Chinese Immigrants Into America

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The movement of Chinese immigrants into America is thought to have started in conjunction with the California gold rush, which proved fruitless for the belated majority that had arrived long after the gold mines were exhausted. Before long, the Chinese found themselves unwelcome not only in California, but wherever they chose to settle as well. Viewed as economic rivals, these immigrants quickly became the bane of America, accumulating scorn and exclusive immigration laws that barred them from citizenship. Despite Denver’s welcoming aura, the many Chinese immigrants that moved to the city found it all but impossible to surmount the racism, discrimination, and hypocrisy they experienced. The first Chinese man to arrive in Denver, however ambiguous,…show more content…
This Chinese community, which consisted of Hop Alley and an ethnic ghetto, allowed immigrants to evade Colorado's unwelcoming atmosphere. Hop Alley, as dubbed by Denver’s white residents, was suspected of housing heathen immigrants, dealing in copious amounts of gambling, prostitution, and opium. Various columnists were quick to attack, using yellow journalism to feed readers’ simultaneous fascination and contempt for Hop Alley. However, Chinatown’s inner workings provided for its inhabitants a refuge from Denver’s harsh prejudice. In this ghetto, Chinese immigrants were free of prejudice, and “could find goods and services denied them elsewhere. Perhaps most important, it was there that they found a refuge that offered spiritual solace, providing a meeting place where they could socialize and engage in traditional religious practices.” Additionally, since the majority of Chinese immigrants spoke little to no English, they found it difficult to obtain an occupation that did not directly compete with their white peers. As a result, many were willing to work for markedly low wages under substandard conditions and often found work as laundrymen where both skill and English fluency were kept to a…show more content…
As a fluent English-speaking naturalized citizen, Chin was one of the select few Chinese immigrants to earn the acceptance of his white contemporaries. Naturally, Chin eventually became a leader in the Chinese community and as reputable as a Chinese man in a predominantly white society could be. He eventually found a position as a contractor who supervised Chinese placer miners across the state. This occupation granted Chin a reputation as an honest, trustworthy man. Nonetheless, his accomplishments and expertise did not exempt him from the prejudice ascribed to all Chinese immigrants. Chin’s race prevented his leadership from advancing beyond the Chinese community and never gained enough status to manage white employees. Following his death in 1894, the Rocky Mountain News eulogized him as the “White Chinaman” with numerous white friends, a trait rarely attributed to Chinese individuals. In 1977, Chin’s legacy was memorialized in a stained-glass portrait at the State Capitol, where he was adorned in a red Chinese gown as an alternative to the Western-style suit in the photograph that his portrait was modeled after. Though it was meant to honor Chin’s heritage, many were quick to perceive the alteration as a caricature of the infamous John
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