America's war on.....Chinese restaurants

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America's war on.....Chinese restaurants

Post by mr friendly guy » 2017-06-27 07:24pm

To combat what was deemed "a serious menace to society." No, not Spiderman, Chinese restaurants.

Apologies for the formatting ... 40n2-1.pdf


A century ago, laws and regulation were mustered to ward off a different
immigrant “threat.”

For roughly 30 years, in the last decade of the 19th
century and the first two decades of the 20th, a
national movement sought to use the law to
eliminate Chinese restaurants from the United
States. This “war,” as it was then described, is a
lost chapter in the history of U.S. racial regulation,
with relevance to immigration policy today.

A century ago, Chinese restaurants were deemed “a serious
menace to society” for two reasons. First, the restaurantsemployed
Chinese workers and successfully competed with other restaurants,
which prompted white unionists to claim the Chinese restaurants
denied “our own race a chance to live.” Second, Chinese
restaurants supposedly were morally hazardous to white women;
one observer noted that “beer and noodles in Chinese joints have
caused the downfall of countless American girls.” Accordingly,
many Americans recognized “the necessity for stamping out” the
“iniquitous Chinese Chop Suey joints.”

Fortunately, the effort failed. Today there are more Chinese
restaurants in the United States than McDonald’s, Burger King,
and KFC restaurants combined. But the “war,” unsuccessful in
its nominal goal, helped propagate the idea of Chinese as morally
and economically dangerous people, and contributed to the
passage of the Immigration Acts of 1917 and 1924, which almost
completely eliminated Asian immigration to the United States.
For most of U.S. history, the nation’s borders were open.

Although criminal conviction, disease, and certain other characteristics
disqualified a prospective immigrant, until 1921 there
were no numerical limitations on immigration.
However, this open-border policy did not apply to Asians.
Political, moral, and economic considerations led to perception
of a “Yellow Peril,” the danger that untold numbers of racially
dangerous Asians could immigrate and undermine America’s
basic character.

Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, suspending
all immigration of skilled and unskilled Chinese laborers for
10 years. In 1892 the suspension was extended another 10 years
by the Geary Act, and then was made permanent in 1902. That
was not the end of discrimination against Asians. By 1902, Japanese
and other Asian immigrants were migrating to the United
States, and their racial assimilability and therefore their right to
immigrate became public policy questions.

Chinese in the United States had limited opportunities for
employment. Some jobs required licenses that were limited to
U.S. citizens, a status immigrant Chinese could never achieve
because of racial restrictions on naturalization. Even without
law, social discrimination restricted employment opportunities.
Accordingly, many Chinese were employed in services and small
businesses such as restaurants and laundries.

Because many Americans liked Chinese food, the restaurant
business seemed promising. The popularity of “chop suey” and
other Americanized or American-Chinese dishes resulted in a
boom in Chinese restaurants. Their numbers grew rapidly in the
late 19th and early 20th century

Unions opposed Asian immigration in general and Chinese
restaurants in particular. The Cooks’ and Waiters’ Union is an
ancestor of the modern-day UNITE-HERE. Its members competed
directly with Chinese restaurants and the union was a
powerful force; by 1903, its membership exceeded 50,000.

The union was affiliated with the American Federation of Labor,
which by 1914 claimed nearly two million members.

The unions strongly supported Chinese exclusion and expansion
of the exclusion policy to all Asian races.Areport in the Mixer
and Server, the union publication, explained:

View this matter from every angle, without heat or racial prejudice,
and the fact stares us in the face that there is a conflict
between the American wage-earner and the workers or employers
from the Orient. Our Government has been compelled to
close its doors to Asiatics in recognition of this fact.
Riots and boycotts / Early methods of eliminating Chinese competition
included threats and violence. For example, Chinese restaurant
owners in Selma, Calif., were “driven out” by organized
labor. Boycott was another important tool.

Boycott was national union policy. The Mixer and Server and
other media reported boycotts against Chinese restaurants
in cities across the country, including Phoenix, Tucson, and
Willcox, Ariz.; San Francisco; Brockton, Mass.; Duluth, Minneapolis,
and St. Paul, Minn.; Butte, Billings, and Deer Lodge,
Mont.; Tonopah, Nev.; Cleveland; El Paso, Texas; Ogden, Utah;
and Casper, Wyo. Chinese restaurants were inexpensive and
thus union members were tempted to patronize them, boycotts
notwithstanding; unions imposed fines on boycott breakers to
compel compliance.

