Cheap Labor, Masculinity and Chopsticks

Chinese Americans’ presence in the United States became prevalent in the 1840s. In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. This essay explores the reason behind this phenomenon through the lens of Floyd Cheung’s article journal, Anxious and Ambivalent: blah blah blah of Chinese Americans. Through images from digital archives, other journal articles, and a book that explores the identity of White Americans during this era. Through image analysis, the essay supports the argument that animosity towards Chinese Americans stem from the threat of reduced masculinity of white Americans. Popular notion dictates that economic and cultural reasons were behind the disparity between the two ethnicities. However, this essay shows that it was a more subtle factor that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act. 

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7 thoughts on “Cheap Labor, Masculinity and Chopsticks”

  1. What is the exactly is the “subtle factor”? I find this topic interesting because I’ve always felt that the reasons for the Chinese Exclusion Act were pretty straightforward.

  2. I think this is a really interesting and original topic to choose! I was wondering what some of the other articles and books you’re going to use and how they compare to the one you mentioned? And of course, just like the last two comments, what is this “subtle factor”??

  3. Do you look at any companies that refused to use Chinese labor? I remember a Levi-Strauss add that said their jeans were made by white labor, and that could help support your argument.

  4. How does the masculinity of the white man get affected by chinese americans? is it because of there amount of hard manual labor tasked upon them by the white man or what?

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