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Betty pitayo

December 4, 2017

History 1700

DA #2

Chinese Immigration

Coming from another country to the Unites States for a better life is the American

dream. Not knowing the language, risking their lives, leaving everything and everyone they

have ever known to make a better life for themselves and their children is what immigrants to

America have always hoped to achieve. The article On The Evils of Chinese Immigration

(1878) describes the story of some 24,000 Chinese immigrants who migrated to the state of

California in the 1800s and what the legislators who lived there thought of them. The speaker

characterizes the Chinese as people who contribute nothing to American industries, says they

cannot be relied upon as defenders of the state, and that they have no intentions of becoming

citizens. Legislators also thought they were taking away white labor. (pg.479 p.2) Despite all the

things the Chinese people have done for the state, the first speaker continues to focus mostly

on what he sees as the negative aspects of them in society. All of the ways in which he

describes the Chinese people can be interpreted as racism.

Chinese immigrants have made history in the state of California because they provided

many great services to the state including building railroads, working in mines, gardening,

general agriculture, and as domestic servants. (pg.478 p.6) However, even though they helped
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the economy in many ways, Foreign-miners were required to pay anywhere from $4 to $20 per

month merely for picking up claims that others had abandoned. In addition, the California

Legislature Act in 1885 made each Chinese immigrant pay $55 a year in taxes. Another thing the

article mentions is that every Chinaman over eighteen years of age was required to pay a

capitation-tax of $2.50. To be able to work one must have energy, so therefore we all must eat

to have the strength and energy to continue working. The cost of food for the whites was much

higher than the Chinese people. All they asked for was rice, dried fish, tea and a few vegetables

compared to white workers who demanded meat and bread. (pg.480 p.3)

Yo Phou Lee is man who was born in china in 1861, graduated from Yale University and

was an activist in spreading ideas of anti-Chinese discrimination. He wrote When I Was a Boy

in China which was a book describing how he grew up as a Chinese boy. The part of the

passage The Chinese Must Stay that was published in 1889 that refutes the claim that Chinese

immigrants are mostly criminals explains that the Chinese are the most law-abiding people in

the community. (pg.482 p.3) He describes them as people who are much less like to be

provoked and are extremely patient. He admits that there are some who have committed

crimes, but argues that that in no way means that all Chinese immigrants are criminals, even if

that is how California sees them. If Yo Phou Lee were still alive today, he would be very upset at

the fact that small ignorant things like this still happen in our modern society. People thought

that way in the late 1800s, and until this day there are still those people who think that just

because people are different, they must be bad. He tried hard to make changes to the way

society viewed his kinsmen not only to help the Chinese people but also for all other races. As

someone who is a racial minority in America today and speaks another language in addition to
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English, I often find myself in situations where I feel similar to how he must have felt then, but

in present day.

Chinese immigrants in the 1800s did not take away from their white counterparts in the

labor force. They came to this country with the purpose of bettering their situation in life.

Compared to their country, they knew if they came to the United States they would receive

higher pay for their labor. I assume it did not take them very much time to think about coming

here for a better chance at life. Who wouldnt think about coming here if it meant to have a

better life? I have first hand experience in this situation as my parents migrated here from

Mexico in their early 20s and they left their country and risked their lives to come here to give

my siblings and I a better life than they had. I have listened to their stories and those of other

people close to me whose families also came here for the same purpose and now that Trump

has ended DACA, it is scary to know how many will live in fear once their work permit expires.

As Yo Phou Lee argues in his passage and as many are arguing now in present day America, all

immigrants are people who have feelings and have the same desires to have better lives and

provide better lives for their children. Being different does not make a group of people any less

deserving of a good life and in fact, diversity provides more benefits than drawbacks. After all,

without immigrants what is America?