People from different countries immigrated to the U.S. during the nineteenth century. Among these were the Chinese who thought there were numerous opportunities in the U.S. After the Chinese migrated to the United States, they were puzzled as far as their identity was concerned. In most of the cases, the Chinese wondered how to combine their culture with the U.S. mainstream culture. In addition, the Chinese had a great concern about retaining their original cultural identity. Therefore, the Chinese living in the U.S. sought to answer crucial questions such as where they were going, where they came from, and who they were. The Chinese mainly immigrated to the United States in search of greener pastures. However, they were exposed to numerous misfortunes.
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Chinese immigration struggles
It is worth emphasizing that the United States possessed a long discrimination history, which was directed towards Chinese immigrants. There were various forms of discrimination that the Chinese immigrants were subjected to. The immigrants lived in poor neighborhoods, where there was inadequate access to basic needs. The Chinese children in the U.S. received poor education and, therefore, they were hardly embraced into the workforce after completing their education. The immigrants were subjected to ethnicity and race discrimination, where unequal treatment was founded on these aspects.
Chinese immigrants were subjected to immense violence and legal harassment. Moreover, they suffered from various laws that were passed by the different governments. For instance, there was an ordinance that stipulated the Chinese had to cut their hair braids. In addition, a tax was introduced that saw a majority of the Chinese laundries quit the business. The white and Chinese immigrant’s children attended different schools.
Congress permitted the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. The principal function of the act was to discontinue further immigration from China. Irrespective of the fact that several lawmakers were against the bill, it was passed tremendously. It is worth pointing out that the act was the initial law permitted in the U.S., and it denied the immigration of a particular ethnic group. However, the act allowed learned Chinese to immigrate to the U.S. Furthermore, Chinese who had relatives in the U.S. were allowed to immigrate to the U.S.
From the foregoing discussion, it is evident that the United States was particular on the immigrants who were allowed to the U.S. Chinese immigrants who could offer labor in various fields were given priority. This was a characteristic feature of discrimination on the basis of one’s abilities. After 1882, the Chinese who wanted to immigrate to the U.S. were exposed to a rigorous screening procedure. This was aimed at establishing admission qualifications. The act was lifted in 1943. Consequently, Chinese from various backgrounds were permitted to immigrate to the U.S.
Chinese immigrants experienced numerous laws that were against them. They were not permitted to work in city, county, state, and federal governments. In addition, they were barred from the fishing industry. The Chinese could not be used as witnesses against the whites in courts. Moreover, the immigrants could not buy anything outside of San Francisco’s Chinatown. In response to the discrimination and legislative acts, the Chinese had no option but to engage in businesses such as laundries and restaurants.
Chinese immigrants were subjected to gender discrimination. In this regard, Chinese women were exempted from employment opportunities. Hence, Chinese immigrants did not enjoy equal employment opportunities. During the late 19th century, Chinese immigrants experienced a wide array of challenges. On the same note, they contributed profoundly to the industrialization. Basically, the Chinese were relied upon to provide labor to the escalating industries. More specifically, the Chinese factory laborers were exceptionally significant during the Civil War. The Chinese immigrants worked in more than twenty-five industries.
Eventually, Chinese industrialists initiated their own industries that made the whites unhappy as a result of competition. It is estimated that the Chinese offered nearly half of the workforce in California. It is worth noting that Chinese labor was also required in other places to cover for the freed slaves. The key reason why Chinese immigrants’ labor was preferred was that it was cheap. Therefore, the U.S. industry managers always exploited Chinese immigrants since they worked for long hours and were paid poorly. A principal feature of Chinese immigration was that their cheap labor was vital for abolishing slavery.
The Chinese immigrants had a desire for the goldfields in California. As a result, a majority of them moved to the west. As the gold rush was ensuing, the Chinese focussed on exploiting additional resources from the western states. As a result, the American people had easy accessibility to products. During the same period, railroad construction began. More than fifteen thousand Chinese were employed during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Chinese made a lot of efforts to prevent various forms of discrimination. However, their efforts were fruitless.