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The Chinese in Mexico, —is a trailblazing study that not only fills a gap in the history of Chinese in North America but also has larger implications for the need for a new field of Asian-Latino studies.
Robert Chao Romero examines the transnational trade networks that developed after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in the United States in As a result of Mexican governmental efforts to attract Chinese laborers and the closure of traditional business and work opportunities in the United States, more than 60, Chinese immigrated to Mexico. Thousands would seek to cross into the United States using coyotes and human smugglers—in an eerie parallel to contemporary Mexican undocumented immigrants—and relying on ties to Chinese merchants in San Francisco as well as agents in China, Mexico, and Cuba.
A review of “the chinese in mexico, –”
However, many Chinese laborers were able to start their own stores, marry Mexican women, and start families in Mexico. In fact, Chinese immigrants became so successful that by the s Chinese merchants had developed a monopoly selling groceries and dry goods in northern Mexico.
The state of Sonora banned Chinese-Mexican intermarriage and ordered the Chinese to live in segregated neighborhoods. By almost every single Chinese living in Sonora had been forced to move away.
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The book includes rather stunning examples of the virulent anti-Chinese racist propaganda wielded by the various labor and political forces within Mexican society, including political cartoons and popular song lyrics used to depict mixed Chinese-Mexican families in debased terms. However, Chao Romero shows that the Chinese fought back against these racist tropes, hired lawyers to defend their right to marry, and often succeeded in court cases against Sonoran Law 31 that forbade Chinese-Mexican intermarriage. Chao Romero bases his study on U. The Chinese in Mexico is a fascinating study of a little-known chapter in history, overshadowed in America by the larger study of Chinese in the United States and largely omitted from official Mexican history texts, Chao Romero notes.
This book provides a much-needed corrective. Recommended articles lists articles that we recommend and is powered by our AI driven recommendation engine.
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