The Chinese, Unwelcome in America

Guest post by Lloyd Lofthouse

The first major wave of Chinese immigrants came to the US after the California gold rush of 1849.

Then in 1882, The Chinese Exclusion Act formalized an ugly American prejudice. In fact, there are still Americans who feel this way evidenced by a few comments left on this Blog. However, we are fortunate that more Americans appear open minded and accepting than those who do not feel that way.

This act stayed in effect de facto until 1965, when racist provisions of U.S. immigration law were removed during the Civil Rights era, liberalizing immigration by all non-European groups.

Most of these Chinese immigrants worked hard in industries like railroads, mines and canneries. The Chinese were willing to work for lower wages than European immigrants were demanding.

When there were labor strikes, companies often used Chinese workers as strikebreakers. This led to hate among European immigrants and demands that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese laborers from entering the US.

This was the first time the US passed a law to bar a specific race or ethnicity from entering the country. Source: Tenement Museum

Reprinted by permission. First published on August 30, 2010 at iLook China

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

 

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