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Free «Immigration of the Korean to the United States» Essay Sample


Immigration of the Korean to the United States occurred in three distinct phases, in the first phase of the early 20 century, there were a relatively small number of immigrants. The second phase comprised of mainly students who are motivated by the good educational opportunities.  The third phase is largely influenced by the liberalization of the US quota system and since then the number of Korean immigrants to the United States has grown dramatically. Korean-Americans are upwardly mobile with a median income 40 percent more than the national average and with a 54.7 of attainment of the college degree that is twice the national average. The Korean immigrants exhibit a higher rate of entrepreneurship than the average Americans. The business density of Korean is more than half of the national average of the US population. The Korean-American community is characterized by a high level of economic achievement, entrepreneurial activity, and the upward social mobility.  Family is of utmost important to Koreans and the family structure is male oriented and men make decisions in the family. Parents are strict to their children and individualism is not a virtue, and Korean children feel pressure to accept certain goals and aspirations of the family as their own. The hierarchical relationships govern the families of Korea and elders are shown deference at all times.

Present Study

The present study  is based on the sociology of the immigrants based in United States, and the research study is based on the literature review on the topics such as

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Economic activities of Korean immigrants in the US

Family relationships of the immigrants

Patriarchal nature of the family

The article attempts to explain why a large proportion of Korean immigrants prefer small businesses, Based on the interviews from randomly selected Korean businessman of Atlanta, the author infers that the orientation of the Koreans towards businesses is not influenced by the factors such as temporary orientation and the perceived indiscrimination of their race. The immigrant Korean perceives that there are disadvantages in non-business occupations, an inconsistency of the status, and they believe that there is economic mobility through the business. The research findings have theoretical significance as the inconsistency of the status and mobility were not applied to small businesses and sojournment and discrimination by the host country of the Korean immigrants have been highlighted as the explanatory variables for the entry of minority members into the small businesses.

The authors observes from the research studies that one third of the Korean immigrants run small businesses and these entrepreneurs serve the neighborhoods that are dominated by the blacks and Hispanics.  The growing presence of Korean in the businesses is the cause of the anger for blacks and Korean became the targets for the wrath of struggling black customers and shop owners. The black merchants allege that Korean merchants undercut the prices while the black customers complain that Koreans overcharge them.  The author states that Korean in the Los Angeles County are not encountered with such a type of hostility from the Hispanic communities. The authors in their  research study has reviewed the racial, socio-psychological, and materialistic aspects for the antagonism and many theories were unable to explain why this exists with only the black communities when the same deprivation exists for the Hispanic dominated communities. The authors explain this with the immigration theory which focuses on the high percentage of foreign born among the Hispanic and Korean communities.  The authors observe that racial antagonism is highest between the Korean and black communities and lowest between the Korean and Hispanics.

The author of the article took up a research study on the conflicts between the black communities and the Korean merchants who are actively engaged in small businesses.  The data was obtained from the interviews with the community leaders, merchants and data was also obtained from the secondary sources. The manifested sources of the conflict between these two groups include cultural misunderstanding, problem with communication, economic competition, and the structural changes that occurred as a result of the large scale settlements of the Korean in the black communities. In the history of Koreans settled in the US there was a racial prejudice and there is an inconsistency regarding the status of the Koreans. This has created anxiety among the Koreans.  The previous experiences of blacks with the non black shop owners and the perceptions of the blacks that they are powerless have provoked them to stop the influx of whites and Asians into their community.  The author from his research study suggests that an in-depth understanding of the source of conflicts is required not only by focusing on the structural changes but also the historical and psychological dimensions of the conflict.

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The author analyses major problems of Korean entrepreneurs in US and the research study is based on the interviews with Korean immigrants based in Los Angeles and  the study is also supported by personal observations, interactions with the Korean communities. Korean business men spend long hours in work which is detrimental for their well being and their businesses are mostly small which are frequently subjected to robberies, strikes and various forms of rejections.  In addition the Korean entrepreneurs are vulnerable to exploitation as they are dependent on suppliers and land lords for leased buildings. Due to their involvement on small businesses they are faced with the status inconsistency and the segregation of the Korean immigrants into the ethnic sub economy, in an effort to enhance the ethnic attachment as well as the ethnic solidarity hampers the cultural and social assimilation.

