GARY Y. OKIHIRO
University ofWashington Press
SEATTLE & LONDON
When and Where I Enter
As o L 1 T A R Y figure defies a tank, insofar as a solitary figure
can defy a tank. A “goddess of liberty” in the image of the
Statue of Liberty arises from the midst of a vast throng gathered
in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The November I, 1991, issue of
Asiaweek carries the caption “Welcoming Asians” under a picture
of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor awash in the light of
fireworks. 1 Contained within those images-vivid and memorable-is what Swedish social scientist Gunnar Myrdal called the
American creed. Democracy, equality, and liberty form the core of
that creed, and the “mighty woman with a torch” has come to
symbolize those ideals to, in the words of the poet Emma Lazarus,
the tired, the poor, the huddled masses “yearning to breathe free.”
On another island, on the other coast, stands not a statue but a
wooden barrack. Solitary figures hunch over to carve poems on
the walls. 2
The sea-scape resembles lichen twisting and
turning for a thousand li.
There is no shore to land and it is difficult to
r I have taken the title of this chapter from a narrative history of African
American women by Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter: The Impact
of Black Women on Race and Sex in America (New York: William Morrow,
2. Poems published in Him Mark Lai, Genny Lim, and Judy Yung, Island:
Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940
(Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991), pp. 34, 52Â·
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
With a gentle breeze I arrived at the city thinking
all would be so.
At ease, how was one to know he was to live in a
In the quiet of night, I heard, faintly, the whistling
The forms and shadows saddened me; upon
seeing the landscape, I composed a poem.
The floating clouds, the fog, darken the sky.
The moon shines faintly as the insects chirp.
Grief and bitterness entwined are heaven sent.
The sad person sits alone, leaning by a window.
Angel Island, not Ellis Island, was the main port of entry for
Chinese migrants “yearning to breathe free” from 1910 to 1940. 3
There, separated by cold currents from the golden shore, the migrants were carefully screened by U.S. Immigration officials and
held for days, weeks, and months to determine their fitness for
America. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act had prohibited entry
to Chinese workers, indicative of a race- and class-based politics,
because according to the act, “in the opinion of the Government
of the United States, the coming of Chinese laborers to this cou~Â
try endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory thereof.””
In New York City, a year after passage of the Chinese Exclusion
3 A third island, Sullivan’s Island, was the point of entry for many African
slaves during the eighteenth century. “Sullivan’s Island,” wrote historian Peter
H. Wood, “the sandy spit on the northeast edge of Charlestown harbor where
incoming slaves were briefly quarantined, might well be viewed as the Ellis
Island of black Americans” (Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from r67o through the Stano Rebellion [New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
I975], p. xiv).
4 The text of the r882 Chinese Exclusion Act is quoted in Cheng-Tsu Wu,
ed., “Chink!” A Documentary History of Anti-Chinese Prejudice in America
(New York: World Publishing, 1972), pp. 70-75.
Act, Emma Lazarus wrote the poem that now graces the base of
the Statue of Liberty. But the statue had not been envisioned as a
symbol of welcome to the world’s “wretched refuse” by its maker,
French sculptor Frederic Auguste Batholdi, and at its unveiling in
r886, President Grover Cleveland proclaimed that the statue’s
light would radiate outward into “the darkness of ignorance and
man’s oppression until Liberty enlightens the world.”5 In other
words, the statue commemorated republican stability, and according to the October 29, r886, New York World, it stood forever as a warning against lawlessness and anarchy and as a pledge
of friendship with nations that “dare strike for freedom.” That
meaning was changed by European immigrants, who saw the
statue as welcoming them, and by Americanizers, who, during the
1920s and 193os, after the 1924 Immigration Act restricting mass
immigration, sought a symbol to instill within the children of immigrants patriotism and a love for country. 6
The tale of those two islands, separated by the vast interior and
lapped by different waters, comprises a metaphor of America and
the Asian American experience. America was not always a nation
of immigrants, nor was America unfailingly a land of democracy,
equality, and liberty. The romantic sentiment of the American
identity, “this new man,” expressed by French immigrant J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur was probably not the dominant view,
nor did it apply to all of America’s people. Writing in 1782, Crevecoeur exclaimed: “What then is the American, this new man? …
I could point out to you a family whose grandfather was an Englishman, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French
woman, and whose present four sons have now four wives of different nations. He is an American, who leaving behind him all his
ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new
mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and
5 John Higham, Send These to Me: Jews and Other Immigrants in Urban
America (New York: Atheneum, 1975), pp. 71-72, 74, 75Â·
6 Ibid., pp. 75, 77, 79Â·
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
the new rank he holds. He becomes an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. Here individuals
of all nations are melted into a new race of men.” 7
Instead, the prevailing view was a narrower construction that
distinguished “settler,” or original colonist, from “immigrant,”
and that required a single origin and common culture. Americans,
John Jay wrote in the Federalist papers, were “one united
people-a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking
the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the
same principles of government, very similar in their manners and
customs.” 8 That eighteenth-century discrimination between settler and immigrant proved inadequate for the building of a new
republic during the nineteenth century. The quest for a unifying
national identity, conceived along the lines of Crevecoeur’s notion
whereby “individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of
men,” an idea later called the “melting pot,” paralleled the building of networks of roads, railroads, and communications links
that unified and bound the nation. 9
Although Asians helped to construct those iron links that connected East to West, they, along with other peoples of color, were
excluded from the industrial, masculine, destroying melting pot.
Ellis Island was not their port of entry; its statue was not their
goddess of liberty. Instead, the square-jawed, androgynous visage
of the “Mother of Exiles” turned outward to instruct, to warn,
and to repel those who would endanger the good order of America’s shores, both at home and abroad. The indigenous inhabitants of Africa, Asia, and the Americas were not members of the
community but were more akin to the wilderness, which required
penetration and domestication. Three years after the Constitution was ratified, the first Congress met and restricted admission
7 J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer
(New York: Fox, Duffield & Co., 1904), pp. 54-55.
8 Higham, Send These to Me, p. 3Â·
9 Ibid., p. 199.
into the American community to “free white persons” through the
Naturalization Act of 1790. Although the act was modified to include “persons of African nativity or descent” in 1870 and
Chinese nationals in 1943, the racial criterion for citizenship was
eliminated completely only in 19 52, 162 years after the original
delineation of the Republic’s members, or, according to the Naturalization Act, the “worthy part of mankind.”
