It was in the early 19th century when immigration of Chinese started in US and the history witnesses both hardship and success for them. In the early years Chinese could get employment as laborers for construction of railroads and in mining industry. But these immigrants had to face the racial discrimination by the local people always. There had been lot of changes in the law of Chinese immigration and there were times when mixed marriages were also banned. There were all kinds of people in society but most of them were against these immigrants as they thought they have come to snatch their job pportunities.
Those who were in need of cheap labor favored these immigrants and it was again in 1940s that Chinese immigrants started to come to US. Now the situation is that they are almost 1% of the total population although majority lives the life of middle class there. Most of the Americans treated Chinese as aliens and this discrimination made Chinese live with a distance from them They wore their traditional dress along with the little round hats. Usually these immigrants were poor farmers and in order to work and make money they left their wives and children in China and came to US.
They even borrowed money from relatives or moneylenders to pay for the voyage to US. Some of the agencies that needed labors paid for their voyage and that was deducted from their wages later. In this way these immigrants reached US only for the need of a job to fulfill the requirements of their family members. As these were from rural China they faced many kinds of difficulties like language problem, as they didn’t even understand English along with the racial discrimination. The trade relationship of China with New York in the beginning of the nineteenth century rought many Chinese traders in US.
The discovery of gold in California caught the main attraction and Wei Long, a small farmer set on a voyage to US. The first thing that came into Wei’s mind was to collect money for his voyage and for this he tried his relatives. Most of them had their own family problems or were already in debt. Lastly Wei had to go to a moneylender and borrow money for his voyage with a promise to repay him as soon as he gets a job. He left his wife with a small child in the village and went to California on the ship that sailed with many more Chinese men.
Wei had a dream of aving his own gold mines and become rich as soon as he can. He dreamt of returning back to China with lots of money and solving all the problems in his family. When he reached California, he had to find any kind of work so that to support his living and also thought of saving some for his dream. After peripatetic search for job he got one in Central Pacific Railroad Company. Since the Union Pacific Railroad Company, the chief rival of Central Pacific, was heading fast and prospering, the Central Pacific started hiring Chinese laborers and this is how Wei got a job to carry on.
He along with other Chinese laborers were paid quite less than the white laborers but no one had another choice than to accept the most difficult jobs that were offered to them. Wei was quite scared when he first saw the job but with the power of his dream collected and started working. He had to stand in wicker baskets that were lowered with the help of ropes and he had to drill holes in the granite rocks. Then put dynamite in the hole lit the fuse and immediately after this he was lifted up. So many times he thought if there was a few econds of mishandling or late in pulling him up he would have been blown into pieces with the rocks.
He had seen many of his fellow workers who either died or lived handicapped. Days and months passed and Wei got employment because Chinese immigrants used to work hard in quite less money and they moved faster than the expectations of their employers. Wei was able to save some money and tried business many times but due to racial discrimination he lost all his money. After trying and loosing his money he thought of just saving some money and go back to his hometown. But this was a difficult task as he immigrants had to face a lot of difficulty to get legal permission for returning back home.
However he had started living in Chinatown and was feeling a little bit comfortable with the feeling that he was with his countrymen. It was more than five years and he desperately wanted to go back to his family and his home in Guangdong. He could not buy a house apart from Chinatowns. It was not because there was any kind of law against it but the social discrimination never let him do so. He somehow managed to return back home but he had to sign on papers that he would come back and work for the man who helped him in returning.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 24 December 2016
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