The Chinese Exclusion Act

The Chinese Exclusion Act

DVD - 2018
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"On May 6th, 1882 -- on the eve of the greatest wave of immigration in American history -- President Chester A. Arthur signed into law a unique piece of federal legislation. Called the Chinese Exclusion Act, it singled out as never before a specific race and nationality for exclusion -- making it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America -- and for Chinese nationals already here ever to become citizens of the United States. A deeply American story - about immigration and national identity, civil rights and human justice; about how we define who can be an American, and what being an American means - the film examines the economic, cultural, social, legal, racial and political dimensions of the law; the forces and events that gave rise to it; and the effect it had, and continues to have, on American culture and identity. The Chinese Exclusion Act, explores in riveting detail this little known, yet deeply resonant and revealing episode in American history - one that sheds enormous light on key aspects of the history of American civil liberties, immigration, and culture -- during one of the most formative periods of U.S. history."--Container.

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ooppii
Feb 27, 2019

A very informative, sombre documentary. No dramatization, just pure facts. You'll learn lots if you interested in this topic.

s
swyckl
Dec 29, 2018

I liked this historical documentary. It is 160 minutes long. Examine the origin, history and impact of the 1882 law that made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America and for Chinese nationals already here ever to become U.S. citizens. The first in a long line of acts targeting the Chinese for exclusion, it remained in force for more than 60 years.

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bjohns
Dec 14, 2018

A powerful documentary that is extremely relevant in this time of xenophobia. Some of the language and legislation used against the Chinese then sounds eerily familiar now.

The end of the feature discussed how the Chinese finally exacted an apology from our Congressmen. I hope this country will eventually do the same for Native Americans, descendants of slaves, and all immigrants who continue to enrich, support, and embody America.

A must see!

P.S. ignore the comments from StarGladiator. He's part of the problem, not the solution.

s
StarGladiator
Aug 21, 2018

Rated Obscene for historic revisionism.
I heard a talk several years ago by Noam Chomsky's daughter, Aviva Chomsky. She ascribed various incidents in history solely to racism and conveniently excised - - or deleted - - all mention of US labor history! It was an utterly appalling and repulsive talk.
Ascribing everything to racism is a clever tool to obscure real history. Yes, racism will always be a component of human endeavors and, no, no one group or culture has a monopoly on racist thought, contrary to what I've heard espoused by specific Asian and Asian-American racists!
The Chinese-American historian, Mary Ting Yi Lui, briefly recounts how Chinese workers/strikebreakers were brought to Massachusetts to replace striking immigrant women workers - - and how Chinese workers/strikebreakers were brought to Pennsylvania to replace striking workers - - and how Chinese workers/strikebreakers were brought to New York to replace striking workers, then she states that there existed an unnatural fear among American workers of Chinese laborers [strikebreakers] taking their jobs?!
Huh? ? ?
Really a ludicrous performance by Lui; she is in dire need of a bit of self-reflection and a ton of critical thinking!
This Wall Street production glosses over and neglects to explain that massive assaults against a growing American labor movement and workers' rights movement were carried out by the money trusts, the monopoly trusts of that era, by bringing boatloads of Chinese workers to replace striking railroad workers and mining company workers, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Democracies [or semblances thereof] such as America, Canada, Australia, and the Republic of China [Taiwan] are especially vulnerable to foreign propaganda incursions. Pieces like this set the stage for when China hasn't been allowed to buy defense-related foreign companies and they audaciously respond with the accusation of racism!
I would suggest the two Chinese-American female historians preach to those workers who lost their livelihoods when 70,000 factories were shipped to China, or those locals in Zambia [Africa] or Idaho [USA] when Chinese companies came in and only employed Chinese workers, not locals.
I found these two aforementioned historians featured on the documentry to be considerably disingenuous. I looked up the book written by Prof. Mary Ting Yi Lui and was reminded of an event which took place while growing up in a Catholic orphanage: a sweet and respectable young teenaged white female whose parents had died the year before in a house fire and had been at the orphanage for a few months was dating a Chinese-American fellow student at the high school they both attended. His parents, Chinese immigrants, wrote the nuns at the orphanage to demand they not allow this young teenager to date their son. Having heard this, I assumed it was because she was now an orphan, which back then had a considerably negative social stigma attached, but it turned out they didn't want any non-Chinese female to date their son. Prof. Lui has some definite lopsided biases in both her verbal presentations and her writings!
Yes, horrible and criminal acts took place then, but conveniently leaving out the context of the era, the mass murders of striking workers quite common then throughout the country, dramatically alters perceptions.
[This was produced by WGBH of Boston, owned by the WGBH Educational Foundation which is majority financed by the Koch brothers.]
Now the WWII Japanese internment is an entirely different situation: who benefitted from the confiscation of their businesses and property [and water rights]? Why did John McCloy and Earl Warren push so hard for that internment and property confiscation? Those questions have never been fully and adequately addressed?

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