In 1886, African American educator Anna Julia Cooper told a
group of African American ministers: “Only the BLACK WOMAN
can say ‘when and where I enter … then and there the whole Negro race enters with me.’ ” 1
Â° Cooper’s confident declaration held
profound meaning. African American men bore the stigma of
race, but African American women bore the stigmata of race and
gender. Her liberation, her access to the full promise of America,
embraced the admission of the entire race. The matter of “when
and where,” accordingly, is an engendered, enabling moment. The
matter of “when and where,” in addition, is a generative, transformative moment. The matter of “when and where,” finally, is an
extravagant, expansive moment. That entry into the American
community, however enfeebled by barriers to full membership,
parallels the earlier entry into historical consciousness, and the
“when and where” . of both moments are engendered/enabling,
Asians entered into the European American historical consciousness long before the mid-nineteenth-century Chinese migration to “Gold Mountain” and, I believe, even before Yankee
traders and American diplomats and missionaries traveled to
China in the Elte eighteenth century. The “when and where” of the
Asian American experience can be found within the European
imagination and construction of Asians and Asia and within their
expansion eastward and westward to Asia for conquest and trade.
Writing in the fifth or fourth century B.C.E., Hippocrates,
Greek physician and “father of medicine,” offered a “scientific”
10 Giddings, When and Where I Enter, pp. 81-82.
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
view of Asia and its people. 11 Asia, Hippocrates held, differed “in
every respect” and “very widely” from Europe. He attributed
those contrasts to the environment, which shaped the peoples’
bodily conformations and their characters. Asia’s mild, uniform
climate supported lush vegetation and plentiful harvests, but under those conditions “courage, endurance, industry and high
spirit could not arise” and “pleasure must be supreme.” Asians reflected the seasons in their natures, exhibiting a “monotonous
sameness” and “stagnation,” and their form of government, led by
kings who ruled as “despots,” enfeebled Asians even more.
Among Asians, Hippocrates reported, were “Longheads” and
“Phasians.” The latter had yellowish complexions “as though
they suffered from jaundice.” Because of the differing environments in which they lived, Hippocrates concluded that Europeans
had a wider variety of physical types and were more courageous
and energetic than Asians, “for uniformity engenders slackness,
while variation fosters endurance in both body and soul; rest and
slackness are food for cowardice, endurance arid exertion for
Aristotle mirrored Hippocrates’ views of Asia during thefourth
century B.C. E. In his Politics, Aristotle observed that northern Eu’-
ropeans were “full of spirit, but wanting in intelligence and skill,”
whereas Asians were “intelligent and inventive,” but lacked spirit
and were therefore “always in a state of subjection and slavery.”
The Greeks, in contrast, lived between those two groups and thus
were both “high-spirited and also intelligent.” Further, argued
Aristotle, barbarians were by nature “more servile in character”
than Greeks, and he reported that some Asians practiced canniII For Hippocrates, Asia meant Asia Minor, or the area between the Mediterranean and Black seas. Depending upon who was writing and when, Asia
meant variously Asia Minor (or Anatolia), the Levant, Southwest Asia, Central Asia, or India. Generally, during the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. E. the
Greeks called the Persians “Asians.”
12 Hippocrates, trans. W. H. S. Jones (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1923), 1:105-33Â·
balism. 13 The fourth-century B.C.E. conflict between Persia and
Greece, between barbarism and civilization, between inferior and
superior, tested the “great chain of being” idea propounded by
Plato and Aristotle. Alexander the Great’s thrust into India, to
“the ends of the world,” was a one-sided affair, according to the
Roman historian Arrian, a chronicler of the expedition. Using
contemporary accounts but writing some four hundred years after Alexander’s death in 3 23 B.C.E., Arrian contrasted Alexander’s ingenuity and dauntless spirit-“he could not endure to
think of putting an end to the war so long as he could find enemies”-with the cowardice of the barbarian hordes, who fled pellmell at the sight of the conqueror. 14 In a speech to his officers, as
recorded by Arrian, Alexander reminded them that they were
“ever conquerors” and their enemies were “always beaten,” that
the Greeks were “a free people” and the Asians, “a nation of
slaves.” He praised the strength and valor of the Greeks, who were
“inured to warlike toils,” and he declared that their enemies had
been “enervated by long ease and effeminacy” and called them
“the wanton, the luxurious, and effeminate Asiatics.” 15
Such accounts of Asia, based upon the belief in a generative relationship between the environment and race and culture, enabled
an exotic, alienating construction of Asians, whether witnessed or
13 The Politics of Aristotle, trans. Benjamin Jowett (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1885), pp. 96, 218, 248. “Barbarians,” it should be noted, could refer
to Europeans, such as Thracians and lllyrians, as well as to Asians.
14 Arrian’s History of the Expedition of Alexander the Great, and Conquest of Persia, trans. John Rooke (London: W. McDowall, 1813), pp. II2,
II?, 123, 146.
15 Ibid., p. 42. Arrian was an Asian from Nicomedia in northern Turkey
and wrote in Greek, despite serving as a Roman governor. See also Alexander’s contrast of intelligent Greeks with Persian and Indian hordes in the
influential work of late Greek literature The Greek Alexander Romance,
trans. Richard Stoneman (London: Penguin Books, 1991), pp. 105, 128, i81;
and a similar representation of Persians by Romans during the third century
c. E. in Michael H. Dodgeon and Samuel N.C. Lieu, comps. and eds., The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363): A Documentary
History (London: Routledge, 1991), pp. 19, 26.
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
simply imagined. Literary critics Edward W. Said and Mary B.
Campbell have characterized that European conception of Asia
and Asians-“the Other”-as “almost a European invention,”
according to Said, a place of “romance, exotic beings, haunting
memories and landscapes, remarkable experiences,” and for
Campbell, that conception was “the ground for dynamic struggles
between the powers of language and the facts of life.” 16 Accordingly, the Greek historian Ctesias, writing probably in the fifth
century B.C.E., reveled in the accounts of “dog-faced creatures”
and “creatures without heads” that supposedly inhabited Africa,
and he peopled his Asia with those same monstrous beasts. Likewise, the author of the early medieval account Wonders of the
East described Asian women “who have boars’ tusks and hair
down to their heels and oxen’s tails growing out of their loins.
