The Politics of Fear – Part 3/5

September 16, 2011

As long as there is no law to insure balance and honesty in the media, Americans are ripe to fear almost anything and China is a tempting target to induce fear and loathing by manipulating public opinion.

Since the history of Sinophobia in the United States starts with the California Gold Rush (1848 – 1855) leading to the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), which formalized this prejudice into a law that would not be removed from the books until 1965 (eighty-three years later) during the Civil Rights era, China is a perfect target since the demonizing was started in the 19th century.

Due to this early demonizing, during the later 19th and early 20th century, many Chinese were relentlessly beaten just because of their race, and in 1884, the Chinese Exclusion Act was amended in Washington D.C., so it would apply to all ethnic Chinese regardless of their country of origin.

As the years went by, other amendments were added to the Chinese Exclusion Act making the law more restrictive for the Chinese.

Political Scientist Corey Robin wrote Fear: the History of a Political Idea in 2004, published by Oxford University Press, which may also help explain why there is so much antagonism toward China in the United States.

On August 17, 2011, KPFA’s Against the Grain, a radio program about politics, society and ideas talked with Robin about how “fear dominates our society. Fear of crime, fear of the poor, fear of foreign terrorists, to which we might add fear of our government and fear of our bosses.”


Watch the Young Turks reveal Glenn Beck‘s lies.

Newsday said, “Robin argues that whereas Hobbes and Arendt appreciated the political dimensions of fear, Montesquieu and Tocqueville relegated the idea to the realm of the psychological—a view of fear that has endured, blinding us to the self-serving ways elites deploy fear for political ends.”

Steven Lukes, Professor of Sociology at New York University, said, “Corey Robin provides an acute and sustained analysis of the very idea of fear, of the role of fear as an instrument of political rule and of its unacknowledged prevalence within our liberal democratic institutions.”

The National Post said, “Brilliant…. What he does in Fear is show us, by carefully plotting the progress of modern fear politics from the Enlightenment to present day, that we are as dependent on fear as a political vehicle, if not more so, as we are the charades of left/right/middle factionalism.”

Robin mentions that fear is a method used by political groups and individuals to advance themselves and/or their political and religious agendas.

One example is Glenn Beck, who often incites violence and fear with lies and fear mongering (for more about Glenn Beck, watch the embedded video with this post).

In addition, according to former Fox News producer Charlie Reina… Fox News’s editorial policy is set from the top down in the form of a daily memo: “frequently, Reina says, it also contains hints, suggestions and directives on how to slant the day’s news – invariably, he says, in a way that’s consistent with the politics and desires of the Bush administration.”

Moreover, the December 17, 2010 issue of The Atlantic said, “One alleged news network fed its audience a diet of lies, while contributing financially to the party that benefited from those lies. Those who work for Fox News are not working for a journalistic enterprise. They are working for the communications department of a political party.”

Without an honest, trustworthy media reporting honest and balanced news, how can a democracy that depends on a literate and informed public survive?

In fact, how will China rid itself of being seen as a demon by many in America?

Continued September 17, 2011 in  The Politics of Fear – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Chinese in America – Part 3/3

June 9, 2011

Almost half a century after her death, Anna May Wong (1905 to 1961) has not been forgotten.

In fact, her life is another example of the continued discrimination against Asian-Americans and Chinese in the US by other ethnic groups, which includes Caucasions, African Americans and Latinos.

The first indication of this discrimination and racisim in the US against Chinese and/or Asian Americans appeared during the  California Gold Rush, which John Putnam wrote of in Chinese in the Gold Rush.

As a child, Anna loved going to the movies and even cut school to go to the show.

Between 1919 and 1961, she acted in 62 films. The Internet Movie Data Base says she was the “first Chinese-American movie star”.

However, to act, Anna had to play the roles she was given. The Western stereotype cast her as a sneaky, untrustworthy woman that always fell for a Caucasian man. The dark side of achieving her dream of acting in movies was that Anna had to die so the characters she played got what they deserved.

Anna often joked that her tombstone should read, “Here lies the woman who died a thousand times.”

Until Chinese started to emigrate to the U.S. in the mid-19th century, they had never encountered a people who considered them racially and culturally inferior.

The discrimination against the Chinese in America was only exceeded by the racism and hatred directed at African-Americans.

Then in the 1960s, many of the anti racist laws enacted during the Civil Rights era focused on protecting African-Americans, which created a protected class.

Since the Chinese—due to cultural differences—often did not complain, they were left behind.

In many respects, racism toward the Chinese still exists in the US and manifests itself through the media as China bashing, which supports the old stereotype.

When Anna May Wong visited China in 1936, she had to abandon a trip to her parent’s ancestral village when a mob accused her of disgracing China.

After her return to Hollywood, she was determined to play Chinese characters that were not stereotypes, but it was a losing battle. To escape the hateful racism, she lived in Europe for a few years.

Since U.S. law did not allow her to marry the Caucasian man she loved, and she was afraid that if she married a Chinese man he would force her to give up acting since Chinese culture judged actresses to be the same as prostitutes, she never married.

Anna May Wong smoked and drank too much. She died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California at age 56.

Return to Part 2 or start with The Chinese in America – Part 1

This post first appeared on November 10, 2010 as Anna May Wong – The Woman Who Died a Thousand Times

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


The Chinese in America – Part 2/3

June 8, 2011

This was the second post from 2010 that I remembered after reading John Putnam’s guest post of the Chinese during the California Gold Rush.