Litigation in Cleveland made clear that the boycotts of Chinese
restaurants were of a different character than other sorts
of labor action. Not intended to recruit new union members
or persuade businesses to sign a contract, the actions sought to
render Asian workers unemployed and shutter Asian businesses.
In 1919, Cleveland unions proclaimed the growing threat of “the
Chinese situation”: “one small [Chinese restaurant] twenty years
ago to all of 25 at the present time.” Union members picketed two
new Chinese restaurants, the Golden Pheasant and the Peacock
Inn; the latter responded with a lawsuit. Judge Martin A. Foran
found that picketers encouraged patrons to eat elsewhere “on the
ground that they are Chinamen and members of the yellow race,
and that Americans should not patronize a Chinese restaurant,
but should confine their patronage and support to restaurants
operated by Americans or by white persons.”

Judge Foran enjoined the picketing and scolded the unions,
noting “that all men, even including Chinamen residents of
the United States, stand equally before the law.” He noted that
the picketing was not an attempt to unionize the workers: “No
persons can become members who are not citizens by birth or
naturalization. … It is admitted that Chinamen cannot belong to
any local of defendants’ international union.” Accordingly, the
real aim was to “compel[] the management to discharge Chinese
waiters and employ white waiters, and in default of so doing,
compel the restaurant to cease doing business.”

Even when not enjoined, nonviolent boycotts were rarely
wholly successful. Judge Foran seems to have been right when
he wrote:

The law of competition in business controls business relations
as immutably as the law of gravitation controls matter. If a
Chinaman can furnish better food at less cost than a white man,
he will be patronized, and I know of no law that will compel or
force any patron to pay a higher price for inferior food merely
because it is prepared and served by a white man.
Since there was no law reserving the food business to whites, the
unions sought to create one.

When boycotts failed, unions invoked another rationale for regulation:
Chinese restaurants harmwhite women. The restaurants
were suspected of being locations for vice. Chinese restaurants
and Chinatowns were often tourist attractions. Middle and
upper class whites visited Chinatown restaurants out of “morbid
curiosity” for an evening of “slumming.”

Newspapers offered lurid reports that Chinese restaurants
were fronts for opium dens, and that Chinese men used opium
“as a trap for young girls.” The idea of white female victimization
became a media trope. In 1899, King of the Opium Ring, by
Charles E. Blaney and Charles A. Taylor, played at the Columbus
Theater and the Academy of Music in New York. Later produced
around the country, it featured a clown who rescues a young
white woman from the balcony of a Chinese restaurant. Movies
depicted similar scenes and renowned “realistic” artists painted
Chinatown vistas.

As early as 1899, the question was asked, “Can any means be
devised to prevent the employment of white girls in Chinese restaurants?”
The Madera Mercury (Calif.) noted, “Beer and noodles
in Chinese joints have caused the downfall of countless American
girls.” The Bridgeport Herald (Conn.) reported, “Many a young girl
received her first lesson in sin in Chinese restaurants.” And the
Chicago Tribune noted:

More than 300 Chicago white girls have sacrificed themselves
to the influence of the chop suey “joints” during the last year,
according to police statistics. … Vanity and the desire for showy
clothes led to their downfall, it is declared. It was accomplished
only after they smoked and drank in the chop suey restaurants
and permitted themselves to be hypnotized by the dreamy,
seductive music that is always on tap.

The St. Louis Post warned that Chinese restaurants
are visited … often by respectable girls and women on sight-seeing
expeditions, or [those] who have “the chop suey habit.” The
Chinese of these places soon find a way to form an acquaintance
with young women customers who go to the place often.
… In Hop Alley several Chinese have white wives.

It “gave a girl a bad name” just to work in a Chinese restaurant,
reported the Labor World, the union paper in Duluth, Minn.
Not all those visiting Chinatowns went for amusement or
vice. Christian missionaries entered to evangelize, but sensational
newspaper reports claimed that female missionaries too often succumbed
to “the fatal lure of Chinese.” One clergyman explained:
“I know the possible dangers of social intercourse between the
races … so our Chinese school is watched very strictly.” A Kansas
City detective thought that society should “prevent young girls
fromwrecking their lives by attempting to Christianize Orientals.”
The oldest Chinese mission worker in New York stated that she
did not “believe in young girls teaching Chinamen” because the
Chinese continue to “hold a fascination for young American girls
… after they once come in contact.”