These women are thirteen feet tall, and their bodies have the
whiteness of marble, and they have camels’ feet and donkeys’
teeth.” Alexander the Great, hero of Wonders of the East, ki.lls
those giant, tusked, and tailed women “because of their obscenity” and thereby eliminates strangeness and makes the world sane
and safe again. Asia in Wonders of the East, writes Campbell,
“stands in opposition to the world we know and the laws that
govern it,” and thus was beyond and outside the realm of order
and sensibility. 17
That otherworldliness, that flight from reality, pervades the
earliest Christian European text to define Europe in opposition to
Asia, the Peregrinatio ad terram sanctam by Egeria, probably
written during the late fourth century C.E. Although her account
of her journey to the Holy Land contained “moments of awe, reverence, wonder or gratitude,” it described an exotic Asia that
served to highlight the positive, the real, the substantial Europe.
De locis sanctis, written during the late seventh century c.E. by
16 Edward W. Said, Orienta/ism (New York: Random House, 1978), p.
l:j and Mary B. Campbell, The Witness and the Other World: Exotic Europeatt Travel Writing, 40o-I6oo (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988), p. 3Â·
17 Campbell, Witness, pp. p, 63-65, 68-69, 84. See also Greek Alexa.nder Romance, p. 124.
Adamnan, abbot at Iona’s monastery, recounted a similar Asia
from the travels of Bishop Arculf to the Holy Land. Asia, according to De locis sanctis, was a strange, even demonic place, where
people exhibited grotesque inversions and perversions of human
nature, and where a prerational, stagnant configuration existed,
“a world stripped of spirit and past.” 18
Asia, according to Campbell and Said, was Europe’s Other. 19
Asia was the location of Europe’s oldest, greatest, and richest colonies, the source of its civilization and languages, its cultural contestant, and the wellspring of one of its most persistent images of
the Other. At the same time, cautions Said, the assumptions of
Orientalism were not merely abstractions and figments of the European imagination but composed a system of thought that supported a “Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having
authority over” Asia. Within Orientalism’s lexicon, Asians were
inferior to and deformations of Europeans, and Orientalism’s
purpose was to stir an inert people, raise them to their former
greatness, shape them and give them an identity, and subdue and
domesticate them. That colonization, wrote Said, was an engendered subordination, by which European men aroused, penetrated, and possessed a passive, dark, and vacuous “Eastern
bride,” imposing movement and giving definition to the “inscrutable Orient,” full of secrecy and sexual promise. 20 The feminization of Asia was well under way before the colonization of Asia
by Europe in the sixteenth century, as evident in the accounts
of Hippocrates, Herodotus,Z1 Aristotle, Arrian, Egeria, and
I8 Campbell, Witness, pp. 7-8, 21, 26,44-45.
19 Ibid., p. 3; and Said, Orienta/ism, p. r. See also Christopher Miller,
Blank Darkness: Africanist Discourse in French (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), who contends that Africa was Europe’s Other.
20 Said, Orientalism, pp. r, 59, 62, 72, 74, 86, 207-8, 2II, 222. For a
cautionary critique of Said, see Lisa Lowe, Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalisms (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991).
21 The contest between Greece and Asia was a major theme in ancient
Greek literature, as seen in the writings of Homer, Aeschylus, Euripides, Xenophon, and many others. The work of Herodotus, written in the fifth century
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
Arrian’s account of Alexander’s effortless victory over “effeminate” Asian men, for example, parallels his discussion of Greek
men’s easy conquest of erotic Asian women. Indian women, wrote
the Roman historian, “who will suffer themselves to be deflowered for no other gift, will easily condescend, when an elephant is
promised as the purchase,” thinking it “an honour to have their
beauty valued at so high a rate.”22 The conqueror took for himself
several Asian wives, he “bestowed the daughters of the most illustrious” Persians on his friends, and more than ro,ooo of his soldiers married Asian women. Further, commented Arrian, despite
being “in the very heat of youth,” Alexander curbed his sexual desires and thereby displayed the triumph of mind over body, rationality over sensuality, Greek over Asian. “The daughter of
Oxyartes was named Roxana, a virgin, but very marriageable,
and, by the general consent of writers, the most beautiful of all the
Asiatic women, Darius’s wife excepted,” wrote Arrian. “Alexander was struck with surprise at the sight of her beauty; nevertheless, being fully resolved not to offer violence to a captive, he
forbore to gratify his desires till he took her, afterwards, to wife
… and herein showed himself no less a pattern of true continency, than he had before done of heroic fortitude.” “As to thpse
pleasures which regarded the body,” wrote Arrian in eulogizing
Alexander, “he shewed himself indifferent; as to the desires of the
mind, insatiable.” 23
The Greek representation of Asia yielded not only soft men and
erotic women but also hard, cruel men and virile, martial women.
Fifth-century B.C.E. polarities of Greek/barbarian, male/female,
and human/animal helped to define the citizens of the polisGreek men-as the negation of their Other-barbarian, female,
animal-who were linked by analogy such that barbarian was
B.C. E., is perhaps the best known example of this genre. I simply present a selection of the evidence.
22 Arrian’s History, p. 220.
23 Ibid., pp. 112-13, r8r, 205. Arrian was a Stoic philosopher, accounting for his stress on mind over body.
like female was like animatzâ€¢ Athenian patriarchy held that men
were the norm, were superior, and brought order, whereas
women were abnormal, inferior, and brought chaos. Marriage
domesticated women, civilizing their wild, untamed sexuality and
disciplining them for admittance into the city. Amazons reversed
the gender relations of the polis and stood in opposition to its androcentrism by being members of a society of women who refused
to marry and become mothers to sons and who assumed the preeminent male characteristics of aggressiveness, leadership, and
strength. Although the myth of Amazons originated before the
Persian wars, the Greeks considered Asia to be the Amazons’
homeland, and they equated Persians with Amazons, in that both
Persians and Amazons were barbarians and, according to !socrates in 380 B.C.E., Amazons “hated the whole Greek race” and
sought “to gain mastery over all.” Athenians, explained !socrates,
defended themselves against Amazon expansion, defeated them,
and destroyed them “just as if they had waged war against all
mankind.” 25 Besides posing a political threat, Asia served as an
object lesson of how, when men ceased to act as men, order and
normalcy vanished, resulting in the topsy-turvy world of the
The Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century not only
breached Alexander’s wall but also made palpable a hithertodistant, alien people and culture. “Swarming like locusts over the
face of the earth,” Friar William of Rub ruck wrote in 12 55, the
24 Page duBois, Centaurs and Amazons: Women and the Pre-history of
the Great Chain of Being (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1982),
25 Quoted in W. Blake Tyrrell, Amazons: A Study in Athenian Mythmaking (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984), pp. 15-16. For another view of Amazons and their relation to Greek patriarchy, see duBois,
Centaurs and Amazons, pp. 4-5, 34, 70.
