Racism In Shanghai Girls, By Lisa Lee

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The treatment of Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans is often overlooked as the struggles of other ethnic groups in the United States take center stage in history. Many remember the plight of African-Americans and their struggle over basic civil liberties during the 19th and 20th centuries in America. However we shouldn’t forget that the Chinese were another group heavily discriminated against with the use of legal racism in the form of laws violating basic human rights and Sinophobe sentiments held by the American populace. After the “fall” of China to communism, anti-Chinese sentiments were only exacerbated due to the second Red Scare and the Communist witch hunts that it created. People of Chinese descent were another unfortunate target of racism in America’s long history of legalized racism.
Shanghai Girls is a fictional novel by Lisa Lee is a recounting of the journey two Chinese sisters-Pearl and May- takes after unfortunate circumstances force them to immigrate to the United States in 1937. The story starts with Pearl and May living in Shanghai, a modern glamorous city in China, and the girls are living the upper class life thanks to their father’s successful Rickshaw business. However their father’s gambling causes them to lose their fortune and both Pearl and May are sold to Chinese men in the United States for an arranged marriage. Both girls initially refuse to go, and decide to stay in China, causing them to get caught in the 2nd Sino-Japanese war and are forced to immigrate to the United States to avoid the warfare. Immigrating into the United States was no easy task thanks to the effects of the Chinese Exclusion Act enacted in 1882 and Angel Island’s grueling interrogation. Finally Getting into the U.S was not ...

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...of communist ideas. Americans saw communism as the ultimate “evil” and capitalism as the ultimate “good.” And so began the second Red Scare. The Red Scare gave way to the communist witch hunts of the McCarthyism era. China had become communist after a revolution in 1949 by leader Mao Zedong who established the Peoples’ Republic of China. The “fall” of China to communism caused the U.S to become even more suspicious of people of Chinese descent as being spies out to sabotage the U.S.
For nearly a century, spanning from the latter half of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century, Chinese-Americans and Chinese immigrants endured discrimination from the United States government and its people. The Chinese are another group of people that were treated as less than in America’s long history of legal racism. The Chinese experience is often overlooked as other
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