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Interracial Marriage in China - Essay Example

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The paper is focusing on an interracial relationship based on a novel In a Shantung Garden (1924), written in the early twentieth century, when attitudes were generally both classis and racist, the book tells the story of a ‘mixed marriage'.
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Interracial Marriage in China
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Download file to see previous pages      Historically, having a brand was a symbol or mark of identification and ownership – it labeled the person, significating what they were, rather than who they were; criminal, slave, and so forth, and the fact of being branded considered a sign of public shame and personal humiliation. Of course, this marking, including its accompanying reputation, remained with a person for the rest of their life.      The use of this word in the above statement, therefore, gives a very clear indication of the attitudes among the general population of the early 20th century towards the idea of interracial marriages. Not only were these types of relationships negatively viewed, but they were also considered as being both shameful and humiliating. Consequently, Tom Frew, his Chinese wife, and their unborn children, would have all been branded with this public mark of shame, of derision, and of exclusion in certain quarters. Early Twentieth Century Worldviews “It has been justly remarked that a nation’s civilization may be estimated by the rank which females hold in society. If the civilization of China be judged of by this test, she is surely far from occupying that first place which she so strongly claims” (Chinese Repository, vol. 2, 1833, p. 313).      Although this quote is earlier than the period that this essay is addressing, existing worldviews during the earlier twentieth century were based on similar principles, and were rooted within this theory. Within the 1920s, Chinese women were generally seen throughout the Western world, as demonstrated through the above quote, as representative objects of an inferior, underdeveloped society. Almost despised, considered second-rate, this very common worldview, meant that Tom Frew and his Chinese family would face severe discrimatory attitudes and practices where ever they chose to live. “Could he live anywhere, with a Chinese wife?” the statement demands. Only, it would seem, with the greatest of difficulties.      America, in the early twentieth century, was very suspicious of the Chinese, especially in relation to the influx of immigration. Chinatowns had sprung up throughout many of the major cities - the result of the clash of two distinctively different cultures - and although living in the same city, there was little attempt at integration by either the Chinese or American people. Each community kept within its cultural boundaries, holding onto its group identity, and ensuring the continuation of this through imposing restrictive laws that, for example, forbid interracial marriages.

Literature, both attacking and defending China, her culture, and her people, were published and widely read among the middle and upper classes. The Boxer Rebellion, which was still a recent event in many people’s minds, continued to shape and influence negative attitudes, with newspapers often reflecting anti-Chinese editorials that were both racist and discrimatory.     ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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