26 On the ambiguities of Greek attributions of male and female and the
rhetoric of discourse and reality of practice, see John J. Winkler, The Constraints of Desire: The Anthropology of Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece
(New York: Routledge, 1990).
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
Mongols “have brought terrible devastation to the eastern parts
[of Europe], laying waste with fire and carnage … it seemed that
God did not wish them to come out; nevertheless it is written in
sacred history that they shall come out toward the end of the
world, and shall make a great slaughter of men.”27 The Mongols,
of whom the Tatars were the most prominent group, appeared as
avenging angels from hell, “Tartarus,” and hence the corruption
of their name to “Tartars.” 28 Although in awe of the Mongols’ military prowess and strength, Friar William saw little to admire in
their filth and barbarism: “the poor provide for themselvesÂ· by
trading sheep and skins; and the slaves fill their bellies with dirty
water and are content with this. They also catch mice, of which
many kinds abound there; mice with long tails they do not eat but
give to their birds; they eat doormice and all kinds of mice with
short tails.” 29
The late-thirteenth-century account of Asia by the Venetian
Marco Polo contains both feminine and masculine attributions,
chaste women and diabolical men, and grotesque and wondrous
objects and people, including unicorns, Amazons, dog-headed
creatures, mountain streams flowing with diamonds, and deserts
full of ghouls. His narrative is a distillation of the brew that had
preceded him. john Masefield, in his introduction to the :t9o8 !:!clition of Polo’s Travels, wrote that “his picture of the East is the picture which we all make in our minds when we repeat to ourselves
those two strange words, ‘the East,’ and give ourselves up to the
image which that symbol evokes.” 30 A prominent part of that image was the exotic and the erotic, highlighted in Polo’s ample accounts of prostitutes, sex, and women, leading Henry Hart t~
speculate: “One may surmise that the numerous references to
27 Campbell, Witness, pp. 88-89.
28 David Morgan, The Mongols (London: Basil Blackwell, 1986), pp. 56-
29 Campbell, Witness, p. u4.
30 The Travels of Marco Polo the Venetian (London: J. M. Dent, 1908), p.
women-the intimate descriptions of their persons, their various
aptitudes in sex relations and many other details not usually related even by hardy travelers of that or a later day … were
largely, if not entirely, called forth by the frank curiosity and continual questionings of the stay-at-home Westerners for whom his
tale was told and written.” Polo wrote of the Chinese that “their
ladies and wives are also most delicate and angelique things, and
raised gently, and with great delicacy, and they clothe themselves
with so many ornaments and of silk and of jewels, that the value
of them cannot be estimated.’m
In Europe, The Travels of Sir John Mandeville was the most influential book about Asia from r 3 56, when it was first published,
to the eighteenth century. “Mandeville” was a pseudonym for
perhaps a number of authors, who claimed to have traveled from
England to the Holy Land, Egypt, Arabia, and even to the court
of the Great Khan in Cathay. Like Polo, Mandeville describedthe
marvels and monsters of the East, from the bounties of gold, silver, precious stones, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger to the horrors of
one-eyed and headless beasts, giants, pygmies, and cannibals. In
a single passage, Mandeville poses an apparently curious juxtaposition of sexuality and war, but upon reflection, the feminine
(sexuality) and masculine (war) so constructed are really two
sides of the same coin: the dominance of men over women and territory, achieved through heterosexual sex and war, and, by extension, under imperialism, European men’s superiority over Asian
women and men and their control of reproduction and the state.
On the island of “Calonak” near Java, wrote Mandeville, the king
“hath as many wives as he will. For he maketh search all the country to get him the fairest maidens that may be found, and maketh
them to be brought before him. And he taketh one one night, and
another another night, and so forth continually suing; so that he
hath a thousand wives or more. And he lieth never but one night
31 Henry H. Hart, Marco Polo: Venetian Adventurer (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967), pp. II?, 135.
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
with one of them, and another night with another; but if that one
happen to be more lusty to his pleasance than another. And therefore the king getteth full many children, some-time an hundred,
some-time a two-hundred, and some-time more.” Without a
paragraph break, Mandeville continued: “And he hath also into a
14,ooo elephants or more that he maketh for to be brought up
amongst his villains by all his towns. For in case that he had any
war against any other king about him, then [he] maketh certain
men of arms for to go up into the castles of tree made for the War,
that craftily be set upon the elephants’ backs, for to fight against
their enemies.” 32
Christopher Columbus was a great admirer of “Mandeville”
and, along with English explorers Martin Frobisher and Walter
Raleigh and Flemish cartographer Gerhardus Mercator, read and
believed Mandeville’s account of Asia and his idea of a circumnavigable and universally inhabited world. 33 The fabulous East,
the earthly paradise “discovered” and described by Columbus,
was to him and his contemporaries Asia-the “Indies”-and its
peoples were Asians-the “Indians.” They were just as surely
Asian as the lands and peoples in Polo’s and Mandeville’s travelogues. As Columbus noted in the preface to his ship’s daily log, the
expedition’s purpose was to go “to the regions of India, to see the
Princes there and the peoples and the lands, and to learn of their
disposition, and of everything, and the measures which could be
taken for their conversion to our Holy Faith.”34 Columbus compared the new lands to the virtuous Garden before the Fall, where
people were like children, innocent and unselfconscious in their
nakedness, and where the feminized land invited conquest. His
log entry for October I2, 1492, reported: “At dawn we saw naked
32 The Travels of Sir john Mandeville (London: Macmillan, 1900), pp.
33 Campbell, Witness, pp. 10, 161; and The Log of Christopher Columbus, trans. Robert H. Fuson (Camden, Maine: International Marine Publishing, 1987), p. 25.
