The first detailed examination of the link between the “Chinese question” and the “Negro problem” in nineteenth-century America, this work forcefully and convincingly demonstrates that the anti-
Chinese sentiment that led up to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 is inseparable from the racial double standards applied by mainstream white society toward white and nonwhite groups during the same period.
Najia Aarim-Heriot argues that previous studies on American Sinophobia have overemphasized the resentment labor organizations felt toward incoming Chinese workers. This focus has caused crucial elements of the discussion to be overlooked, especially the broader ways in which the growing nation sought to define and unify itself through the exclusion and oppression of nonwhite peoples.
This book highlights striking similarities in the ways the Chinese and African American populations were disenfranchised during the mid-1800s, including nearly identical negative stereotypes, shrill rhetoric, and crippling exclusionary laws.
Removing Chinese American history from the vacuum in which it has been traditionally studied, this book stands as a holistic examination of the causes and effects of American Sinophobia and the racialization of national immigration policies.