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Far from being predatory, many of the first Asian women to come to the U. in the mid-1800s were disadvantaged Chinese women, who were tricked, kidnapped, or smuggled into the country to serve the predominantly male Chinese community as prostitutes.
The impression that Asian women were prostitutes, born at that time, "colored the public perception of, attitude toward, and action against all Chinese women for almost a century," writes historian Sucheng Chan.
Trade agreements such as NAFTA and GATT have broken down protections for workers and the environment in order to secure a free-wheeling capitalist global economy, and Asian workers, especially women, are suffering the worst of it -- laboring under worse working conditions and being forced to compete for the most degraded, worst-paying jobs.
Asian immigration laws have changed such that they new Asian immigrant is not educated and professional but working-class or poor.Asian America has masked a series of internal tensions.In order to produce a sense of racial solidarity, Asian American activists framed social injustices in terms of race, veiling other competing social categories such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and nationality.As Asian American scholar Gary Okihiro notes, "Europe's feminization of Asia, its taking possession, working over, and penetration of Asia, was preceded and paralleled by Asian men's subjugation of Asian women." While earnest, hardworking, and vital, these early Asian women radicals couldn't compete with the growing reality that for many Asian American women, there was money to be made. Not surprisingly, large organizations of primarily middle-class East Asian women flourished during these years.The highly educated and affluent Asian immigrants who came to the U. after 1965 were eager to be incorporated into the U. These groups devoted themselves to education and service projects, rather than to directly resisting social injustices.