By Patricia E. Roy
Read or Download A White Man's Province: British Columbia Politicians and Chinese and Japanese Immigrants, 1858-1914 PDF
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Additional info for A White Man's Province: British Columbia Politicians and Chinese and Japanese Immigrants, 1858-1914
Unlike discussions of economic competition, which often referred to specific circumstances, perceptions of the place of Asians in British Columbia society varied little over time or region. Thus, it is convenient to examine ideas about morality, law, and health over a broad chronological period. One reason for the immutability of the perceptions of Asians was that few whites had much contact with them outside the competitive market 14 A White Man's Province place. Yet, although they spoke collectively of "Asiatics," "Orientals," or "Mongolians," British Columbians distinguished between the Chinese and the Japanese.
In the post-Confederation era, British Columbia's overriding goal was to attract white immigrants and investors. For that, a reputation for law and order was essential. Asians did not interfere with that image. 3 Moreover, while the press seldom resisted an opportunity to make unfavourable comments about Asians, it often buried reports of Chinese being tried for murder, assault, theft, and unlicensed use of drugs, or the illegal sale of liquor in routine court reports. For Vancouver dailies, however, such incidents sometimes provided exotic stories.
Many personal attacks involved minor incidents such as schoolboys pulling Chinese queues, using passing Chinese as targets for stones or snowballs, or breaking windows and doors on Chinese buildings. The queue or pigtail was more than a temptation to naughty boys; it also fascinated adults who saw it was a distinct symbol of Chinese peculiarities. Indeed, "the tail," or "the pig-tail," became a common descriptive epithet. To the Chinese male, the queue was a sign of submission to the conquering Manchu Empire; he wore it and defended it as he might uphold a religious emblem.
A White Man's Province: British Columbia Politicians and Chinese and Japanese Immigrants, 1858-1914 by Patricia E. Roy