By Elliott Young
During this sweeping paintings, Elliott younger lines the pivotal century of chinese language migration to the Americas, starting with the 1840s at first of the "coolie" exchange and finishing in the course of international conflict II. The chinese language got here as workers, streaming throughout borders legally and illegally and dealing jobs few others sought after, from developing railroads in California to harvesting sugar cane in Cuba. even though countries have been inbuilt half from their hard work, younger argues that they have been the 1st workforce of migrants to undergo the stigma of being "alien." Being neither black nor white and current outdoor of the 19th century Western norms of sexuality and gender, the chinese language have been seen as everlasting outsiders, culturally and legally. It used to be their presence that hastened the production of immigration bureaucracies charged with seize, imprisonment, and deportation.
This booklet is the 1st transnational historical past of chinese language migration to the Americas. via targeting the fluidity and complexity of border crossings in the course of the Western Hemisphere, younger indicates us how chinese language migrants built replacement groups and identities via those transnational pathways.
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Additional info for Alien Nation: Chinese Migration in the Americas from the Coolie Era through World War II
In addition to fearing homosexuality and effeminacy among Chinese men, anti-Chinese activists condemned heterosexual relationships with Chinese men as a threat to women and to the vitality of the nation. 25 These sexual relationships provoked vituperative attacks that mobilized eugenics discourse to link the offspring of such unions to the decay of the nation. Anti-Chinese activists, politicians, and journalists throughout the Americas characterized Chinese in strikingly similar ways as thrifty and hard workers, on the one hand, and as conniving, diseased, dirty, and uncivilized, on the other.
When the Chinese came to Gold Mountain (Gam Saan in Cantonese), they were coming not to any particular country but rather to the Americas, a place INTRODUCTION / 17 where they hoped to find streets paved with gold. Instead they found a continent divided by boundaries, border patrol agents, restrictive laws, and mobs who wanted to kick them out. The Chinese transnational networks allowed them to evade those barriers, find jobs, establish families, and keep them mobile, ever on the search for the elusive Gold Mountain.
Although British migrants in the United States may have been aliens according to the law in the United States and Spanish migrants may have been aliens in Cuba in the early twentieth century, neither of those were aliens in the manner of the Chinese. The Chinese suffered from a double alien status, being outsiders both legally and culturally. The title of this book, Alien Nation, brings together the concepts of alien, nation, and the related idea of alienation. Aliens are literally those who are not part of a nation while at the same time being inside of it.