Gompers and Gutstadt Criticize Chinese

Gompers and Gutstadt Criticize Chinese - Racializatian of...

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Unformatted text preview: Racializatian of Immigrants, 1880—1930 2 7 5 Samuel Gompers Racializes Chinese American Labor, 1908 . . . Beginning with the most menial avocations they [the Chinese] gradually invaded one industry after another, until they not merely took the places of our girls as domestics and cooks, the laundry from our poorer women and subse— quently from the white steam laundries, but the places also of the men and boys, as boot and shoemakers, cigarmakers, bagmakers, miners, farm laborers, brickmak— ers, tailors, slippermakers and numerous other occupations. In the ladies’ furnish— ing line they gained absolute control, displacing hundreds of our girls who would otherwise have found profitable employment. Whatever business or trade they en— tered was, and is yet, absolutely doomed for the white laborer, as competition is simply impossible. Not that the Chinese would not rather work for high wages than low, but in order to gain control he will work so cheaply as to bar all efforts of his competitor. But not only has the workingman and workingwoman gained this bit- ter experience, but certain manufacturers and merchants-have been equally the suf- ferers. The Chinese laborer will work cheaper for a Chinese employer than he will for a white man, as has been invariably proven, and, as a rule, he boards with his Chinese employer. The Chinese merchant or manufacturer will undersell his white competitor, and if uninterrupted will finally gain possession of the entire field. Such is the history of the race wherever they have come in contact with other peo- ples. None can withstand their silent and irresistible flow, and their millions al— ready populate and command the labor and trade of the islands and nations of the Pacific. **** The cigar, boot and shoe, broom making, and pork industries were for many years entirely in the hands of the Chinese, depriving many thousands of Americans of their means of livelihood. As their power grew they became more independent, and in the pork industry they secured so strong a hold that no white butcher dared kill a hog for fear of incurring the displeasure of the Chinese. This state of affairs became so obnoxious and unbearable that the retail butchers could no longer sub— mit, and with the assistance of the wholesale butchers and the citizens generally finally succeeded in wresting the monopoly from the hands of their ChineSe competitors. **** Asiatic Labor Degrades as Slave Labor Did. For many years it has been im- possible to get white persons to do the menial labor performed by Chinese and Japanese—“It is Mongolian’s labor and not fit for whites.” In the agricultural districts a species of help has been created, known as the blanket man. White From Samuel Gompers and Herman Gutstadt Meat vs. Rice: American Manhood Against Asiatic Caolieism: Which Shall Survive? (San Francisco: Asiatic Exclusion League, 1908). 276' Major Problems in American Immigration 61Ethnic History laborers seldom find permanent employment; the Mongolian is preferred. Dur- ing harvest time the white man is forced to wander from ranch to ranch and find employment here and there for short periods of time, with the privilege of sleep- ing in the barns or haystacks. He is looked upon as a vagabond, unfit to associ- ate with his employer or to eat from the same table with him. The negro slave of the South was housed and fed, but the white trash of California is placed be- neath the Mongolian. The white domestic servant of today is expected to live in the room originally built for John, generally situated in the cellar, or attic, and void of all comforts, frequently unpainted or unpapered, containing only a bed- stead and a chair. Anything was good enough for “John”1 and the white girl must be satisfied as well. Is it any wonder that self respecting young women refuse to take service under such conditions? And what is true of agricultural la- borers and domestics applies, equally, to all trades in which Mongolians are largely employed. Absolute servility (civility is not enough) is expected from those who take the place of “John” or “Togo” and it will take many years to obliterate these traces of inferiority and re-establish the proper relations of the employer and the employed. **** Have Asiatics Any Morals? Sixty years’ contact with the Chinese, twenty-five years’ experience with the Japanese and two or three years’ acquaintance with the Hindus should be sufficient to convince any ordinarily intelligent person that they have no standard of morals by which a Caucasian may judge them. A reference to the report previously quoted sheds considerable light upon the subject: It is a less difficult problem to ascertain the number of Chinese women and children in Chinatown than it is to give with accuracy the male population. First, because they are at present comparatively few in numbers; and second, because they can nearly always be found in the localities which they inhabit. This investigation has shown, however, that whatever may be the domestic family relations of the Chinese empire, here the relations of the sexes are chiefly so ordered as to provide for the gratification of the animal proclivities alone, with whatever result may chance to follow in the outcome of procreation. There are apparently few families living as such, with legitimate children. In most instances the wives are kept in a state of seclusion, carefully guarded and watched, as though ‘eternal vigilance’ on the part of their husbands ‘is the price of their virtue.