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California is one of the multiethnic states of America consisting of five different ethnic groups with the Latinos and Latinas topping the list at 36% followed closely by African-Americans 32%, Asian Americans 20%, European Americans 9% and the Native Americans 2%.
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The state of California’s rich cultural and ethnic heritage has motivated the city council to put a house that will serve as “repository of community memories.” The importance of learning about the multiethnic heritage of California is reflected in the statement of one Californian which goes, “… it bring us together and makes us think that we are all the same people, we all come here for a reason, and we can live in harmony with each other” (Humanities). The importance therefore of learning about the multiethnic heritage of California is for everyone to have a reflection understanding of one's culture to be able to live in peace and harmony with each other.
The Great Depression
California’s history from 1929 to 1968 was full of important events wherein their significance still rings loud today as much as it did during the period these events had occurred. One of these events was the Great Depression during the 1930s caused by the stock market crash. Like in many other states, the impact of the great depression was felt in California creating labor unrest among foreign workers resulting in frequent riots among various ethnic groups. The migration of Dust Bowl farmers who were hardly hit by the Great Depression brought down wages and increased labor struggles towards obtaining a job. However, it proved that there was really no place to go as the Depression was all over America. In 1932 however, California shift its vote and supported Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was subsequently elected as President of the USA in the same year and him economic measures to provide jobs for unemployed individual American.
Just before California had the opportunity to arise from its economic slump caused by the Great depression in the early 1940s America was dragged into the Second World War. Although American cities never experienced the devastation of war, California experienced an invasion right in 1940 not by foreign forces but by Black Migrants. De Graaf, Mulroy, and Taylord (2001) stated that Black migration “swelled by 600 percent between 1940 and 1945”. The Second World War to some extent was instrumental in the transformation of the Bay Area to become the “largest ship building in the word in 1953. The Black migration in the Bay Area proved significant in this transformation as they served as the workforce “particularly in defense industries and in the shipyards”.
The impact of World War II was not all good. The Japanese Camp called Manzanar was a silent witness to the hostilities of World War II to Japanese Americans especially for the Japanese immigrants and their American-born Children, in Los Angeles Harbor who were suspected of spying for the enemy. The Japanese camps were War Relocation Authority created through the executive order 9102 issued by President Roosevelt in 1942 as a confinement for all the Japanese and Japanese Americans, during the Second World War.
Communism was the most important political issues that seriously rocked the state of California during the 1930s up to the 1960s. The anti-communist hysteria in California reached its peak in 1949 and 1950 affecting even Hollywood and its state Senate Committee. Kerr, Gade, and Kawaoka cited that the University of California was the most affected as “it suffered through the loyalty oath controversy” wherein university faculty members were dismissed for their political views.
The Korean War though very far had also an impact on the political developments in California. The Korean War was instrumental in the turnaround of many politicians whose views were radical and sympathetic to communist ideology. Goldstein 2001 stated that the impact of the Korean War… in changing the civil liberties climate is particularly evident in California.
Goldstein cited the move of Governor Earl Warren, who had previously opposed the University of California Regents Oath before the outbreak of the Korean War, called an emergency session of the California after the war erupted to consider legislation “relating to civil defense, disaster relief and subversive activities and civil-military service in connection therewith”.
Two of the ethnic group that yielded important contributions during this period were the Black migrants who comprised largely the industrial workforce, and, who played an important role in the development of San Francisco Bay Area, and the Mexicans who aside from being the second largest migrant ethnic groups, they form the workforce in the agricultural and mining industries.
During the 1930s and the 1940s however, Black migrants were facing job inequality which was the most pressing issues during this time. The black workers struggles for equality had lead to strikes not only in California but all throughout the United States. The Mexican Migrants, however, were struggling to gain worker’s rights. The issue confronting this problem was that they were considered as “unwanted people who could be expelled at any time”. Thus, they fought their way to gain recognition of their rights as migrant workers.
The ethnic and cultural diversities in California depict the state’s ability to manage multiethnic people in a way they coexist in harmony and in peace. The struggles that experienced by most of these ethnic groups were gone and everyone is enjoying the blessings of equality which were not available in the past.
The state of California for all the great events comprising its history that challenged the existence of diverse ethnic and culture have emerged as a state that values both ethnic and cultural diversities. The lessons it has learned from the past experiences has made its people be more tolerant of others cultural expression and leaving behind the evil of discrimination. Today’s picture of the state of California therefore which is home to diverse ethnic people and were accommodating to other cultures were a result of the long struggle its people had survived. Therefore, it is important for everyone to learn about its history to able to understand its course and the behavior of its people.
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