The authors observe that the Korean immigrants exert middleman characteristics in the United States and the Korean immigrants are heavily concentrated in small businesses. Much of the proportion of the businesses owned by Koreans act as distributors of the merchandise to the minority customers on behalf of the large corporations. Korean merchants, maintain a strong ethnic cohesion that facilitates their commercial activities. Korean merchants are branded by the black customers as clannish, overly money oriented, due to which black population are hostile to them which results in violence, boycott, arson and looting towards Koreans. The authors in their research findings conclude that majority of the Korean immigrants of the United States exhibit the middle man minority characteristics.

The author in his research studies on why Korean store owners receive a greater hostility and rejection from the black communities than the Latin communities. The author observes that the perceptions of the Korean business man on the Blacks and Latinos, the relationship of the Korean with the employees, customers and neighborhoods are the cause of conflicts. The research studies were conducted by the author in the south central sections of Los Angeles where the Korean dominate. The author infers from the research findings that due to their common nativity status there is tendency of reduced feelings of social distance between the Koreans and Latinos. The difference in the nativity status between the Koreans and blacks increases the distance between them. In addition to this, the perceptions of blacks are that they are hosts and they deserve a social and economic growth before the immigrants prefer Koreans in businesses in their neighborhoods.

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The author analyses the causes for the easy adaptation of minority community such as Korean immigrants and their successful adaptation to the US economy when compared to the other ethnic groups. The Korean community has some special characteristics of mobilizing the resources to develop businesses as well as self employment. The development of businesses of the Korean immigrants is associated with various aspects of the minority groups and the survival of the businesses can be theorized in a frame work that would better explain the success of the businesses of the Korean immigrants.  The theoretical framework can be formed based on the complex interrelations between the economic and non economic factors.  The immigration owned businesses in the US can be better understood from the theories and models of the minority businesses that are integrated and embodies in family relations.

Based on the studies by the survey and ethnographic research in New York, the research article illustrates the discrepancy between the increased economic role of the women and the traditional patriarchal ideology of the husband is the cause of conflicts and tensions. In Korea only a small proportion of the labor force are women while a vast majority of Korean immigrant wives work outside home for a long time. Immigration has weakened the social status and the provider role of men with a parallel increase in the economic role of women. Most of the Korean husbands have not modified their rigid patriarchal ideology of Korea even though the economic role of women has increased as they are socially segregated from the mainstream society. The clash between the women’s active economic role and the patriarchal attitude of the husbands is the cause of serious marital conflicts in the families of Korean immigrants. The author explains that the frustrations of the Korean men due to their degrading social mobility and lengthy hours in the family stores are the causes of marital conflicts.

The author explains the influence of hegemonic ideals of the western masculinity on the already existing the fight of the Korean women to maintain gains in gender status brought out by migration. Women from US dominated countries involve in the masculinity ideologies before and after their immigration in the cross border process. The article addresses the transnational engagement of women and the hegemonic ideologies of the white masculinity of America with the help of a case study of Korean immigrant women. The research study conducted by in-depth interviews with the first generation Korean women in Los Angeles found that South Korean women used the hegemonic notions of the white masculinity to resist the rigid patriarchal attitude of the Korean men. The article reiterates that the radicalized view of gender relations used one form of hegemony to challenge another.

The author in this study observes the comparisons of life experiences of the elderly people and their adult children who are Korean immigrants. Generation differences between the adult children and their elderly parents were examined in terms of their life conditions in the United States. The research studies were based on the data collected through interviews of the Korean immigrants of the Chicago area.  The inferences were drawn about the life conditions from the young and the elderly and the life conditions of these two groups were found to be highly differentiated. This high differentiation is associated with the roles of the adult statuses, relationships in the family, and the Americanization experiences. The author also discusses the implications of these generation differences however  he observes a positive impact on the young generation.

The Korean has long history of immigration to United States and this has occurred in three phases with an increase in the number of immigrations in the third phase. The economic activity is more than the national average with the Korean immigrants as they are involved in the small businesses. Their involvement in the small businesses is a cause of conflicts with the blacks and the conflicts arise mostly with the blacks than their Hispanic neighborhoods. Most of the researchers attribute this to the least social distance associated with the Hispanics rather than with the blacks. The Koreans are targets for blacks and the blacks perceive Korean as greedy and money oriented and resort to violence and arson on the Korean shops. The Korean immigrants are vulnerable to exploitation by the shop owners and suppliers as most of the Koreans are involved in small businesses. The patriarchal nature of the family is dominated by the males and recent increasing involvement of the women in economic activities is the cause of conflict between the husband and wife. The marital conflicts arise mostly because the men are more attached to the shops and women are more active in the economic activities.


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