Chinese migrant laborers Discussion Question


Question Description

Answer just one of the four questions below in a paragraph or more, and then include the REFLECTION (another paragraph or more) described below them. The questions relate to the material the are uploaded. Question 3 and the REFLECTION are examples of what is called "comparative race and ethnicity," that is, looking at how the history and culture of two or more ethnic groups are connected or interrelated.

  1. Based on what you've learned from the Ronald Takaki reading , what were the earliest origins of indentured labor in the U.S. colonies, and who were the original indentured laborers? How did indentured labor develop into chattel slavery?
  2. Based on what you've learned from the Ronald Takaki reading , what was the social experience of Chinese migrant laborers like in the U.S.? How were they treated by businesses and politicians? How were they pitted against other ethnicities in the labor market?
  3. In what ways was the history of the introduction of Chinese migrant labor connected to the end of African-American chattel slavery in the United States? In what ways were their experiences of labor, servitude, or exploitation similar or different?
  4. Based on what you've learned from the Ronald Takaki reading on the history of Mexican-Americans, or Chicanxs, how is their experience of becoming a part of U.S. labor different from the experiences of African-Americans and Chinese-Americans? (Hint: Think about geography).

REFLECTION: Based on which question you chose to answer, how does what you've learned differ from or present a different perspective than what you may have been taught before in school (i.e. K-12 education in the U.S. or primary/secondary school in other countries)? Do you see any historical parallels between the experience of African-American slaves or Chinese laborers in the past with the experiences of Chicanx and Latinx migrants in the U.S. in the present?

