Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Another Day! Another Asian Community Attack! LA Times Disses Chinatown!

Below is a description of Los Angeles's 19th Century Chinatown on the Chinese American Museum website:


From the 1870s, Chinese were the dominant group in agricultural produce as growers, vendors and market proprietors. They distributed their produce from carts around the Plaza. They also operated laundry businesses. In 1888, a laundry operated at the Plaza Substation site. Later others ran restaurants, meat markets and groceries. Merchants owned stores and sold goods for both Chinese and non-Chinese customers along Main, Los Angeles, Alameda and Marchessault Streets.

Although professionals were small in number, Chinese also worked as herbalists, dentists, a doctor, a lawyer, interpreters, jewelers, a movie renter and even actors.

By the 1880s, Chinese occupied three sides of El Pueblo Plaza and areas south and east. In its heyday around 1900 with a population of 3,000, Old Chinatown had eight streets, hundreds of buildings and stores, several restaurants, three temples, eight missionary churches, a Chinese school and a theater for Chinese operas. It became an urban center for laborers and farm workers.

Below is a sample of LA TIMES' purple prose at its most... purple... on the same subject:

Reminders of Bigotry Unburied By David Pierson

Times Staff Writer 9:07 PM PST, March 14, 2006

They could not marry, they could not own property, and they performed the most undesirable jobs: ditch diggers, canal builders, house boys. They were banned from most shops and public institutions and were the target of racist violence that went unpunished. Los Angeles was home to an estimated 10,000 Chinese in the late 19th century - almost all men who came to America to work on the railroads and ended up in desperate straits, crowded into a filthy Chinese ghetto near what is now Union Station.

Other than it's clear that someone missed school the day distemper shots were given out, it's stunning that the LA Times would print such a racist and narrow-minded attack on a entire community. Most of the Chinese lived in conditions that were far from 'filthy' and far from all of them ended up in 'desperate straights'. I will not go into the other inaccuracies.

Ironically, the real world situation of the Chinese was horrific enough in 19th Century America without having to slur an entire race.

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