34 Log of Christopher Columbus, p. 51Â·
people, and I went ashore in the ship’s boat, armed …. I unfurled
the royal banner. … After a prayer of thanksgiving I ordered the
captains of the Pinta and Nina … to bear faith and witness that
I was taking possession of this island for the King and Queen.” 35
Much of the land was bountiful and laden with fruit, and on his
third voyage, Columbus described the mouth of the Orinoco
River as shaped “like a woman’s nipple,” from whence issued the
waters of paradise into the sea. 36
Some islanders, reported Columbus, were friendly, domestic,
tractable, and even cowardly, but others were warlike, monstrous,
and evil, even cannibalistic (a word derived from the name
“Carib” Indians). “I also understand that, a long distance from
here,” wrote Columbus on November 4, 1492, “there are men
with one eye and others with dogs’ snouts who eat men. On taking a man they behead him and drink his blood and cut off his genitals.’m The timid Indians were eager to submit to Europeans,
being “utterly convinced that I and all my people came from
Heaven,” according to Columbus, whereas the fearless ones required discipline. Both kinds of Indians, “feminine” and “masculine,” were fair game for capture, or, in Columbus’s
euphemism, “I would like to take some of them with me.” 38 That,
in fact, was what the admiral did, as easily as plucking leaves from
the lush, tropical vegetation, to serve as guides, servants, and
specimens. Columbus’s text and others like it helped to justify a
“Christian imperialism” and were the means by which the invaders “communicated-and helped control-a suddenly larger
35 Ibid., pp. 75~76.
36 Campbell, Witness, pp. 171, 247. Walter Raleigh also believed the Orinoco led to paradise (ibid., pp. 246-47).
3 7 Log of Christopher Columbus, p. 102.
38 Ibid., pp. 145, 173; and “Letter of Columbus,” in The Four Voyages of
Columbus, ed. and trans. Cecil Jane (New York: Dover Publications, 1988),
39 Campbell, Witness, p. 166.
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
That world grew even larger in about rsro, when a few Europeans questioned Columbus’s “India” and proposed the existence
of a new continent that stood between Europe and Asia, although
cartographers continued to append American discoveries to the
Asian coast until the late sixteenth century. Accompanying and
justifying their expanded physical world was an ideology, articu~
lated in texts, of a growing racial and cultural distance between
Europeans and the peoples of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The
first cracks had appeared, in the perceptions of Asians by Europeans, in the fifth-century B.C. E. works of Hippocrates, who had
posited “very wide” differences “in every respect” between Europeans and Asians. The fissures continued to widen thereafter to
the degree that Asia, Africa, and the Americas became antipodes
of Europe, the habitations of monstrous beasts and perversions of
nature itself. That world, it seemed, needed to be appropriated,
worked over, and tamed.
The process of colonization and the relationship between colonizer and colonized were incisively described by Albert Memmi,
the twentieth-century Tunisian philosopher and author. “The co~
lonialist stresses those things which keep him separate, rather
than emphasizing that which might contribute to the foundation
of a joint community.” That focus on difference is not of itself racist, but it takes on a particular meaning and function within a racist context. According to Memmi: “In those differences, the
colonized is always degraded and the colonialist finds justification
for rejecting his subject. … The colonialist removes the factor
[the colonized] from history, time, and therefore possible evolution. What is actually a sociological point becomes labeled as
being biological or, preferably, metaphysical. It is attached to the
colonized’s basic nature.” 40 Whether because of race or culture, of
biology or behavior, of physical appearance or social construct,
Asians appeared immutable, engendered, and inferior. These dif40 Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized (Boston: Beacon
Press, 1967), p. 71.
ferences not only served to set Asians apart from the “joint community” but also helped to define the European identity as a
negation of its Other.
Reflecting on works published on the five-hundredth anniversary of Columbus’s “discovery,” anthropologist Wilcomb E.
Washburn, noted interpreter of American Indian culture and director of the Office of American Studies at the Smithsonian Institution, reminded his readers that the initiative for discovery came
from the West and not the East, and thus “Asia was more sharply
etched on the European niind than on the Asian mind …. Both
America and Asia were relatively stagnant,” he explained, “being
more wedded to their traditions than was the West, which found
the novelty of other climes and other cultures stimulating. While
the Western mind did not always move in directions that we
would now applaud, it moved-indeed, darted here and thereas the Asian mind too often did not.”41
Following Columbus’s “great enterprise” and his “taking possession” of “Asia,” the penetration of Asia proper began with the
Portuguese, who seized parts of India and Southeast Asia during
the early sixteenth century, established a colony at Macao in
1557, and controlled much of the trade with China and Japan.
Despite Portugal’s presumed, sole possession of the hemisphere
east of the 1493 papal line of demarcation, Spain, the Netherlands, France, and Britain also participated in the trade with and
colonization of Asia. The conquest and colonization of the Americas was, of course, a product of that global expansion of Europeans, and the “when and where” of the Asian American
experience must be similarly situated. I do not claim, however,
that Orientalism’s restructuring and domination of Asia simply
migrated with Europeans to America, nor am I arguing a necessary relationship between European and European American perceptions of Asians. My contention is that there is a remarkable
41 Wilcomb E. Washburn, “Columbus: On and off the Reservation,” National Review, October 5, 1992, pp. 57-58.
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
familiarity to Orientalism’s face on both shores of the Atlantic
and that its resemblance extends to European constructions of
American Indians and Africans. 42
Historian Stuart Creighton Miller, in his 1969 book, The
Unwelcome Immigrant: The American Image of the Chinese,
I78s-r88z, argued that although it was sensible to assume that
American attitudes toward Asians were rooted in the European
heritage, he could find no direct connection between those views.
Neither the writings nor the libraries of America’s leading figures
during the colonial period showed an interest in or even curiosity
about Asians. Miller characterized that lacuna as indicative of an
“innocent, unstructured perception of China in the American
mind” and, as proof, pointed to George Washington, who was
surprised to learn in 178 5 that the Chinese were nonwhites. Further, Miller noted that the English failed to share the Continent’s
enthusiasm for Chinese government and law and for Confucian
philosophy made popular by Jesuit missionaries and by the iconoclasts of the Age of Reason. In fact, in Britain, Sinophobes such
as Daniel Defoe, Samuel Johnson, Jonathan Swift, and Adam
S111ith launched a vitriolic attack against the Chinese. The American image of Asians, Miller concluded, took shape only after direct American trade with China began with the departure of the
Empress of China from New York Harbor in 1784.43
Miller underestimates the malleability and mobility of racial attitudes and notions of the Other, characteristics that have been
amply demonstrated by scholars. Europeans, as noted by historian Dwight W. Hoover, “did not approach new lands and new
people devoid of preconceptions. Instead, they brought with them
a whole set of ideas concerning both the natural and historical
worlds.”44 Some of those preconceptions included the idea of a bi42 See chapter 5 for an elaboration of this theme.
