Testimony by Jeff, a twenty-years Minnesotan with two boys at Eden Prairie public schools
Thanks so much for making yourself available for listening to our voices and concerns regarding this data disaggregation legislation! The representatives from our Chinese communities here at this meeting have already made really good points about this act as both parents and experts in their fields. I now just want to relate our discussions today to some important history of this country.
Chinese, as an ethnic group, had been under serious discrimination in this country’s history. Back in 1882, US passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which was the first significant law restricting one ethnic group immigration into the United States. The act was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Chester A. Arthur. It suspended Chinese immigration for ten years and declared the Chinese as ineligible for naturalization. The act was then renewed in 1892 for another ten years, and in 1902 Chinese immigration was made permanently illegal until Congress finally repealed it in 1943 when China became a strong ally fighting with US in WWII. When this act was enforced, the registration of every Chinese resident in the U.S. was required to avoid legal action resulting in deportation.
Let’s take another look at the history. Jewish and Irish immigrants were very much discriminated in this country in the past. These groups and communities have fought strongly against such discriminations in education, employment and other areas. And today, these ethnic groups are all included under the White category and treated as Americans, without labeling them as Jewish or Irish any more.
However, by looking at the history, I feel the racial date disaggregation in this new act is moving our society backward to create more division and discrimination in this country.
With the memory of being targeted for racial discrimination in the history, we, Chinese immigrants, have been striving to avoid being labeled as Chinese on us and our younger generations. Our kids and our grand kids are born Americans like many other American kids, and they should feel safe and confident to pursue their education, their career and their dreams in this country like every other American. This racial disaggregation legislation would place a permanent racial label on every minority kid, creating basis for potential discrimination in education and employment. We refuse our kids being label as such, as “foreigners”.
To save our kids and other minority kids from the fear of discrimination, to give them the comfort and confidence to pursue their dreams equally as other American kids, I strongly urge the legislators in Minnesota to consider a new Act to protect our kids’ privacy of racial data. One’s race and ethnicity should not be something to be used to harm you in life nor help you in life. Such data shall not be collected and shall not be ever used in education and employment considerations.
Thanks so much for listening!