The year 1909 was critical for regulation of Chinese. In an era
when many Americans used over-the-counter patent medicines
containing opiates or cocaine, Congress passed the Smoking
Opium Exclusion Act of 1909. And then in June came tragedy
and disaster. As recounted in Yale historian Ting Yi Lui’s awardwinning
book The Chinese Trunk Murder (Princeton University
Press, 2007), Leon Ling, a New York Chinese restaurant worker,
murdered Elsie Sigel, a young white missionary froma prominent
family headed by Civil War hero Franz Sigel. In part because Ling
was the subject of an unsuccessful national manhunt, the crime
became a prolonged sensation.

Sigel was described as a Christian missionary seduced by her
Chinese pupil. Lurid headlines such as “Was Strangled By Her
Chinese Lover: Granddaughter of General Sigel Slain in the Slums
of New York” captured public attention. The subsequent “wave
of suspicion” put Chinese restaurants across the country in the
spotlight. An Oregon newspaper stated “that the Sigel revelations
have disgusted the Americans, and at present it is considered bad
form to eat in a Chinese restaurant.”

The press followed the case for years and the murder stimulated
race-based regulation under the guise of “protect[ing] young
women.” The Washington Times commented: “The Elsie Sigel case
wasn’t enough. . . . Every state in the union should pass laws that
would prohibit a white girl from ever crossing a Chinaman’s

Whitewomen’s labor law/ After the murder, there was a national
movement to keep women out of Chinese restaurants. Arizona,
Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, as
well as such cities as Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco,
considered legislation or decrees banning white women from
patronizing Chinese restaurants or being employed there. A bill
also became law in Saskatchewan, Canada.
The national nature of the effort is reflected by the following
resolution of the American Federation of Labor to exclude
white women from Chinese and Japanese restaurants across the
United States:

WHEREAS the evils arising from the employment of white
women and girls in establishments owned or controlled by Chinese
and Japanese constitute, both morally and economically, a
serious menace to society; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the American Federation of Labor be
requested to pledge its best endeavors to secure the passage of a
law prohibiting the employment of white women or girls in all
such establishments.

It is not clear that the ban, proposed before the Nineteenth
Amendment, was congenial to women themselves. In 1916 the
Arizona Republican reported that a wealthy woman “advertised
for a cook and in thirty days one replied. In the same column of
the paper was an ad for a girl cashier in a Chinese restaurant and
forty answered in one day.” Nevertheless, the idea turned into
legislation or other action in a number of jurisdictions.

The Pittsburgh City Council passed an ordinance in 1910,
49–2, banning all women from Chinese restaurants as patrons
or employees, and restricting the restaurants’ hours of operation.
But in a virtuoso explanation of its legal defects, Mayor William
Magee vetoed the bill, explaining:
While the ordinance apparently treats the “Chinese” in an
impersonal sense, it is plainly directed against the Chinese as
a race. … The legal objections to this enactment are numerous
and varied but I shall sum them up as to unreasonableness and
discrimination as follows:

First: It invests the Director of the Department of Public Safety
with unlimited discretion to grant or refuse said license, because
he is not to grant the same “to any person who is not of good
moral character,” and it need scarcely be said that what is or is
not good moral character may be purely an arbitrary opinion.

Second: By implication it permits the Director to revoke said
license in case of “the visit of disreputable persons to said
restaurant or chop suey houses,” and here again the right to do
business is subject to an arbitrary opinion of the director.

Third: The ordinance forbids the visit of women or girls to
these restaurants, thus arbitrarily confining and limiting the
business of the same.

Fourth: The hours for doing business at these places is fixed
from six A.M. until midnight which is a restriction not imposed
on any other restaurant in the city.

In short the ordinance contains throughout provisions which
are unreasonable and plain discriminations and are clearly
illegal and invalid under the laws of Pennsylvania as well as
under the provisions in the Federal Constitution and have been
so held in the courts both Federal and State.
Massachusetts saw a protracted effort to regulate Chinese
restaurants. In 1910, the “YellowPeril Bill” was introduced, which
would have prohibited all womenunder 21 fromentering Chinese
restaurants as patrons or employees, and requiring a non-Asian
male escort for older women. Many legislators called the bill
unconstitutional, some noting that the law applied to Chinese
women married to Chinese men, and therefore forbade a Chinese
woman from dining with her husband. Nevertheless, it passed
a first and second reading. But State Attorney General Dana
Malone found that the bill “discriminates against the Chinese
by reason of their nationality, and, therefore, if passed, would
be unconstitutional and void.” This turned the tide; the House
rejected the bill. After it was reintroduced in 1911, the House
asked the Supreme Judicial Court for an advisory opinion, which
unanimously found the law unconstitutional. The Court stated:
It subjects Chinese to an oppressive burden that deprives them
of liberty which all others enjoy, and interferes with their right
to carry on business, acquire property and earn a livelihood,
and denies them the protection of equal laws.
The bill was withdrawn the next day.