43 Stuart Creighton Miller, The Unwelcome Immigrant: The American
Image of the Chinese, I785-z882 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of
California Press, 1969), pp. 11-14.
44 Dwight W. Hoover, The Red and the Black (Chicago: Rand McNally,
1976), p. 4Â·
ological chain of being that evolved from ape to wild man to man
and the biblical notion of postdiluvian degeneration and diversity
originating with the Tower of Babel. 45 Despite their manifest variety, ideas of race distinguished Europeans from their shadownon-Europeans-and claimed superiority for the civilized, Christian portion of humankind.
William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, first performed in r6n,
was likely set in Bermuda but might just as well have been an allegory of race relations during the age of European overseas expansion and colonization, or perhaps even an account of the sugar
plantation system that was installed along the European Mediterranean coast and on islands like Cyprus and Crete and that was
driven mainly by Asian and African slave labor by the late fourteenth century.46 Prospera, “a prince of power” and lover of
books, is set adrift with his daughter, Miranda, and lands on an
enchanted island which he takes from Cali ban, whom he enslaves
and banishes to the island’s wasteland. Caliban (anagram of the
word “cannibal”) is everything Prospera is not; he is dark and
physically deformed; he is “poisonous,” “lying,” “filth,” “capable
of all ill,” and begotten of “the devil himself.” He is both African
and Indian, his mother was from Algiers and he is descended from
Brazilians, Patagonians, and Bermudans but is also part fish, part
beast. Caliban’s mother, Prospero said, was a “damn’d witch,” a
“hag,” who had given birth to Caliban like an animal-“she did
litter here” her son, who was “not honour’d with a human
shape.” Despite being excluded from their company and despite
Miranda’s abhorrence of him, Caliban is indispensable to Prospera and Miranda, because he “does make our fire, fetch in our
wood; and serves in offices that profit us.” Prospero pities Cali4 5 I merely allude to the vast literature on the history of racism and racist
thought and cite as particularly helpful Arthur 0. Lovejoy, The Great Chain
of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1936); and George L. Mosse, Toward the Final Solution: A History of
European Racism (New York: Howard Fertig, 1978).
46 Hoover, Red and Black, pp. 1-2; and David Brion Davis, Slavery and
Human Progress (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 52-57.
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
ban, tutors him, and takes “pains to make [him] speak”; Prospero
gives meaning to Cali ban’s “gabble.” Instruction, however, proves
insufficient. The wild man is driven by savage lust and tries to kill
Prospero and rape the virginal Miranda, but he is repulsed by
Cali ban, the “savage man of Inde,” was African and Indian, but
he was also Asian insofar as Indians came from Asia, as was contended . by Samuel Purchas, scholar and chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury, in his widely read book Purchas Â· his
Pilgrimage, published in r6r3, and seconded by the astronomer
Edward Brerewood in his r6q book, Enquiries touching the diversity of languages, and religions through the chiefe parts of the
world, and by Walter Raleigh in his r6q History of the World.
The fact that Indians were once Asians accounted for their barbarism, according to these English writers.48 Thus, although a
separate race, Indians were still Asians, both groups having de”
scended from the biblical Shem; and Asians, Indians, and Africans
all belonged to the darker races of men, the Cali bans of the earth,
who were ruled by beastly passions, sought to impregnate white
women (to people “this isle with Calibans”), and, although given
a language and trained in useful labor, still turned against their
benefactors and had to be subdued.49 Perhaps influenced by those
European views, Thomas Jefferson hypothesized the kinship of
Asians and America’s Indians: “the resemblance between the Indians of America and the eastern inhabitants of Asia would in47 The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (New York: Walter].
Black, 1937), pp. 2-6; Ronald T. Takaki, Iron Cages: Race and Culture in
Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), pp. n-
!2; and Leslie A. Fielder, The Return of the Vanishing American (New York:
Stein & Day, 1968), pp. 42-49. See 0. Mannoni, Prospera and Caliban: The
Psychology of Colonization, trans. Pamela Powesland (London: Methuen,
1956), for a more complex reading of the play, esp. pp. 105-6.
48 Hoover, Red and Black, pp. 35-37.
49 See Winthrop Jordan, White over Black (Chapel Hill: University of
North Carolina Press, 1968), for British and American racial attitudes toward Indians and Africans from r 55 o to r 8 !2.
duce us to conjecture that the former are descendants of the latter,
or the latter of the former.” 50
Although they arrived in the New World carrying the baggage
of the Old World, Americans developed their own projections and
invented their own mythologies, peering from their “clearing”
into the “wilderness.” George Washington may have been reflecting the light of European ideology bent by the prism of American
experience when he declared that “being upon good terms with
the Indians” was based upon economy and expediency, and instead of driving them “by force of arms out of their Country;
which … is like driving the wild Beasts of ye forest … the gradual extension of our settlements will as certainly cause the savage,
as the wolf, to retire; both being beasts of prey, tho’ they differ in
shape.”51 And Jefferson might have defended Indians as “a degraded yet basically noble brand of white man,” but he was also
defending the American environment and its quadrupeds, those
“other animals of America,” against French naturalist Georges
Buffon’s claim of American inferiority. Having failed to assimilate
and civilize the savage and childish Indians, Jefferson argued for
their extermination, made “necessary to secure ourselves against
the future effects of their savage and ruthless warfare.”52 Jefferson,
having reached that conclusion about Indians, linked America’s
determination to clear the forests with a New World version of
British expansion and colonization and predicted that the “confirmed brutalization, if not extermination of this race in our
America is … to form an additional chapter in the English history of [oppression of] the same colored man in Asia, and of the
brethren of their own color in Ireland.”53
50 Frederick M. Binder, The Color Problem in Early National America as
Viewed by john Adams, Jefferson and Jackson (The Hague: Mouton, 1968),
51 Quoted in Richard Drinnon, Facing West: The Metaphysics of IndianHating and Empire-Building (New York: New American Library, 1980), p.