‘ Wherever there are families belong- ing to the better class of Chinese, the women are guarded and secluded in the most careful manner. Wherever the sex has been found in the pursuance of this investiga- tion under other conditions, with sotnefeyv exceptions, the rule seems to be that they are here in a state of concubinage merely to administer to the animal passions of the other sex, with such perpetuation of the race as may be a resultant conse- quence, or else to follow the admitted calling of the prostitute, generally of the low- “‘John" (or “John Chinaman”) was a derogatory term used to refer to all Chinese men. 276 Major Problems in American Immigration fi‘Ethnic History laborers seldom find permanent employment; the Mongolian is preferred. Dur— ing harvest time the white man is forced to wander from ranch to ranch and find employment here and there for short periods of time, with the privilege of sleep— ing in the barns or haystacks. He is looked upon as a vagabond, unfit to associ- ate with his employer or to eat from the same table with him. The negro slave of the South was housed and fed, but the white trash of California is placed be- neath the Mongolian. The white domestic servant of today is expected to live in the room originally built for John, generally situated in the cellar, or attic, and void of all comforts, frequently unpainted or unpapered, containing only a bed- stead and a chair. Anything was good enough for “John”1 and the white girl must be satisfied as well. Is it any wonder that self respecting young women refuse to take service under such conditions? And what is true of agricultural 1a— borers and domestics applies, equally, to all trades in which Mongolians are largely employed. Absolute servility (civility is not enough) is expected from those who take the place of “John” or “Togo” and it will take many years to obliterate these traces of inferiority and re-establish the proper relations of the employer and the employed. is is is is Have Asiatics Any Morals? Sixty years’ contact with the Chinese, twenty-five years’ experience with the Japanese and two or three years’ acquaintance with the Hindus should be sufficient to convince any ordinarily intelligent person that they have no stande of morals by which a Caucasian may judge them. A reference to the report previously quoted sheds considerable light upon the subject: It is a less difficult problem to ascertain the number of Chinese women and children in Chinatown than it is to give with accuracy the male population. First, because they are at present comparatively few in numbers; and second, because they can' nearly always be found in the localities which they inhabit. This investigation has shown, however, that whatever may be the domestic family relations of the Chinese empire, here the relations of the sexes are chiefly so ordered as to provide for the gratification of the animal proclivities alone, with whatever result may chance to follow in the outcome of procreation. There are apparently few families living as such, with legitimate children. In most instances the wives are kept in a state of seclusion, carefully guarded and watched, as though ‘eternal vigilance’ on the part of their husbands ‘is the price of their vil’tue.’ Wherever there are families belong- ing to the better class of Chinese, the women are guarded and secluded in the most careful manner. Wherever the sex has been found in the pursuance of this investiga— tion under other conditions, with some few exceptions, the rule seems to be that they are here in a state of concubinage merely to administer to the animal passions of the other sex, with such perpetuation of the race as may be a resultant conse— quence, or else to follow the admitted calling of the prostitute, generally of the low- '“John” (or “John Chinaman") was a derogatory term used to refer to all Chinese men. Racialz'zatian of Immigrants, 1880—1930 277 est possible grade, with all the wretchedness of life and consequence which the name implies. . . . ' **** Though much more could be said upon each phase of this great and burning question we have tried to touch upon all of them sufficiently to enable our readers to obtain reliable information on a subject that is yet barely understood east of the Rocky Mountains. It must be clear to every thinking man and woman that while there is hardly a single reason for the admission of the Asiatics, there are hundreds of good and strong reasons for their absolute exclusion. **** As a fitting close to this document we submit the remarks made by one of the greatest of American statesmen, Hon. James G. Blaine, February 14, 1879, when a bill for restriction of Chinese immigration was before the United States Senate. Mr. Blaine said: “Either the Anglo-Saxon race will possess the Pacific slope or the Mongolians will possess it. You give them the start today, with the keen thrust of necessity behind them, and with the inducements to come, while we are filling up the other portions of the Continent, and it is inevitable, if not demonstrable, that they will occupy that space of the country between the Sierras and the Pacific. “The immigrants that come to us from the Pacific isles, and from all parts of Eu- rope, come here with the idea of the family as much engraven on their minds and hearts, and in customs and habits, as we ourselves have. The Asiatic can not go on with our population and make a homogeneous element. “I am opposed to the Chinese coming here. I am opposed to making them citizens. I am unalterably opposed to making them voters. There is not a peasant cottage inhab- ited by a Chinaman. There is not a hearthstone, in the sense we understand it, of an American home, or an English home, or an Irish, or German, or French home. There is not a domestic fireside in that sense; and yet you say it is entirely safe to sit down and permit them to fill up our country, or any part of it. “Treat them like Christians say those who favor their immigration; yet I believe the Christian testimony is that the conversion of Chinese on that basis is a fearful fail- ure; and that the demoralization of the white race is much more rapid by reason of the contact than is the salvation of the Chinese race. You cannot work a man who must have beef and bread, alongside of a man who can live on rice. In all such conflicts, and in all such struggles, the result is not to bring up the man who lives on rice to the beef—and-bread standard, but it is to bring down the beef—and-bread man to the rice standard. t. “Slave labor degraded free labor. It took out its respectability, and put an odi- ous cast upon it. It throttled the prosperity of a fine and fair portion of the United States in the South; and this Chinese, which is worse than slave labor, will throttle and impair the prosperity of a still finer and fairer section of the Union on the Pa- cific coast. “We have this day to choose whether we will have for the Pacific coast the civi— lization of Christ or the civilization of Confucius." ...
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