Serious attention was given to the idea in other jurisdictions.
In September 1912, the Los Angeles Times reported that police chief
and future mayor Charles E. Sebastian “says he will recommend
to the Police Commission that an order be issued barring all
white female help from oriental eating places, with the penalty
that if the order is not instantly complied with that their license
be revoked.” Two years later the Los Angeles Herald reported, “The
police commission gave its unanimous approval today to the plan
of Chief of Police Sebastian to exclude white girls as cashiers or
waitresses fromrestaurants and cafes run by Japanese or Chinese.”

San Francisco officials considered legislation preventing white
women fromworking in Chinese and Greek restaurants. The city
attorney declared that while the legislation aimed at Greek restaurants
amounted to “class legislation” and thus would be unconstitutional,
validity of legislation aimed at Chinese restaurants “was a
debatable question.” He reasoned that “if such places as generally
operated are against the welfare of white women, it is more than
probable that the constitutionality of the legislation as to them
would be upheld on the ground of a reasonable exercise of the
police power.” It does not appear that the legislation was enacted.

In 1915, the Montana Senate approved a similar bill 31-0 with
nine abstentions. However, U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings
Bryan wrote to the House opposing the bill, and it failed.

Oregon andWashington also considered similar bills. Members of
the Arizona legislature reportedly considered drafting legislation
prohibiting white girls from working in Chinese restaurants, but
it does not appear that a bill was introduced.

There is one report of a ban imposed by judicial action. Iowa
District Court Judge Lawrence De Graff reportedly issued an
order enjoining the owner of a Chinese restaurant from serving
women. However, he quickly reversed himself, finding that it was
“not equitable to enjoin the owner of a chop suey restaurant to
prevent women” from dining therein.

Emergency police authority / For the reasons articulated by Pittsburgh
Mayor Magee and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial
Court, discriminatory legislation explicitly targeting Chinese
restaurants was legally problematic. Nevertheless, government
kept white women from patronizing or working in Chinese
restaurants. This was done through emergency police authority,
which was apparently more potent than legislation.

Most prominently in the wake of the Sigel murder but also
on other occasions, police simply ordered white women and girls
out of Chinese restaurants or neighborhoods. The head of the
Washington, D.C. Police Department issued orders forbidding
all “young white girls” fromentering Chinese restaurants. In New
York, police vowed to end the “slumming” expeditions and tourist
attractions of Chinatown. In 1910, NewYork Deputy Police Commissioner
Clement J. Driscoll announced that he was going to
“force white women away from Chinatown and keep them away.”
Officers also searched forwhite womenresiding with Chinesemen
and prepared a list for “Tenement House Inspectors.”

It is odd that police could force women out of Chinese restaurants
when legislatures could not. Perhaps the explanation is
exigency. Even today, there is a plausible argument that the police
can order people to “move on” at their whim, and arrest them
if they do not. Of course, police are free to act unilaterally, even
forcibly, to protect lives and property in emergencies. Even today,
authorities can discriminate on the basis of race when necessary
to meet a pressing exigency. Police orders are temporary and specific,
while laws are normally general and permanent (or at least
open-ended) and thus represent a greater intrusion.

In addition, the war against Chinese restaurants was fought in
a largely pre-modern era of law. Because many of the provisions
of the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states, the police had
much freer rein. Or the explanation may be that this was an era
when police lawlessness was difficult to control.

Citizenship discrimination / An easy way to eliminate Asian restauranteurs
would have been to require citizenship for licensure
or employment.

The media reported several attempts by Chicago officials to
implement a citizenship requirement. In 1906, the City Council
considered a bill requiring special licenses for “chop suey” restaurants.

