japonisme: lest we forget II

21 February 2007

lest we forget II

Problems arose for our people almost as soon as we arrived. In 1900, the mayor of San Francisco described us as completely inassimilable. The Issei, who were the first generation of immigrants that came to America had the hardest time fitting into society but began the basis of community that made things easier for each successive generation. When we tried to enter our children into the schools the people of San Francisco feared that we would flood the public schools with ignorant foreigners. In 1905 California newspapers campaigned against our potential threat to public schools calling it, "yellow peril". Both houses of the California legislature passed resolutions calling for the exclusion of our peoples on the grounds that we were unable to assimilate.

Furthermore, in 1908 President Roosevelt meet with Japanese officials to form the Gentlemen’s Agreement. This doctrine called for no new passports to be given to any more of our people outside of those who had already arrived here. This was an attempt to reduce the number of our people allowed to immigrate.

• • •

The U.S economy was in a depression in the beginning of the 1870s, which resulted in job opportunities for our people. So many people hated us because we were taking away numerous jobs from the whites and becoming successful. This hatred is what led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Between 1871 and 1880, there were 123,201 of us who migrated to the U.S. As soon as this Act took effect, however, the popularity of Chinese migration dropped drastically. The Act was extended for ten years in 1892 and indefinitely in 1904. In 1943, however, 105 of us were allowed to migrate here because we were a wartime ally of the U.S. when the U.S. declared war on Japan in 1941.

It has been mistaken that all of us Chinese Americans are both physically and culturally the same. We are often mistaken for Vietnamese or Korean Americans, while the Japanese are mistaken for us. We are often thought of as "foreigners" and are seen on television as faceless and not valuing life. Despite the discrimination we face, we strive to work to the best of our ability and, therefore, can be considered quite ambitious. This is how we gained the title of "model minorities."

The first of our people who were workers were referred to as "coolies," "heathen," "mice-eaters," and "Chinks." In the 1860s and 1870s, feelings of hatred toward us were felt in union policies, political platforms, and in the press.

from Asian Immigration to the United States Presentation

what really is the topper for me is the style that was used to make these posters. sometimes it's called admiration. sometimes it's called looting.



Blogger Princess Haiku said...

Your prolific and lovely entries leave me quite wordless. I do like that blue door.

24 February, 2007 23:16  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

and your words gladden my heart

06 March, 2007 22:49  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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