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THE “TEMPEST” IN THE WILDERNESS The Racialization of Savagery A Different Mirror, Chp. 2 by Ronald Takaki Key Ideas • The English colonization of North America was facilitated by the racialized construction of the Native inhabitants as “savages.” • William Shakespeare’s The Tempest provides an allegorical insight into English attitudes and perceptions of colonization and Native people. 1611 • The Tempest is presented for the first time before British audiences. • “a masquerade for the creation of a new society in America” (Takaki, 25) • “invites us to view English colonization not only as imperialism, but also as a defining moment in the making of an English-American identity based on race” (Takaki, 26) • first ever representation of an “Indian” on a British stage The Tempest • Prospero - Duke of Milan; exiled with his daughter, takes possession of an island, plot centers on his use of magic spells and how he redeems himself by wedding his daughter, Miranda, to Ferdinand, the king’s son, – suggests the English colonizer • Caliban - (anagram for “canibal”) a native inhabitant of said island, who becomes subservient to Prospero, desires Miranda – suggests the Native American The Tempest, English colonization, and imperialism • colonialism - A policy by which a nation maintains or extends its control over foreign dependencies. • imperialism - The policy of extending a nation’s authority by economic or political means over other nations. The Tempest was “first performed after the invasion of Ireland before the colonization of New England.” Other definitions of colonialism and imperialism • colonialism – control by one power over a dependent area or people; a policy advocating or based on such control • imperialism – the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation, especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas – broadly, the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence the social construction of race • P. 33 – “All if these cultural constructs of Indians at this point in time were either the fantasy of Shakespeare or the impressions of policymakers and tract writers in London.” – Establishing, defining, and perpetuating notions about a people or culture through social customs and processes , such as laws, policies, published documents (tracts, scholarship), literature, mass media, etc. – Creating categories of people; taxonomy • not necessarily based on empirical facts, but impressions and ideas about a people or culture The English define “civilization” vs. “savagery” • “civilization”= us • “savagery” = them – socially constructed ideas that use racial terms – applied in three sites: • Ireland • Virginia • New England Ireland • Ireland was still being colonized at the time of the play’s premiere. • The Irish were viewed as “savages.” – This set the model for ideas that would be applied to other Native peoples. • How and why were both the Irish and Native Americans viewed this way? – They had no sense of private property. – They had no enclosed lands, gardens, or orchards developed purely for agricultural surpluses; their agriculture was based on collective subsistence. – They lived in settled villages and towns, no major cities. The Tempest in America • allusion to the main land off the “Bermoothes” (Bermuda) • Shakespeare – knew officials who had participated in the colonization – was familiar with the accounts others gave of the land and its people • natives were brought back to England as “savages” for exhibit English colonization • Virginia – An agricultural colony; influenced and sustained by Native American customs – the competition for resources leads to conflicts; • How does imperialism and the goal of developing mercantilism play a role in this situation? • The colonists wage total war against the Native Americans – but notions of “nurturing” the Natives still exist – Jefferson; raised in Virginia, familiar with local Native culture • What is his position on Native Americans? (p. 47-50) New England • Settled by the Puritans; escaping religious persecution and status as outcasts in England; – “city upon the hill” (John Winthrop) – religious beliefs heavily influence social constructions of race • Natives = “uncivilized” = more into their bodies (passions, pleasures of the flesh), than their minds? • tied to morality • “The social construct of race occurred within the economic context of the competition for land.” (Takaki, 39) • Natives are “demonized”; removal regarded as an ‘act of God’ (diseases) • less fertile land available; rise of agriculture and mercantilism, but no staple crop in the region In general, • rise of plantations • removal, relocation, and genocide perpetuated against Native Americans • rise of indentured servitude; antecedents of “American labor” THE ‘GIDDY MULTITUDE’ The Hidden Origins of Slavery A Different Mirror, Chp. 3 by Ronald Takaki Caliban as African slave: social constructions • bastard child of a demon and Sycorax – “a witch who had lived in Africa” • negative connotations associated with people of African descent in English society – sexualized (Caliban desires Miranda) – ‘dark’ = negativity – Africans = “apes” Sycorax • “Greek in origin; ‘sus’ means ‘swine’ while ‘kórax’ means ‘raven’. Together it is ‘swineraven’.” • “the literal translation of Sycorax from its Greek ‘Es kóraskas’ to idiomatic English is ‘Go to Hell.’” – “The Tempest Witch Project,” by Melissa Glossup – Emergence of American laborers • Early to mid 17th Century: “most workers were white indentured servants” – England – Germany – Ireland • many came involuntarily • kidnapped; Irish “slave-trade” Native and African slavery • Why did Indian slavery not develop? • African enslavement – captured in their homeland; tribal wars and raids create captives – sold to Dutch slave traders • See also “Is Yellow Black or White” by Okihiro – initially brought to the colonies as indentured servants European and African indentured servants: the new “American” labor class? • common condition = unfree laborers • miscegenation (race-mixing) in the early 17th century? – (p. 55-56) From indentured to slave • Mid 17th. Century – Euro and African indentured servants are gradually distinguished from each other. – “special treatment”; further limits on individual freedoms for Africans – European servants are severely punished, but Africans were made servants for life; – more valuable than white indentured labor, “due to longer period of bound service” (life!), but degraded as slaves – “status of property” (p.57) Slavery and the Colonies • Virginia - rise of tobacco; institutes slavery; influenced by use of slaves on plantations in the West Indies • New England - no staple crops, less demand for labor, slavery does not develop to the scale of Virginia’s plantation economy Race and Religion • See Takaki, p. 59 – Africans and Christianity – Virginia laws limit social status, irrespective of religion. – What is the intersection of culture (religion) and race here? What kind of delineation is set? The Tempest and Class Issues • Trinculo - the jester • Stephano - the butler • They form an alliance with Caliban, the Native. Fear of Class Warfare • The problem: laws intensify the division and separation between “white” land owners/merchant class and “white” freemen, who can’t purchase land. • “White” freemen in America become more frustrated with institutionalized classism. • Elites fear class solidarity between blacks and whites and the possibility of a rebellion against the rich. Bacon’s Rebellion • What happened? What purpose did it serve? • the aftermath – Black servants gradually separate from whites; more “special treatment” (punishment) – denying Blacks rights based on the color of their skin – in VA: elites pit whites and blacks against each other; blacks’ civil liberties are severely curtailed (p.67) I rq a ,-) H H H Fl *) a a H \ q) S \s \) l\ M Vt q o \ \ \) ,u srt rq *r H = bo sF'r 5e 3'EE uoo E AH gEI -9t 1SE C A; S9 q., E .YHci - kH *IP bPs .t F; -.oH lae(i -(!u O.r 6 * -C, o i

Tutor Answer

School: Boston College


Question 2
Based on Ronald Takaki reading, the Chinese migrant labourers had a traumatizing social
experience in the U.S. Their migration to the U.S. was as a result of the British Opium Wars, and
they saw the U.S. as a sanctuary. However, they were soon taken in as laborers for the
construction of the transcontinental railroad and also for cultivating agricultural lands (Takaki,
n.d). One of the painful social experiences they had to live with was the “foreigners” tag, in
which they had to dress distinctively to differentiate them from other labourers. This saw them
sometimes as subjects of segregation and savage treatment as labourers. Notably, despite their

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