Chinese Exclusion Act

The United States argued that to accept Chinese Americans as citizens because of a “mere accident of birth” would be:

a most degenerate departure from the patriotic ideals of our forefathers; and surely in that case American citizenship is not worth having.



The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) was a US law that shut off all immigration from China to the US except for scholars, merchants, diplomats and professionals. It is where the American idea of “illegal aliens” comes from, the beginning of the country’s racist immigration policies.

At first just immigration from China was limited, then Japan and Korea were added (1907), then the Asiatic Barred Zone (1917) and then southern and eastern Europe (1924). On top of that, Chinese and Mexicans were being driven out by violence and deportation.

That is why the US was so lily-white in the 1950s. Some think of that as the “natural” state of the country, but it was the creation of a set of racist policies that began with the Chinese Exclusion Act, policies that were not overturned till 1965.

In 1881 Senator John F. Miller of California spoke in favour of the Act

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Author: Angela Grant

I am a first generation Jamaican immigrant whose experiences and accomplishments were made possible by the courage, sacrifices and the heroic acts of many whose bodies have rotted away in unmarked graves. Those are my heroes. Their sacrifices and death paved the way for my children and I. Failure to Listen is a token of my eternal gratitude. Failure to Listen is a tribute those generations of unmarked graves occupied by people of all races whose ultimate sacrifice of life opened the door for me and others, THANK YOU. Failure to Listen uses cultural lenses to appreciate and understand the relationships between current events and our values, beliefs and attitudes. Culture is everything without it we are nothing. Failure to Listen will take you on a journey to recognize the beauty of our differences as the seeds to creativity, innovation and resolving disparities. By sharing my personal and professional experiences, I hope to do justice to the perspectives of those who are rarely heard or listened to. This site is not to incite anger but rather to provoke thought. It is my hope that Failure to Listen will work to foster intergroup dialogues and motivate readers to step outside the box and get to know ALL PEOPLE. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, let's join hands and remember his famous speech about a dream... A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

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