Article Critique

Topics: Trade union, Capitalism, Labour movement Pages: 6 (2104 words) Published: April 8, 2013
Part 1. Identify the Articles
From David Goutor, ‘Drawing Different Lines of Color: The Main Stream English Labour Movement’s Approach to Blacks and the Chinese, 1880-1914’, Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas 2(1), pp. 55-76. 2005, Duke University Press. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the publisher From Catherine Carstairs, ‘Deporting Ah Sin to Save the White Race: Moral Panic, Racialization, and the Extension of Canadian Drug Laws in the 1920s’, Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 16(1) (June 1999): 65-88. Part 2. Summarize the Contents

First piece of our interest, “Drawing Different Lines of Color” by David Goutor, as the name suggests, portrays how the labour unions viewed Blacks and Chinese differently and why. The piece gives readers concise and detailed perspective of the labour unions on Blacks and Chinese as workers in Canada. It also provides readers with general attitude of the period towards Blacks and Chinese in the British Empire and United States. According to Goutor, unionists saw Chinese as a ‘menace’ to their jobs. Goutor states that Chinese were made into “embodiments of the economic, social, and cultural damage that they expected an industrial capitalist system to produce and made blacks into examples of people who broke free of an earlier but similar, form of tyranny” (p.270). Moreover, Chinese were also made into symbols of uncivilized, unmanliness and uneducated. On the contrary, Blacks were associated with past struggle and people who have endured centuries of unjust discrimination; and parallel were drawn between Blacks struggle against slavery and unionists’ struggles against capitalist society. Second piece of our interest, “Deporting Ah Sin to save the White Race” by Catherine Carstairs also entails the topic of Chinese in Canada of the same time period as Gouter’s article; however, Carstairs approaches the topic differently than Goutor. The piece contains many details on how Canadian laws associated with drugs and Chinese immigration changed in the course of 1910’s to 1920’s. Carstairs also provides many examples of anti-Chinese activities of the era inspired by ‘the drug panic’ and how it influenced the minds of public and lawmakers. Chinese were made into a menace to the society by writers, newspapers and politicians. They were frequently called vicious ‘dope-fiends’ tainting innocent and white youths; while the drug addicts were seen as poor creatures and victims. Part 3. State the thesis/theme of the articles

The central argument flowing throughout David Guotor’s article is based on the comparison of how the Canadian Labour Unions treat the Black and the Chinese race differently. Guotor states that Chinese were always seen as ‘menace’ to both the job market and the society by the general public and especially the Labour Unions. Guotor also indicates that Labour Unionists views of “blacks as engaged in a great struggle for social equality” (p. 264) and basically posing no threat to the labour market and the society. In both the introduction and the section entitled ‘The Bounds of Unity’, the readers are provided with many details on ‘how Canadian labour unions criticized and oppressed Chinese; fearing them and blaming them for all social and economic problems of the society at the time. In the second section, The Impending Flood, Guotor depicts unionists’ false belief of flood of Chinese always around the corner waiting to flush into Canada and take over white men’s jobs. On the other hand, unionists were never worried about flood of blacks from United States or other areas since they felt there was a safe distance from blacks taking their jobs. Large scale plantation farming had never been established in Canada; thereby blacks were seen to having no real place in any part of the labour force. In section three, ‘Slavery Times’ and ‘The Coming Crisis’ readers are able to see that there seemed to have been universal intolerance of Chinese workers in...
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