The Chicago Tribune reported,“When it was pointed out that
the Chinese would be barred permanently as they cannot become
citizens,” one alderman said the city “could get along without any
chop suey places.” In 1918 it was reported that “Chicago’s Chinese
colony was given a severe jolt when it was announced at the city
collector’s office that many of them owning chop suey restaurants
and other eating places would have to go out of business through
inability to obtain licenses.” By 1922 the Chicago Municipal Code
required those seeking restaurant licenses to have “good character
and reputation” and be “suitable for the purpose,” leaving ample
roomfor discretion. But there was no requirement that applicants
be citizens. Similarly, Massachusetts legislators considered limiting
victualer’s licenses to citizens, but the proposal failed.

State laws requiring citizenship to operate a restaurant were
probably doomed. In Asakura v. City of Seattle, a 1924 case involving
a Japanese immigrant, the Supreme Court invalidated an
ordinance restricting pawnbroker licenses to citizens.

Another method to eliminate Chinese restaurants would have
been to prohibit Chinese fromworking. In 1914, Arizona enacted
the Anti-Alien Employment Act prohibiting businesses from
employing more than 20% noncitizens in their workforces. The
February 1914 Mixer and Server crowed that “before long every
restaurant in Phoenix will be conducted by white people instead
of the Chinks, as has been the customfor many years in Arizona.”
Chinese restaurant workers sued, but before their case could
be heard, a federal court struck down the statute based on a suit
by an Austrian restaurant worker. In a decision upheld by the U.S.
Supreme Court, the district judge found that the right to labor was
property and that the lawviolated equal protection.

1915 Supreme Court decision in Truax v. Raich presumably invalidated
a similar Los Angeles ordinance passed in August that was
“designed to do away with the employment of Orientals in saloons
and restaurants and give their places to citizens.”
Licensing discrimination / By the 1920s, it seemed clear that legislation
targeting Chinese restaurants as such was unconstitutional.

But if blatantly discriminatory laws were prohibited,
facially neutral ones had a better chance of succeeding. The
growth of the regulatory state meant that more activity could
only be conducted with the permission of the government. Chinese
laundries were discriminated against, as reflected by the
Supreme Court’s decision in Yick Wo v. Hopkins, holding that
Chinese were selectively denied laundry licenses by San Francisco
officials. Chinese restaurants were similarly targeted.

Court decisions and newspaper reports across the country
indicated a push to deny licenses to Chinese restaurants. For
instance, Chicago imposed restrictive zoning. In 1911, the city
council voted to order the commissioner of public works and the
commissioner of buildings “to refuse the issuance of permits for
contraction or remodeling of any building or buildings by any
Chinaman” in the district near Wabash Avenue and 23rd Street.
The resolution noted that “the Chinese in the city of Chicago are
invading said neighborhood” and their presence “will materially
affect and deprecate the value of property in said vicinity.”

In El Paso, a boycott bore fruit when a number of Chinese
restaurants closed. According to the American Federationist, the
American Federation of Labor’s journal: “There is a clear reason
why” in El Paso in 1915 “six Chinese restaurants [were] replaced
by Americans”: “Union men [were] appointed at the head of five
departments in the city.” In Brockton, unions also turned to regulators
to oppose the renewal of the licenses of Chinese restaurants.
Regulatory boards and commissions reportedly denied licenses
as a matter of policy. The Los Angeles Herald reported that “the
police are opposed to Chinese chop suey restaurants outside of
Chinatown” because they have a “tendency to disturb the peace.”
Similarly, the San Francisco Call reported on the denial of a license
to a Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto: “There has never been a
Chinese business house in Palo Alto and it has been the policy
of the citizens to keep such places out at all hazards.” There were
similar reports in Omaha, Mo.; Moline, Ill.; Minneapolis; and
several cities in Massachusetts.

Discriminatory enforcement / To be sure, some misconduct
reported in Chinese restaurants, or for which Chinese restauranteurs
were convicted of crimes, represented actual wrongdoing.

However, the special focus of law enforcement on Chinese may
well have played a part. There is little reason to believe that Chinese
were disproportionately inclined to lawbreaking. Thus, the
many reports of apparent selective enforcement, or promises to
place Chinese restaurants under particular scrutiny, suggest the
possibility that Chinese were arrested or deprived of licenses for
conduct that would not have led to adverse action if committed
by members of other groups.