52 Ibid., pp. 8o-8r, 98; and Jordan, White over Black, pp. 475-81.
53 Drinnon, Facing West, p. Sr.
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
When Yankee traders arrived in China during the late eighteenth
century, they saw the Chinese through lenses that had already been
ground with the grit of European views of Asia and Asians and the
rub of historical and contemporary relations between European
Americans and American Indians and Africans. The traders’ dia~
ries, journals, and letters were mostly free of racial prejudice, reports Miller, and the negative images of the Chinese that did appear
concerned China’s government and the officials with whom the
traders dealt, whom they saw as despotic, corrupt, barbarous, begging, and cowardly. But traders’ accounts also revealed extreme
ethnocentrism. According to a trader, the Chinese were “the most
vile, the most cowardly and submissive of slaves,” and whites could
bully even Chinese soldiers, whose “silly grunts and menaces mean
nothing and are to be disregarded,” wrote another.54 A prominent
theme was the bizarre and peculiar nature of the Chinese in their alleged taste for dogs, cats, and rats, in their music, which was a
“mass of detestible discord,” and in their theater, which was “ridiculous or disgracefully obscene.” The records, wrote Miller, “portrayed him [the Chinese] as a ludicrous specimen of the human race
and [were] not designed to evoke the admiration and respect for
Chinese culture.” The focus on the exotic, on “strange and curious
objects,” was complemented by a featuring of vice-gambling and
prostitution- and practices showing the “moral debasement” of
the people, including idolatry, polygamy, and infanticide. The
Chinese, wrote a trader contemptuously, are ”grossly superstitious
… most depraved and vicious: gambling is universal … ; they
use pernicious drugs, … are gross gluttons,” and are “a people refined in cruelty, bloodthirsty, and inhuman.”55
The journey begun in New England and continuing around
South America’s Cape Horn was just the start of America’s masculine thrust westward toward Asia’s open shores.56 Like those
54 Miller, Unwelcome Immigrant, pp. 21, 25-27, 34Â·
55 Ibid., pp. 27-32, 35Â·
56 The phrase “masculine thrust toward Asia” is from the title of chapter
II of Takaki’s Iron Cages, p. 253.
Yankee China trade vessels, the Conestoga wagons and prairie
schooners pushed their way through “vacant, virgin” land to the
Pacific and in the process built a continental empire that stretched
“from sea to shining sea.” In r879, Robert Louis Stevenson rode
the iron rails that bound the nation together, and his account,
“Across the Plains: Leaves from the Notebook of an Emigrant between New York and San Francisco,” might be read as the great
American epic. America was “a sort of promised land” for Americans, like Stevenson, who were immigrants from Europe and
who found themselves among a diverse lot of fellow passengers,
“a babel of bewildered men, women, and children.” As the train
carried them westward, Stevenson described, like Crevecoeur, the
beauties of the land, where “all times, races, and languages have
brought their contribution.” That equality, that melting pot, however, was broken at Chicago, at the frontier of civilization, where
the travelers were placed on an “emigrant train” that consisted of
segregated coaches: one for white men, another for white women
and children, and yet another for Chinese. Stevenson reflected
upon the hatreds that had prompted that racial, gender, and age
segregation as the train “pushed through this unwatered wilderness and haunt of savage tribes.” America, he wrote, was the
meeting ground, where “hungry Europe and hungry China, each
pouring from their gates in search of provender, had here come
face to face,” and where Europeans had come with preconceived
hatreds of the Chinese that had moved them from one field of conflict to another. “They [Europeans] seemed never to have looked
at them [Chinese], listened to them, or thought of them, but hated
them a priori,” observed Stevenson. “The Mongols were their
enemies in that cruel and treacherous battle-field of money.”57
Despite his contempt for those “stupid,” albeit modified, Old
World prejudices, prejudices given further license once having left
civilization for the “unwatered wilderness” of the frontier, Steven57 Robert Louis Stevenson, Across the Plains, with Other Memories and
Essays (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1900), pp. r, II, 26-27, 48, 6o,
62; and Drinnon, Facing West, pp. 219-21.
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
son was not entirely free of those same perceptions of the Chinese.
His fellow Europeans, reported Stevenson, saw the Chinese as
physically repulsive, such that the mere sight of them caused “a
kind of choking in the throat.” “Now, as a matter of fact,” admitted the observant Scotsman, “the young Chinese man is so like
a large class of European women, that on raising my head and
suddenly catching sight of one at a considerable distance, I have
for an instant been deceived by the resemblance”-although, he
offered, “I do not say it is the most attractive class of our women.”
And while looking upon the Chinese with “wonder and respect,”
Stevenson saw them as creatures from “the other” world: “They
[the Chinese] walk the earth with us, but it seems they must be of
different clay.” “They hear the clock strike the same hour, yet
surely of a different epoch. They travel by steam conveyance, yet
with such a baggage of old Asiatic thoughts and superstitions as
might check the locomotive in its course …. Heaven knows if we’
had one common thought or fancy all that way, or whether our .
eyes, which yet were formed upon the same design, beheld the
same world out of the railway windows.” 58
Stevenson’s view of the Chinese as “different clay” might have
been conditioned by his European origins, but Herman Melville,
surely no stranger to the American metaphysics of race relations,
cannot be similarly dismissed. His retelling of a story by James
Hall, “Indian hating.-Some of the sources of this animosity.–‘-
Brief account of Col. Moredock,” not only offered a stinging critique of inhumanity masked as morality, embodied in the
“confidence-man” and Indian-hater John Moredock, but also
foresaw, according to Richard Drinnon, that “when the metaphysics of Indian-hating hit salt water it more clearly became the
metaphysics of empire-building.” Although believed to be a barbarian, predicted Melville, “the backwoodsman would seem to
America what Alexander was to Asia-captain in the vanguard
of conquering civilization.” Melville, Drinnon points out, correctly saw that the relentless westward advance of the Indian58 Stevenson, Across the Plains, pp. 62, 65-66.
hater would, after reaching the Pacific Ocean, continue on to
Asia, and in Melville’s words, his hatreds would ride “upon the
advance as the Polynesian upon the comb of the surÂ£.” 59 And like
Alexander, who had sought to conquer all of India, the “backwoodsman,” the “barbarian,” “could not endure to think of putting an end to the war so long as he could find enemies.”
