When I was in high school, my U.S. history teacher spent an entire month — I shit you not — teaching the class about Andrew Jackson’s love life, but he failed to spend even one hour focusing on the history of Asian Americans. It wasn’t until I attended college and did some research on my own that I finally learned about Vincent Chin, the Chinese Massacre of 1871, and the L.A. Riots.
This is an experience shared by many, if not most, Asians educated in western countries. There is a general lack of interest surrounding our history in the U.S. and as a result, the hard work of the first Asian immigrants to settle in this country have been reduced to a mere paragraph in our textbooks. With all the anti-immigration rhetoric in the news today, it’s more important than ever to brush up on our history, so here are 15 shocking facts on Asian American history that you’ve probably never heard about.