Fu Manchu Doesn't Live Here ; the Struggle and Triumph of Chinese-Americans Are an Integral Part of US History

By Hong, Terry | The Christian Science Monitor, May 8, 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Fu Manchu Doesn't Live Here ; the Struggle and Triumph of Chinese-Americans Are an Integral Part of US History


Hong, Terry, The Christian Science Monitor


In the final chapter of "The Chinese in America," Iris Chang writes, "I can only close this book with a fervent hope: that readers will recognize the story of my people - the Chinese in the United States - not as a foreign story, but as a quintessentially American one." Indeed, covering the huge expanse of almost two centuries, Chang's story offers a thought-provoking overview of how the Chinese have been an integral part of American history - that in fact, the country as we know it could not possibly exist without the participation and contributions of Americans of Chinese descent.

"There is nothing inherently alien about the Chinese-American experience," writes Chang, best known for her 1997 international bestseller, "The Rape of Nanking." "Chinese shared the same problems as all other immigrants - universal problems that recognized no borders."

Chang carefully traces the evolution of this American people through an interwoven history of both China and the United States, including written memoirs and recorded oral histories, countless interviews, and pieces from her own family's narrative.

From building railroads to the earliest rockets, from agriculture to pioneering AIDS research, Chinese-Americans have been at the core of the American infrastructure. At the same time, to celebrate Chinese-American achievement is to recognize and understand institutionalized racism.

But throughout American history, Chinese immigrants, later joined by other immigrants of Asian descent, have maintained a legacy of political activism: They upturned laws that not only excluded new Asian immigrants but those that kept whole families apart for decades, laws that robbed Asian-Americans of their basic civil rights, including testifying against murderers and other criminals who happened to be white, and laws that banned Asian immigrants from being naturalized or owning property or marrying white people.

Asian-Americans have endured other struggles, including perpetual anti-Chinese violence, from early "yellow peril" purges to dehumanization in the media, symbolized by such insulting representations as Fu Manchu to Icebox.com's animated Mr. Wong. They have survived unfounded challenges to American patriotism, like Tsien Hsue-shen, who pioneered the US space program only to be deported on false charges.

In spite of such a legacy, Chinese and other Asian-Americans have achieved vast success in virtually every field. They have also gained considerable status economically. Even now, however, writes Chang, "Despite this long legacy of contribution, many Chinese- Americans continue to be regarded as foreigners.... Accents and cultural traditions may disappear, but skin tone and the shape of one's eyes do not. These features have eased the way for some to regard ethnic Chinese as exotic and different - certainly not 'real' Americans.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Fu Manchu Doesn't Live Here ; the Struggle and Triumph of Chinese-Americans Are an Integral Part of US History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?