Between the years of 1860-1890, around 250,000 Chi...
Between the years of 1860-1890, around 250,000 Chinese
immigrated to America. Hastily the immigrants came, which began to infuriate
the native-born Americans because of their different culture and acceptance of
laborious work for low-wages and stimulate anti-Chinese sentiment. Shortly the
Chinese-Americans were notorious for stereotypes such as being gamblers,
immoral, and barbaric due to their foreign cultural norms - which are portrayed
in a political cartoon of a Chinese immigrant being exiled from a classroom by
his teacher and fellow American classmates. At this time, Chinese immigrants
were not allowed citizenship due to their skin color, beaten, and driven away
from their homes by white men who blame the Chinese for America’s economic
people immigrating to America typically came without their families and worked
in harsh conditions such as building railroads for 12 hours a day, year round.
They yielded no threat of striking against the companies andaccepted lower wages
than whites because it was stillmuch more than they earned in China. Thus
companies hired Chinese-Americans over all others which began to enrage many
whites. Whites blamed the country’s economic difficulties on the
Chinese-Americans and created the negative stereotypes describing them as, “heathen,
morally inferior, savage, childlike, and lustful” (Takaki 205) out of spite.
Although, since it is normal in China to gamble on the streets, sleep and eat
on the floor, and practice their own religion publicly, these stereotypes were
reinforced. Furthermore, the Chinese women whom immigrated were typically
brought as prostitutes promoting the immoral and lustful stereotypes.
feelings and stereotypes Americans had towards Chinamen are depicted in a
political cartoon released by “The History Project”. The image shows a Chinese
student holding an ironing board and an opium pipe in each hand wearing unkempt
clothing being kicked out of a classroom by his fellow American classmates.
Usually only women and children did laundry and it was considered very immoral
to smoke opium, rendering the “childlike and immoral” stereotypes. To really
express how other oppressed minorities resented the Chinese as well, a black
student appears to be smiling while an Irish-American student holds a sign that
reads “Kick out the heathen; He’s got no vote”. This is ironic because African
and Irish-American’s have less than a whole vote at this time, but were still
ready to belittle anyone else if it meant they were not at the bottom of the
hierarchy of races in America.
1860’s, two-thirds of the Chinese population in America were working in
California mines. The U.S. then imposed a monthly tax on the foreign miners
that did not desire citizenship. This was a catch-22 because citizenship was
only given to white skinned foreigners. Throughout California, “Chinese were
beaten and shot by white workers and often loaded onto trains and shipped out
of town” (Takaki 201). This was intended to make the life of the Chinese
workers much more difficult and promote violent anti-Chinese protests.
Chinese immigrants benefitted from working in America and going back home
wealthy, but it wasn’t without its drudgery. After all of the prejudice,
racists laws, and hate crimes enacted towards the Chinese-Americans, The
Chinese proved resilient. Without their hard work, the Central Pacific Railroad
may never have been completed and America would be a much less diverse country.