Angel Island in San Francisco Bay was America’s west coast Ellis Island.

From 1919 to 1940, mostly Asian immigrants entered the US through Angel Island.

After 1940, the immigration station on Angel Island was forgotten until a California Park Ranger, Alexander Weiss, discovered the stories carved in the walls.

He thought that there were stories here as if there were ghosts waiting to be heard.

Over half of the Angel Island immigrants came from China and Japan and most of the carvings on the walls were poems written in Chinese.

A former detainee, Dale Ching, went through the station in 1937 when he was sixteen. Even though Dale’s father was born in the United States, he still had to go through the immigration station.

While the East Coast’s Ellis Island welcomed immigrants, Angel Island’s story was one of sadness and suffering.

Most European immigrants who went through Ellis Island stayed a few hours, but immigrants on Angel Island were kept locked up under armed guard with barbed-wire fences surrounding the buildings and some people stayed for days, weeks, months and years.

The park service wanted to tear the Angel Island buildings down but Weiss found supporters and they struggled to preserve this history. They succeeded and the restoration project was challenging.

Alexander Weiss sums up the video saying we should know both the right and the wrong from U.S. history.

Continued on June 9, 2011 in The Chinese in America – Part 3 or return to Part 1

This post first appeared on September 8, 2010 as America’s Angel Island

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at
the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


The Chinese in America – Part 1/3

June 7, 2011

While reading John Putnam’s guest post of the Chinese during the California Gold Rush, I thought of several other posts I wrote about the Chinese in America.

Putnam wrote, “White miners soon arrived and pushed the Chinese out…”

The first major wave of Chinese immigrants came to the US after the California gold rush of 1849.

Then in 1882, The Chinese Exclusion Act formalized an ugly American prejudice. In fact, there are still Americans who feel this way evidenced by a few comments left on this Blog. However, we are fortunate that more Americans appear open minded and accepting than those who do not feel that way.

This act stayed in effect de facto until 1965, when racist provisions of U.S. immigration law were removed during the Civil Rights era, liberalizing immigration by all non-European groups.

Most of these Chinese immigrants worked hard in industries like railroads, mines and canneries. The Chinese were willing to work for lower wages than European immigrants were demanding.

When there were labor strikes, companies often used Chinese workers as strikebreakers. This led to hate among European immigrants and demands that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese laborers from entering the US.

This was the first time the US passed a law to bar a specific race or ethnicity from entering the country. Source: Tenement Museum

Continued on June 8, 2011 in The Chinese in America – Part 2

This post first appeared on August 30, 2010 as Discrimination Against the Chinese in America

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at
the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


Chinese in the Gold Rush – Part 2/2

June 6, 2011

Guest post by John Putnam

In the mines the Chinese were often forced to work sites that others had abandoned as no longer productive and, by hard work, made these claims pay.

As more men arrived in the gold fields and the amount of surface gold dwindled, tensions increased. Thirty-five Chinese showed up at Camp Salvado in 1849 where men from El Salvador had worked and here they found rich placer deposits.

White miners soon arrived and pushed the Chinese out, but they were taken in at another nearby site called Camp Washington where still more gold was found

Chinese flocked to a place where they were accepted and Tuolumne County’s Chinese Camp survives to this day.

But by 1850, a $20 per month tax on each foreign miner was imposed.

By 1852 Chinese were forced from Mormon Island and Horseshoe Bar along the American River, then from Colombia in the southern mines and Yuba City in the northern.

In 1856 Chinese paid $70,000 for the right to mine in Mokelumne Hill.

By 1868 almost all Chinese had left the mines to work on the transcontinental railroad or in Chinese operated businesses.

Return to Chinese in the Gold Rush – Part 1

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Reprinted by permission. First published May 23, 2011 in My gold rush tales John Putnam is the author of Hangtown Creek, a thrilling saga of the early California gold rush.

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Chinese in the Gold Rush – Part 1/2

June 5, 2011

Guest post by John Putnam

Of all the diverse peoples that poured into California after the discovery of gold, none stood out more than the Chinese. Radically different in dress, language and culture these new men were first welcomed because of their willingness to work hard for low wages at any task presented them.

John McDougall, the 2nd Governor of California, described them as “one of the most worthy of our newly adopted citizens.”

At the start of 1849 only 54 Chinese were in California. By1852 there were nearly 12,000 living here and only seven of them women. Because of turmoil in Canton another 20,000 would arrive that same year.

A community of Chinese Americans quickly grew in San Francisco. They marched in Fourth of July parades and rejoiced at California’s statehood, but celebrated their lunar new year in their traditional way.

In 1852 a Cantonese opera was performed at the American Theater and in 1854 a Chinese language newspaper began publishing.

The Kong Chow Association formed to help the new arrivals adapt to their new home. Then another, the Chew Yick, elected Norman As-sing, an English speaking owner of the Macao and Woosung Restaurant as their leader. Soon there were six associations called tongs that combined to form the Six Companies to better represent Chinese interest.

Continued on June 6, 2011 in Chinese in the Gold Rush – Part 2

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Reprinted by permission. First published May 23, 2011 in My gold rush tales. John Putnam is the author of Hangtown Creek, a thrilling saga of the early California gold rush.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.