2.4 Living situation
The typical Chinese immigrant was a young, able bodied man who usually left his family at home and came as a workingman. He had no intention of staying in America but to send money back home to help his family (Wittke,1964). Mr. Wong illustrated: “’They told me that anyone who comes through Gam Saan will make money fast and go home as a rich man.’“ (Lee & Yung, 2010, p.71).
Statistics undermine these facts by showing that women numbered less than 10 percent of the Chinese American population making Chinese men a big part of the working people.
Consequently, especially the early arrivals didn’t see themselves as Americans but as Asians who would eventually return home and therefore continued their traditions like for example eating with chopsticks (Wittke, 1964). Thus, within the first years an immigrant...
In spite of their hard work and efforts that sometimes ended in death they were only paid $35 a month wich was two thirds less than the wage of white workers. But for them it was enough. As food cost between $15 and $18 and shelter was provided by the company, in the end they had $20 left for themselves which was more than they had in their home country (Daniels, 1988, p.19).
When the building of the railroad was over the Chinese came back to California and seeked employment. They found jobs in manufacturing, as laundrymen, as domestic servants as workers in vineyards. (Daniels, 1988, p. 19)
Today it is commonly known that among other constructions the transcontinental railroad would have been impossible to built without the Chinese (Wittke, 1964). In his book “Asian America“ Roger Daniels describes the treatment of the Chinese as a “gross exploitation“ and states that there were’t many other people in US history that “have been as exploited as the Chinese worker[s].“ (Daniels, 1988, p....
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