In truth, America’s manifest destiny was “an additional chapter” in the Orientalist text of Europe’s “dominating, restructuring, and having authority over” Asia. In July r853, Commodore
Matthew C. Perry pushed into Tokyo Bay carrying a letter from
the U.S. president demanding the opening of trade relations. That
“opening” of Japan was accomplished, like the “opening” of the
American West, with the iron fist of industry and the might of military arms; Perry’s “black ships” under full steam power and with
matchless guns were complements of the iron horses and Kentucky rifles of the backwoodsmen, who were simultaneously taming the wilderness. Reflecting on the second period of America’s
manifest destiny, after the annexation of the Philippines and Hawaii in r898 and after Secretary of State John Hay’s pronouncement of an “Open Door” with China, Theodore Roosevelt
declared: “Of course our whole national history has been one of
expansion …. That the barbarians recede or are conquered, with
the attendant fact that peace follows their retrogression or conquest, is due solely to the power of the mighty civilized races
which have not lost the fighting instinct, and which by their expansion are gradually bringing peace into the red wastes where
the barbarian peoples of the world hold sway.”60
The filling of those “red wastes,” those empty spaces, was, of
course, the white man’s burden. John Hay, a son of the frontier of
sorts, sought “to draw close the bonds” that united “the two
Anglo-Saxon peoples” of Britain and America in a common des59 Herman Melville, The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade, ed. Elizabeth S. Foster (New York: Hendricks House, 1954), pp.lxv-lxx, 164, 334-
41; and Drinnon, Facing West, pp. 214-15.
6o Quoted in Drinnon, Facing West, p. 2 3 2.
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
tiny and mission: “All of us who think cannot but see that there is
a sanction like that of religion which binds us to a sort of partnership in the beneficent work of the world. Whether we will it or
not, we are associated in that work by the very nature of things,
and no man and no group of men can prevent it. We are bound by
a tie which we did not forge and which we cannot break; we are
the joint ministers of the same sacred mission of liberty and progress, charged with duties which we cannot evade by the imposition of irresistible hands.” 61 China’s “Open Door” and America’s
“splendid little war” with Spain, observed Hay, were of that beneficent quality. “We have done the Chinks a great service,” wrote
Hay of his policy, “which they don’t seem inclined to recognize,”
and he admonished the next generation of backwoodsmen, “as
the children of Israel encamping by the sea were bidden, to Go
Forward.” Indeed, noted Hay, America had gone forward and
had charted a “general plan of opening a field of enterprise in
those distant regions where the Far West becomes the Far East.”62
In becoming a Pacific power, America had fulfilled a European
people’s destiny and, like Columbus, had gone ashore, unfurled
the royal banner, offered a prayer of thanksgiving, and taken possession of the land. America’s Far West had become the Far East,
where Indian-fighters became “goo-goo” fighters in the Philippines and Indian savages became Filipino “niggers,” and where a
war of extermination was pursued with no less determination
than the chastising of the Iroquois urged by George Washington
in 1779, when he instructed Major General John Sullivan: “but
you will not by any means, listen to any overture of peace before
the total ruin of their settlement is effected …. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us … and in the terror with
which the severity of the chastizement they receive will inspire
Asians, it must be remembered, did not come to America;
61 Ibid., p. 267.
62 Ibid., pp. 277, 278.
63 Ibid., p. 331.
Americans went to Asia. Asians, it must be remembered, did not
come to take the wealth of America; Americans went to take the
wealth of Asia. Asians, it must be remembered, did not come to
conquer and colonize America; Americans went to conquer and
colonize Asia. And the matter of the “when and where” of Asian
American history is located therein, in Europe’s eastward and
westward thrusts, engendered, transformative, expansive. But another context of the “when and where” is the historical moment
in America, where Prospero ruled over the hideous, the imperative
Caliban. Asia not only provided markets for goods and outposts
for military and naval bases but also supplied pools of cheap labor
for the development of America’s “plantations” along its southern
and western frontiers. In 1848, Aaron H. Palmer, a counselor to
the U.S. Supreme Court, anticipated the nation’s destiny in the
American Southwest and Asia when he predicted that San Francisco would become “the great emporium of our commerce on the
Pacific; and so soon as it is connected by a railroad with the Atlantic States, will become the most eligible point of departure for
steamers to … China.” To build that rail link and to bring the
fertile valleys of California under cultivation, Palmer favored the
importation of Chinese workers, explaining that “no people in all
the East are so well adapted for clearing wild lands and raising
every species of agricultural product … as the Chinese.”64
It was within those American “plantations” that Asians joined
Africans, Indians, and Latinos in labor, making Prospero’s fire,
fetching his wood, and serving in offices that profited him. It was
within those “plantations” that Europeans tutored Asians, Africans, Indians, and Latinos and gave meaning to their gabble. And
it was within those “plantations” that Asians, Africans, Indians,
and Latinos rose up in rebellion against their bondage and struck
for their freedom.
In r 8 8 5, a Chinese American described his reaction to being solicited for funds for erecting the Statue of Liberty. He felt honored
to be counted among “citizens in the cause of liberty,” he wrote,
64 Takaki, Iron Cages, p. 229.
WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
“but the word liberty makes me think of the fact that this country
is the land of liberty for men of all nations except the Chinese. I
consider it an insult to us Chinese to call on us to contribute toward the building in this land a pedestal for a statue of liberty.
That statue represents liberty holding a torch which lights the passage of those of all nations who come into this country. But are
the Chinese allowed to come? As for the Chinese who are here, are
they allowed to enjoy liberty as men of all other nationalities enjoy it?” 65 For China’s prodemocracy students in 1989 and for
Asians in America, the “goddess of liberty,” featured so prominently by the American news media, situated squarely within the
mainstream, and lifting up her torch above the masses in Tiananmen Square, was not their symbol of liberation. Instead, their
true symbol, relegated to the background as the camera panned
the crowd, situated inconspicuously along the margins, was the
declaration emblazoned by the Chinese students on the banners
they waved, the shirts they wore, and the fliers they distributed:
the words were, “We Shall Overcome.”
65 Renqiu Yu, To Save China, To Save Ourselves: The Chinese Hand
Laundry Alliance of New York (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992),
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Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more