In 1899, the Boston police commissioners ordered all Chinese
restaurants to close by midnight. The Boston Daily Globe reported
that the action was “part of the commissioners’ plan to drive the
Chinese places fromBoston.” Chicago authorities also paid special
attention to Chinese restaurants. In June 1905, the Chicago City
Council considered a resolution calling for investigation of Chinese
restaurants, and by October 1 the restaurants were under investigation
by the state attorney’s office and the police. Rev. J. E. Copus
reported in Rosary Magazine, “The police department has promised
to ‘get after’ the ‘chop suey dump.’” The Chicago police chief
ordered “rigid inspections at frequent intervals” of Chinese restaurants
and ice cream parlors. A Chicago police lieutenant promised
“a crusade on the many Chinese restaurants in his district.”

The St. Louis, Mo. police chief said, “The Chinese chop suey
restaurants and Hop Alley will be closely watched by the police of
St. Louis, who had their attention called to the Chinese problem
in American cities by the murder of Elsie Sigel.” In Washington,
D.C. in 1914 the district attorney advised officers to pay special
attention to “restaurantswhere liquor is served to women,motion
picture theaters, and Chinese restaurants.”

Prohibiting private booths / Chinese restaurants in the early
decades of the 20th century typically had private booths consisting
of small rooms with doors or curtains. A national movement
to prohibit booths and private rooms was aimed at least in part
at Chinese restaurants. The U.S. Public Health Service published
a model ordinance prohibiting booths in restaurants, explaining:
Recurring complaint was made that in “chop suey” places and
in other types of refreshment places the boxes, partitions, and
booths made favorable places of solicitation and operation
for pimps and prostitutes. By requiring the partitions to be
removed the entire establishment was thrown open to public
gaze and opportunity of unlawful acts destroyed.

As the Supreme Court has noted, zoning requirements can impose
a “substantial obstacle” on disfavored targets.
Beginning in Ogden, Utah, booth regulations appeared across
the country. Some expressly targeted Chinese restaurants. Others
were facially neutral, but they appeared in jurisdictions that
had implemented or seriously considered other anti-Chinese
restaurant measures.

As the 1910s turned into the 1920s, something seemed to change.
Perhaps union members and competing restaurateurs sensed
that the Chinese had been vanquished. The Census reported
107,488 Chinese in the continental United States in 1890, 89,863
in 1900, and 71,531 in 1910. The 1920 Census showed a further
decline to 61,639. Anti-Chinese policies had reduced the U.S.
Chinese population by almost half.

The political goal sought by the unions had been almost
fully realized. Congress barred immigration of members of races
native to continental Asia in the Immigration Act of 1917. While
Japanese immigration had been restricted by the Gentlemen’s
Agreement of 1907–1908, in 1924 they were explicitly barred by
statute. The problem of Asian immigration and competition with
white workers seemed to have been permanently resolved.
Moreover, the perception of Chinese restaurants was in the
process of changing. Officials began to say that Chinese restaurants
were clean and wholesome.Onboth coasts, the “Chop Suey
craze” continued, but slumming was being replaced with glamour:
Broadway between Times Square and Columbus Circle was
home to fourteen big “chop suey jazz places.” … In San Francisco,
most of these new nightspots were in Chinatown…. Featuring all-
Chinese singers, musicians, chorus lines, and even strippers, clubs
like the Forbidden City attracted a clientele of politicians, movie
stars, and businessmen out for an exotic good time.

Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan, and other celebrities
patronized the Forbidden City, a glamourous nightclub in San
Francisco’s Chinatown. The first major Chinese cookbook was
published in English in 1945; Chinese food had been tamed
enough to have around the house.

And yet, unions were right to fear that Chinese restaurants
could be a Trojan horse, an economic toehold giving the Chinese
community a chance to grow. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan and
Nathan Glazer noted in Beyond the Melting Pot, restaurants could
be centers of economic activity for the larger community: “The
Chinese restaurant uses Chinese laundries, gets its provisions
fromChinese food suppliers, provides orders for Chinese noodle

In addition, the late University of Hawaii political scientist
Fred Riggs, in his 1950 book Pressures on Congress: A Study
of the Repeal of Chinese Exclusion (MIT Press), noted:
An important factor … was their entrance into characteristic
occupations held as a natural monopoly, notably, the hand
laundry and Chinese restaurant. … This occupational specialization
destroyed “white” labor’s fear of competition, while
enjoyment of the Chinese cuisine and other services won for
the “Celestial” the patronizing good-will, if not the friendship,
of a substantial section of the American public.

