- Before the Chinese Exclusion Act, This Anti-Immigrant Law Targeted Asian Women
It feels like we’re constantly getting news of violence against Asians particularly in US. It’s infuriating, especially because this issue is not new. The US has historically mistreated minority groups including East Asians as seen in the Page Act 1875, Chinese Exclusion Act 1882 and Japanese Internment Camps during WWII.
- 1850s, many Chinese came to the US to flee from the Opium Wars.
- Chinese workers joined the Gold Rush and were pivotal in building the Transcontinental Railroad and many other infrastructures.
- Seen to not belong in America.
- Seen as racial threat to “pure white America”.
- Seen as economic threat in labour.
- Seen as religious threat to “Christian America”.
- Seen as disease-ridden to dehumanise Asians.
- Asian women were scapegoated for spreading STDs.
- East Asian women were barred from entering US.
- Male counterparts couldn’t set up families and root down in US.
- Interracial marrying was also prohibited.
- US declared Chinese immigrants ineligible to gain citizenship.
- Only very few Asian American families were formed.
These Acts set precedence for discriminating against a specific immigrant group and paved the way for other discriminatory immigration policies. America is a nation built by immigrants, but I guess it depends which kinds of immigrant gets to stay.