Chinese Discrimination In America

1157 Words 5 Pages
On the surface, Portland’s Chinatown looked like any other American city with its “turn-of-the-century low-rise, brick warehouse and commercial structures, with culture expressed more modestly as ornament” (Wong, 223). However, despite their attempts to fit in, the Chinese were still viewed as an outsider community, a group of people that “could not be assimilated” (Wong, 19) into American culture. Although racism was present in Portland, Portland’s Chinese community did not see as much violence as the Chinatowns in San Francisco and Tacoma experienced, and many associated Portland with a safe place for the Chinese. Therefore, the most important factors defining the Chinese American community in Portland were the Chinese Exclusion Acts, …show more content…
The Act stated that the immigration of laborers would be cut back for ten years and that “merchants, teachers, students, and diplomats were exempt” (Wong, 65). Furthermore, an 1884 revision of the act stated that the only Chinese women allowed to enter the United States were the wives of merchants (Wong, 66). For most of the Chinese entering the United States after the passage of the act, this revision meant that they could not start or bring families. Therefore, Portland’s Chinatown “substituted for the lack of traditional family arrangements” (Wong, 25) by giving the Chinese men feelings of comfort and familiarity in an unfamiliar …show more content…
An enclave is “an established boundary” that provides “a combination of social and physical identification” (Wong, 264). Prior to the move to New Chinatown, the Chinese had been spread out through the city, physically integrated into Portland society. After the move, Americans noted that the new Chinatown, while cleaner, still maintained a “distinctively Oriental ensemble” (Wong, 258). Marie Rose Wong, professor at Seattle University, asserts that the Chinese immigrants created “nations within a nation [America]” (Wong, 264) in the form of Chinatowns. This new nation provided them with “common bonds generated by their culture” (Wong, 264). In concentrating themselves in one area, the Chinese created a recognizable image for themselves (Wong, 265), which cemented an image of a close-knit

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