Recognizing that there was once a U.S. war against Chinese restaurants
offers several insights into American law. It is an example
of how legal ideas can propagate. Here, innovation occurred
not through judges, international organizations, bureaucrats, or
organizations of lawyers like the National Conference of Commissioners
on UniformState Laws or the American LawInstitute.

Instead, labor organizations and the motivated private citizens
who belonged to them obtained hearings for their discriminatory
The war on Chinese restaurants is also an example of what
UCLA law professor Douglas NeJaime has called “winning
through losing.” Unions and law enforcement declared war
on Chinese restaurants, and the Chinese restaurants won.
The innovative tool invented for the fight, banning white
women from eating in Chinese restaurants, became law almost
nowhere and was likely legally untenable. Yet, unionized workers
had the benefits of Chinese restaurants and simultaneously
restricted competition with Asian workers through federal
immigration laws.

This story indicates howAsian Pacific American legal history—
and, for that matter, history in general—has been under-investigated.
It is no surprise that Arizona, California,Montana, Oregon,
and Utah targeted Asians; those states enacted laws prohibiting
Asians from intermarrying with whites and owning land. Given
their animus, additional discriminatory actions were predictable.
But Massachusetts, Minnesota, NewYork, Ohio, and Pennsylvania
had no race-based miscegenation or land laws, yet those states or
cities within them carried on heretofore unexplored legal attacks
on Chinese economic activity.

Perhaps the most important implication of the campaign is
that it represents another chapter in the persistent, systematic
economic exploitation of people of color in the United States. For
example, the Constitution protected slavery, designed to derive
advantage fromforced African labor. After the Civil War, in many
parts of the country African Americans were compelled to work
by a compromised criminal justice system. Similarly, Latinos in
the United States have often labored without the opportunity for
equal treatment. The Indian tribes once possessed priceless real
estate; now they do not. Later, the United States held a fortune
in Indian property “in trust,” an obligation that, in the decades it
has been in force, has been honored occasionally if at all.

Chinese and other Asians were also targeted by law for economic
reasons. On its face, the method was different than in
other race-based cases. Southern planters and other business
owners desired African slave labor at below-market prices, illegally
importing enslaved persons before the Civil War and, even
after the formal abolition of slavery, using law to prevent African
American migration out of the South. With Chinese and other
Asians, the concern was economic competition with workers on
the Pacific coast. The legal solution was exclusion, both of future
competitors and of those already present in the United States,
with little regard for their lawful presence or the fact that some
were citizens.

The effort to drive out lawful Chinese residents is reminiscent
of the periods of economic difficulty when persons of Mexican
ancestry—citizen and noncitizen alike—were “repatriated” to
Mexico to ease their competition with whites for jobs. Although
the specific techniques used against various non-white groups
differed, they shared the underlying idea that public policy should
be structured to benefit white Americans.

And, of course, history echoes in the present. Politicians are
again talking about deporting Mexicans and other Hispanics, citing
concerns about crime and a surplus of labor. New “extreme
vetting” policies are being crafted for immigrants and refugees
from the Middle East and North Africa. And the Department of
Homeland Security posted a notice in the Feb. 15, 2017 Federal
Register proposing the collection of social media information for
people from China.

Back in 2015, Steve Bannon, now a top White House official,
had a special guest on his radio program: Donald J. Trump.
Trump spoke of his concern about immigration but added, “You
know, we have to keep our talented people in this country.” Bannon
disagreed, saying: “When two-thirds or three-quarters of the
CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think.
. . . A country is more than an economy. We’re a civic society.” In
saying this, Bannon wildly overestimated the percentage of Silicon
Valley professionals of Asian descent. More importantly, he
repeated an old belief: that only white citizens should be a part
of this nation’s civic society
Never apologise for being a geek, because they won't apologise to you for being an arsehole. John Barrowman - 22 June 2014 Perth Supernova.

Countries I have been to.
Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, USA.
Always on the lookout for more nice places to visit.

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Joined: 2002-07-07 03:03am
Location: Singapura

Re: America's war on.....Chinese restaurants

Post by PainRack » 2017-06-29 07:31am

... Its an amazing article...

Sheds a light on history and racism...

Interestingly, Hassan Minhaj from the Daily Show said something similar about Fox news in a comedy special, that for lunch, he be seeing Sean Hannity and co eating out at Tacos and etc, laughing at the idea that racism ends at the stomach.
Let him land on any Lyran world to taste firsthand the wrath of peace loving people thwarted by the myopic greed of a few miserly old farts- Katrina Steiner

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