Texas Liberal

All People Matter

1896 Painting Of Alley In San Francisco’s Chinatown

Above is a painting of an alley in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The painting is from 1896. The artist  was a C.P. Nelson.

The painting is taken from an online exhibit called The Chinese in California 1850-1925. Please click here to see the exhibit.

The Chinese in California of that time were not treated so well.

The link is part of the excellent American Memory Project of the Library of Congress.  It is well worth the time to explore the full site.

A good book to read about the history of the various ethnic groups that helped make our nation is A Different Mirror–A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki.

Here is the link for visiting Chinatown in San Francisco in the present day.

August 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maybe We’re Afraid Hispanic Immigrants Will Treat Us The Way We Treated Native Americans & Others

I’ve been reading A Different Mirror—A History Of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki.

This book is an account of the different races and ethnic groups that have lived in America.

In detaling grievous British abuse of the Irish in the 15th and 16th centuries, portrayed in Different Mirror as a precursor for the mistreatment of blacks and native Americans by British colonists , Takaki uses the following poem from the period written by Angus O’Daly

O body which I see without a head,

It is the sight of thee which has withered up my strength.

Divided and impaled in Ath-cliath,

The learned of Banba will feel its loss.

Who will relive the wants of the poor?

Who will bestow cattle on the learned?

O body, since thou are without a head,

It is not life we care to choose after thee.

Takaki also uses the following quote from a Sioux tribesman named Luther Standing Bear—

The white man does not understand the Indian for the same reason he does not understand America…Continuing to troubled with primitive fears (he has) in his consciousness the perils of this frontier continent…The man from Europe is still a foreigner and an alien. And he still hates the man who questioned his path across the continent.”

Maybe the hostility some feel towards rising numbers of immigrants in the United States, reflects an awareness of the brutality of our forefathers. We know what we did to conquer the United States and we know that this violence has a history that goes back even before the settlement of the Americas.

Maybe what some are afraid of is being treated the same way.

Or maybe the fear is  we will somehow over the years be erased from the collective memory, just as was attempted with Native Americans.

In any case, many new people are coming to the United States. Nothing is going to stop that process.

We can find ways to live with these new folks. Or we can operate from fear and anger.

The choice is ours collectively. 

January 16, 2008 Posted by | Books, History, Immigration, Poetry | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments