Descriptive Essay on the Community of New Yorks Chinatown

Date:  2021-06-17 18:59:03
7 pages  (1792 words)
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Sewanee University of the South
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This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

New Yorks Chinatown is the largest Chinese community in the United States that emerged as an urban center in New York. The town has been a favored Chinese destination for immigrants migrating to the United States. These Chinese migrants came from different regions, had different cultures, and spoke different dialects. The town developed in a low-rent district in New York that most white Americans considered desirable to live in. The site got its name because it has the largest concentration of Chinese in the western hemisphere, which is situated in the east side of Manhattan. New Yorks Chinatown, is located in an area of two square miles that is bounded by Delancey streets and Kenmore streets towards the north. Chinatown has restaurants, shops, and homes for the Chinese community. The town has the largest civilization and population of the Chinese people. Chinese population in the Chinatown is estimated to be approximately 70,000 to 160,000 Chinese. Recently, other cultures and races like Filipinos, Vietnamese, Burmese, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans have made Chinatown their home. Thus, New Yorks Chinatown is not only a home of Chinese people but they the largest group living in this region. This has made Chinatown a multi ethnic disorganized community having undesirable areas, poor people undergoing economic hardship and has little resources due to the monetary condition of the Chinese immigrants and minority community that have entered the town.


In the Mid-eighteenth century, Chinese sailors and traders started trickling in the US. The Chinese population during this period was primarily transit, with small number of the population settling in Chinatown in New York to marry, to find work and live with their families. At the start of the 19th century, the Chinese community began trickling in large numbers because they were lured and promised the Gold Mountain in the early 1840s in California. Most Chinese were brought by labor brokers to be hired and help in building the Central Pacific Railroad. These immigrants arrived in the US to work for few years, earn money, and return to China.

As the railroad was about to be completed, jib decreased due to broad availability of cheap labor. The gold mines also started to yield less prompting Chinese to take up jobs in the textile and tobacco rolling industries. Most Chinese were hired because they were ready to work longer hours for fewer wages. Majority of the white Americans felt that the Chinese came to threaten their livelihoods by taking their jobs. Rampant discrimination and mob violence forced Chinese to move into the city to find jobs. The Chinese blended well with other cultures in the city. By, 1880, the east side of New York City became the biggest slum that hosted approximately 300 to 10000 Chines immigrants. These slums came to be known as Chinatown.

Chinatown was largely inhabited by the Chinese community. As a result of self-segregation and racial discrimination, a structure was developed that involved associations that the people in the community together with their businesses, supported and supplied people with food, basic things for everyday living and health care services. The town continued increasing in population providing living arrangements and contacts as Chinese continue trickling into the town despite the craped and poor living conditions.

The 1882, Chinese Exclusion Act was due to the increase in anti-Chinese sentiment that discriminated based on their nationality. This resentment was because the Chinese community was ready work for few wages in in worse conditions compared to majority of the white laborers. The 1882, Chinese Exclusion Act prevented naturalization of the Chinese population who was living in the United States and prevented immigration of Chinese people who had no special work permit that deemed him/her as a diplomat, student or merchant. Besides, the Act also prevented the immigration of the children and wives of Chinese laborers in the US. The Act further became more restrictive; however, it was lifted in the Second World War.

The male and male ration in Chinatown was heavily influenced by the 1882, Chinese Exclusion Act. There were approximately 40 to 150 women in the entire Chines population living in Manhattan. This changed the natural landscape of Chinatown resulting into a bachelor society that became associated with prostitution, opium dens, and slave girls, which further increased the white antagonism towards the Chinese people. Based on the rules and regulations implemented by the United States government that prevented the keeping the Chinese tradition and the increase in hostility among the Chinese and the whites, societies and associations were formed with an aim of protecting the interest the Chinese people. Many Chinese laborers worked illegally because of US underground economy.

The internal political structure of the Chinese people in Chinatown included various fraternal organizations or tongs and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association were essential in managing businesses, mediating disputes, making funeral arrangements among other responsibilities. One important organization to the Chinese was the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association that had its constitution, imposed levies, and taxes on Chinese people in Chinatown and ruled the town.

The 1882, Chinese Exclusion Act was lifted in 1943. The Chinese population were given a small quota, which enabled the community to continue growing through ought the 40s. Restaurants, the hand-laundry business, and the garment industry continue employing Chinese people and paying less than the minimum wage that was required. Despite viewing the Chinese community as the model minority group, Chinatown came from the mainland. This made them to be seen as downtown Chinese as opposed to uptown Chinese who had become members of the elite class. In 1968, the Quota was increased because of the continuous illegal migration of Chinese community into the United States. Chinatown expanded and exploded and elite class emerged buying buildings for offices and starting garment factories. However, most buildings in Chinatown are tenements that were built in the late 19th and 18th century.

