January 15, 2012
Ethnic Groups and Discrimination
The Chinese immigrated to the United States in during the 1800s; Official records show that before 1857, 46 Chinese immigrants were in the United States. Over the next 30 years more that 200,000 Chinese had immigrated to the United States. This immigration wave was largely because of the push of the awful conditions in China and the pull of the discovery of gold, and, job opportunities in the west (Immigration and the United States, Schafer, 2006). During the 1860s railroad work was abundant. The two lines, Central Union and Pacific Union, were the largest employer of the Chinese and the Irish. Working the Central Union was dangerous work through rough terrain. The work was dominated by the Chinese. Despite being 90% of the laborers the Chinese were paid less that the Irish who were 10% of the laborers. This dual labor market continues until the completion of the railroads. Regardless of being the majority of the laborers, the Chinese were excluded from the Golden Spike ceremony in Promontory, Utah. After the completion of the completion of the railroad, the Chinese immigrants continued to accept work that others would not do. This caused an industrial dependence on cheap labor to fuel the American economy. The Chinese were welcome as the economy needed them. When the labor was finished, they were no longer welcome. The Chinese welcome was short lived because of stereotypes that were prevalent before immigration. American traders and Protestant missionaries spoke to the American people of the Chinese exotic and sinister manners. These stereotypes caused sinophobia. This sinophobia directly resulted in the “Yellow Peril”, a threatened expansion of Asian populations as magnified in western immigration (answers.com). Takai, in 1989, noted that the fear of the Yellow Peril shattered any appetite to learn more about the customs of the...