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A Bill Moyers Special - Becoming American: The Chinese Experience

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The Chinese Experience } Eyewitness

Eyewitness Accounts

The Chinese American story is still unfolding as arriving immigrants strive to assimilate while other Chinese Americans help define the United States — a country that continues to reinvent itself. Here are stories from people who have lived the Chinese American saga first-hand.

A worker labels himself
A worker labels himself



World War II worker
World War II worker



David Ho, M.D.
David Ho, M.D.



Artist/Architect Maya Lin
Artist/Architect Maya Lin



The Early Years
"Sir: I am a Chinaman, a republican, and a lover of free institutions"
By Norman Asing

A Response to Hate
"There is a glaring contradiction here..."
By Kwang Chang Ling

Bound Feet
"Wives of merchants usually had bound feet and led bound lives."
By Judy Yung

Victory in Court
"Rejecting these racial arguments, the Court based its ruling on the Fourteenth Amendment."
By Frank H. Wu

Women in Chinatown
"Life in America, my grandmother found, was indeed rugged and unpredictable."
By Connie Young Yu

Employment Discrimination
"They wouldn't hire you. What can you do for them — they wouldn't want you. They wouldn't even give you a job sweepin' the floor. Why should they hire you when they can hire their own people."
By Tommy Wong

World War II Brings Change
"If the war didn't come I don't think we would have that opportunity. The war made a world of a difference to everyone."
By Tommy Wong

Bachelor Society
"The sight of a child in Chinatown was remarkable at that time."
By Charlie Chin

Samuel C.C. Ting - Studying in America
"So I took 100 dollars with me. I began to realize the seriousness of my situation when I landed, September 6th, 1956, in the Detroit airport."
By Samuel C.C. Ting

David Ho Arrives In America
"I was 12 when I came, and I remember thinking it's truly a different world."
By David Ho

Challenging the Stereotype
"This whole notion of model minority is a fantasy that Chinese Americans didn't create."
By Helen Zia

Cultural Inheritance
"If you only think that old is good, then there's no advancement to the future."
By Samuel C.C. Ting

Succeeding in America
"I'd always had this idea from the time I was young that I wanted to do things."
By Shirley Young

Chinatown and the Suburbs
"Our worlds were so proximate yet so distant in some ways"
By Eric Liu

Identity and Multiple Influences
"I think my identity quietly percolated up."
By Maya Lin

Being Accepted as American
"You sort of wonder who really feels unequivocally American."
By Gish Jen

Hot Dogs and Apple Pie
"America is my familiar world and China is something I have to learn."
by Helen Zia

Bicultural Influences
"My voice is very much coming out of a bicultural experience."
By Maya Lin

Becoming American
"I don't think that you need to erase the Chinese-American experience in order to capture the American experience."
By Gish Jen

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