Today, foreign investors from Hong Kong have poured into New Yorks Chinatown. Rent on most stores and apartments in China town have the highest rates in New York because of the luxury housing that are tightly packed. China town has become a home of Chinese migrants and a tourist attraction for most tourists across the world. The town has markets, restaurants, and stores for tourists and restaurants who pass through. Chinatown also offer residents and visitors with a number of booming fruits, restaurants, knickknacks shops, fish markets and sweets on overcrowded and torturously winding streets.

Stakeholders, politicians, and advocates developed the Victims Right Movement in early 1990 to address justice issues based on victims and victimization CITATION Kat13 \l 1033 (Harris, 2013). The movement aimed to bring attention to Chinese women who are directly affected by physical and sexual violence. Victims Rights Movement as an advocate and feminist movement took it upon themselves to fight against such gender-based violence. Besides, aboriginal women showed great leadership in bringing the issue into spotlight. Through the movement, shelters were established, coordinated media campaigns, volunteered in clinics and arranged counseling to end issues of sexual violence against aboriginal women CITATION VIC14 \l 1033 (Victims of Violence, 2014). The Victims Right Movement has been leading the efforts because of its research, on the ground efforts and advocacy in protecting the right against victimization and sexual assault against aboriginal women. There were many grass roots models and proposals put forward to deal with violence like support for Aboriginal self-determination. Despite all the efforts sexual and physical violence against aboriginal women has not received the deserved attention. There is political discourse among Aboriginal people that has been influenced strongly based on the manner in which aboriginal issues are framed and handled by the courts CITATION Kri10 \l 1033 (Gilchrist, 2010).

The Canadian Constitution Act, section 35(1) has taken the issue of inequality seriously CITATION VIC14 \l 1033 (Victims of Violence, 2014). However, the government of Canada is not concerned with the issues affecting the aboriginal people unless the courts force it to take charge and actions. Also, since the courts are not so sensitive to the problems affecting the aboriginal women, most of the political agendas are based on 35(1) jurisprudence CITATION VIC14 \l 1033 (Victims of Violence, 2014). Ann Burgess a psychiatrist and a professional in issues related to traumatic impacts of victimization describe that the Victim Rights system has been faced with the difficulties in the criminal justice system CITATION Kri10 \l 1033 (Gilchrist, 2010), where aboriginal women have suffered many inequalities. The movement has brought attention on the manner in which women victims of sexual violence are being re-victimized by the courts and police. The Criminal Justice System is not primarily focused on apprehension and prosecution of offenders leaving victims without consideration or real standing in the justice process. There is little attention given to the needs of the victim facing victimization. The emotional, financial, psychological and physical needs were neglected by justice officials leading to secondary traumas; a process referred to as re-victimization. Most victims described that their treatment during an investigation by police officers has always been grossly inadequate.

In a research carried out in 1993 on Aboriginal people, most Aboriginal women reported the failure of dealing with their complaints, the revelation of the public of upsetting information and delays to respond to their requests CITATION Kat13 \l 1033 (Harris, 2013). The normal processes of the investigation were always unreasonably traumatic for victims, frequently leaving them feeling re-victimized. Victims also felt that judges treated them as witnesses and their worth was based on the manner in which they were able to perform in court. Besides, most victims of sexual assault were blamed for their victimization and underwent intense scrutiny to find how credible or reliable their testimony were considered. Therefore, the Victims movement in Canada had failed to meet the needs of aboriginal women because Canada as a country was behind in the fight for the rights of women compared to other countries like the United States CITATION Joh134 \l 1033 (Borrows, 2013).

Even as the courts incarnate the offenders, most aboriginal victims see the systems continue pushing them aside. These people feel like they do not have a voice of being heard by the policy makers and parole officials who continue realizing violent and dangerous offenders in the streets without considering the future or past of the aboriginal victims. These experiences are compounded by the lack of victims support services from both the community and the justice system.

Gilchrist (2010), states that one of the primary reasons the Victims Rights Movement was not successful in the fight against the gender-based violence among aboriginal women is because most Aboriginal women are poor sex workers CITATION Kri10 \l 1033 (Gilchrist, 2010). Such women are believed to be at high risk of sexual violence because aboriginal women did put themselves at high risk as they put themselves in dangerous positions and choices. The discourse blames Aboriginal women and complicates the social conditions that shape and govern decisions made in the above-mentioned circumstances. Aboriginal scholar MartinHill described...


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