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Survival strategy for Chinese immigrants in New York - Research Paper Example

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Chinese immigration began in America pre-1850, but for the purposes of this paper, discussion will be confined to the limitations of 1880 and later. Within this paper I will outline the development of the Chinese population within New York. …
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Survival strategy for Chinese immigrants in New York
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Download file to see previous pages I will follow the continued growth of Chinatown and its divided two tier society that formed the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. I will discuss the ramifications of the Exclusion Act and the construction of the Chinese bachelor society. I will conclude with Ping Dong’s story of her entrance into the United States and the subterfuge she had to perpetuate in order to rejoin with her husband, following the lifting of the Exclusion and the entrance of War Brides after World War II.
In the 1850’s and 1860’s, Chinese immigration began with arrival in the Port of New York, which was a passageway for westward expansion and the California Gold Rush. , Many men from China moved west to pan for gold and seek their fortune, but instead “busted” with little success. Unemployed and unwanted, Chinese workers were hired for manual labor to build the railroads, cook and clean. When the railroads were completed, and jobs were more scarce, animosity quickly developed between the “yellow peril” and the white workers. Enmity grew so much that racism became legal; the Workman’s Party in California adopted the slogan, “The Chinese Must Go.” ...
Most left their families behind, hoping to make a fortune in the gold mines and to send for them, not expecting the backlash of harsh immigration laws aimed directly at their population. Most were poor and uneducated and worked at odd jobs, laundry, cleaning, and household help. Most were “unassimilated,” staying within the confines of the community for friendship and family, not easily conversant in English. As they were not allowed to become naturalized citizens, nor were they allowed to bring their wives, they were mostly a bachelor society, with men outnumbering women 27 to 1 (Foner 145). The Chinese community was close-knit, in part due to enforced segregation from the white populace, but also to provide for each other and for financial strength. It was common for a two room apartment to have 5-15 people, each with his own limited space. They slept in tri-tiered bunks, two or three to a bed (Burrows 1128). The Chinese looked to their own selves for self-support, they created a self-sustaining society with a government, social services, businesses, and jobs. In order to protect itself, the Chinese created the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, or the CCBA (McIllwain 215). It was through this association that one could buy a business, get a job, plan a funeral, or arrange for banking. This was self-governing and self-regulating for the Chinese community, a hierarchical system of courts within the community that also decided law and imposed taxes for the New York Chinese. Each section of Chinatown had representation through the Tongs. The Tongs collected the taxes and imposed the protection within the community. Chinese society was two tiered: Uptowners, or the Elite, mainly comprised of investors and businessmen, and Downtowns, or the Workers, made ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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