In Chapter 8 of A Different Mirror Takaki talks about the experience and the reason why The Chinese immigrated to the U. S in the late 1800’s. He also talks about the work and jobs the Chinese people were able to produce. While some did experience the same discrimination and racism as many other immigrant groups during this time such as Eastern Europeans, Irish, and, later, Mexicans, the United States seemed to welcome the Chinese immigrants and their labor.
Takaki talks about a time when the Chinese workers were praised by a company president Laland Stanford and him referring to the Chinese workers saying, “They prove nearly equal to white men in the amount of labor they perform, and are much more reliable,”(p181). This same company had workers try to demand that the company stop hiring Chinese workers and the employer threaten to replace all the white workers with the Chinese immigrants.
In the mid 1800’s mid San Francisco became the main site of commerce to the trade close to the Pacific Ocean and needed laborers for agriculture and to expand transportation across the Pacific states. The migrants were made up of mostly able-bodied men sent here by their families nd wives to work hard and send money back to their families. There were many different reason why the woman did not migrate at large numbers like the men although there were few Chinese women here.
Some Chinese people were also seeking refuge due to hardships they experienced back in their home land. They experienced some of the same hardships the Irish people did: British colonialism, poor economic conditions, high taxes, natural disasters, and starvation. The United States was known for its promise of equal opportunity and the opportunity to accumulation of wealth. The West Coast became the new home for Chinese immigrants, particularly California and Oregon.
By 1870, a forth of California’s Chinese population made homes in San Francisco. At first, the Chinese people seem to be welcomed to California but over time was subjected to the changing political climate. Takaki also discussions his view of some of the hatred and anger the Chinese people began to experience due in part because of the tremendous amount of Chinese immigrants entering the nation meant fewer jobs for the “native” American people. It’s crazy to me that we see this imilar theme still playing out in today’s society.
There are some who have racist attitudes towards certain groups developing strictly because of their perceived ability to “steal” jobs that we previously done by a different group. In particular, there is a big immigration debate going on in the nation now due to some racism towards some of the Hispanic groups who have immigrated to the US. It is believed it is because they are willing to do work at a cheaper rate than other groups. In chapter 9 Takaki starts the chapter off with a sad and tragic story about the massacre at Wounded Knee.
The Sioux Indians began to form a sprit dance that was known as the ghost dance. The Indian prophet, Wovoka, called for Indians everywhere to dance the Ghost Dance and said it would bring back all games of every kind and return their dead relatives while causing the white people to perish. “Wovoka’s vision of a world without whites spread like prairie fire through the Indian country. Ghost dancing became the rage, seizing Indian imagination and mobilizing frustrations. ” (229) All the Indians began to participate in this dance hoping to get their land back.
When he government got wind of this Ghost Dance they set out to put a stop to it. The government, out of fear, “quickly identified the Ghost Dance ‘fronteners of disturbances’ and ordered the army to arrest them,” (229). When the army caught up with the Indian dancers they ordered them to hand over their weapons and after they handed them over they ordered a search looking for more weapons to collect. During the search a shot was fired within the crowd causing the soldiers to fire and brutally kill men, woman, and children who were mostly unarmed.
The Indians tried to get back to their weapons that were stacked but ost their lives alone the way. Massacres like this were accruing at many Indian villages, leaving hundreds of Indians laying dead or wounded. The aftermaths of these massacres was brutal, leaving the Indians to believe the whites were evil. “For Indian America, Wounded knee violently symbolized the end of the frontier. ” (231) White expansionism had begun to bring an end to the frontier and the way of life the Indians were used to.
Due to this “the ‘Indian Question’ had become urgent: what should be done to ensure the survival of the Plains Indians? ” (232) to people everywhere. The commissioner Francis Amasa Walker, believed that “since industrial ‘progress’ had cut them off from their traditional means of livelihood, Indians should be given temporary support to help them make the necessary adjustment for entering civilization. ” His plans called for Indian Reservations, where the “ultimate goal was the eventual assimilation of Indians. ” (233) Indians were to be taught the “American way” of life.
The Indians would be taught to be hard workers who will self-improve themselves, and also educate themselves. It was in Walkers hope these reservations would ake the Indians decent “civilized” men. In Chapter 10 of “A Different Mirror” Takaki go on to describes the new group of immigrant that arrived in the U. S. in the 1819’s the Japanese. He writes the Japanese were pushed here by external influence like the Irish. One of the main reason they set out to pursue the “new world” was because of their frustration with the taxes in Japan and economic hardship for farmers.
Although initially the immigrants from Japan were all men, there was a significant number or women crossing the seas as well. This is what made he Japanese different from the Chinese. The Japanese were able to find a loophole that allowed the women immigrants from Japan entry because they were considered “family members” This is where Takaki starts to describe the term “picture bride”. This is a term given to women leaving Japan coming to America to be married. This form of arranged marriages were only allowed pictures of each other until the day they meet in person.
The woman would be allowed to go to America depending on which son she married within the Japanese family. The woman who married the first son would be equired to stay in Japan where she would have the responsibility of tended to his parents and take over the inheritance. If the woman was to marry the second son, she would be allowed to move to America because the husband would be the one who had the responsibility to leave the family and find employment. Around this same time thousands of Japanese were relocating to Hawaii. The Japanese then settled within the sugarcane business and farming.
The management control decided to “Keep a variety of laborers, that is different nationalities, and thus prevent any concerted action in case of trikes, for there are few, if any cases of Japs, Chinese, and Portuguese entering strike as a unit. ” (252). Takaki then goes on to graphically describes the awful work conditions and how they were living in dormitories and worked from dusk till dawn. The workers were given number and were never called by there names. The field work that they were doing was punishing and brutal and the Japanese workers began to protest, organizing themselves into “blood unions” (258).
Chapter 11 in A Different Mirror Takaki goes on to talks about the Jews migration from Russia. They came to America as settlers. Both men and women made that trip in search of freedom. They had been hearing stories about freedom and a better life everywhere, “The distant land was viewed as a “Garden of Eden, “the golden land,” where Jews would no longer be enslaved by “dead drudgery,”(264). The Jewish had begun to receive letters from others already in Ame free world. They often describing their new lives as being plentiful. Ones that were once known as peddlers were now ica encouraging them to join them in the known as business owners.