their foes. Not only have manufacturing jobs moved to China, but a current crisis has made them dependent on Chinese power. As a veto power in the Security Council, or a source of funding for the American economy’s ailment, China is very influential. Historically, China’s voice mattered little in the international and domestic political community, and instead, the US could impose its own politics. But the current change frightens many Americans: their identity as US citizens and members of a powerful and wealthy country.
The issue at hand is not whether China is a threat. Of course, the USA’s relative power is decreasing. The issue at hand is how the USA and its citizens will manage to deal with the fact that the benefits of globalization will need to be shared with other countries, and help will need to be sought from unexpected allies. Historically American citizens viewed themselves as wealthy, powerful, and a role model to the rest of the world. Since 9/11 all of these qualities have been threatened.
Leuter, P. (2009). ‘Multiculturalism and Immigration.’ In American Multiculturalism after 9/11, by Ruben, D. & Verheul, J. (Eds.).
Ruben, D. & Verheul, J. (2009). ‘Introduction.’ In American Multiculturalism after 9/11, by Ruben, D. & Verheul, J. (Eds.).