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A Response to Hate
"There is a glaring contradiction here...."
By Kwang Chang Ling
In the 1870s, Denis Kearney rose from the docks of San Francisco to become the leader of the Anti-Chinese movement. His fiery speeches consisted largely of accusing Chinese of stealing jobs from white Americans and they helped inspire attacks against the residents of Chinatowns across the country. In 1878, in a letter to The San Francisco Argonaut, a man named Kwang Chang Ling addressed the link between hate speech and acts of violence. He told Americans:
You are continually objecting to [the] morality [of the Chinese]. Your travelers say he is depraved; your missioners call him ungodly; your commissioners call him unclean... Yet your housewives permit him to wait upon them at table; they admit him to their bedchambers; they confide to him their garments and jewels; and even trust their lives to him by awarding him supreme control over their kitchens and the preparation of their food. There is a glaring contradiction here....
The slender fare of rice and the other economical habits of the peasant class [of China], which are so objectionable to your lower orders and the demagogues who trumpet their clamors, are not the result of choice to Chinamen; they follow poverty. The hard-working, patient servants that you have about you today love good fare as well as other men, but they are engaged in a work far higher than the gratification of self-indulgence; they are working to liberate their parents in China [from poverty].... When this emancipation is complete, you will find the Chinamen as prone as any human creature to fill his belly and cover his back with good things.
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