1800-1890s Chinese Women Primary Source Gathering. Essay Example

Published: 2023-07-23
1800-1890s Chinese Women Primary Source Gathering. Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Race Women Immigration Asia Sexual abuse Essays by pagecount
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 471 words
4 min read

The Chinese had begun to arrive in the United States in large numbers by mid-1800s. They were majorly drawn to the United States by the promise of wealth and jobs associated with the famous California Gold Rush of 1848, as well as the construction of the Central Pacific Railway in 1863. At the initial phase of their visit, the Chinese were received with mixed curiosity and enthusiasm from the inhabitants. For instance, it is reported that they were few in number, and they seemed harmless. However, as they grew in number, the Chinese became the epicenter for the spread of physical violence and racial hatred characterized by mob expulsions, mass attacks, and lynching. The hostility meted on them by the Americans was partially because of the white perception of the economic threats associated with Chinese dominance. The Chinese women were forced into sex trafficking in which they were exported to California brothels. These women who had been introduced to sex work in Los Angeles and San Francisco experienced discrimination characterized by little care and medical attention. The anti-Chinese sentiments and white nativism were reaching some feverish pitch. This culminated in the enactment of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which was regarded as the first race-based legislation that has been passed in the United States. In the newspaper reports, there were growing concerns that the Chinese prostitutes posed unique moral and physical threats to the whites. The demonization of Chinese women in sex trafficking, particularly in the California newspapers, therefore contributed to the justification of the rhetoric deployed to support the enactment of the Chinese Exclusion Act. However, the implementation of the Chinese Exclusion laws proved less effective in ending sex trafficking.

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The early Chinese women performed both sexual and economic roles, assisting in the maintenance of the family structure by helping the young single Chinese male labor force and, at the same time, working as prostitutes in the brothels. It is worth noting that the Chinese women were not willing to join prostitution but were forced into the activity by the white sex and human traffickers. Therefore, my in-depth observation is that the reports in the California newspapers stereotyping the Chinese women as sex traffickers were simply deployed to justify anti-Chinese agitations and the Chinese exclusion Act. Again, following the prohibition of the Chinese men from bringing their wives and families with them, they were forced to seek sexual satisfaction from the Chinese women prostitutes. Such sexual deviancy of the Chinese men would have been avoided in case they were allowed to come along with their wives and families. As such, I find that the rhetoric such as sexual deviance of Chinese men, the heathenism of Chinese women as baseless and merely employed to justify the enactment of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 as witnessed in the newspapers of California.

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