A Different Mirror

  • Uncategorized

ADifferent Mirror

ADifferent Mirror


TheBear Flag Rebellion in 1846 was a short-lived independence instigatedby the American settlers. The war was an insurgency against theoccupation of the Mexicans in the California region (Takaki, 2008).During this time, rumors spread that the Mexicans were planning toevict all non-Mexican inhabitants. Therefore, both parties wereexperiencing resistance, which built up tensions between the Americanand the Mexican residents thus, causing the war (Takaki, 2008).

TheUnited States’ declaration of war against Mexico was another eventleading to the revolt. Once, the news reached California the tensionincreased in the region (Takaki, 2008). Additionally, an Americanarmy officer and explorer, John C. Fremont, arrived with a smalltroop of soldiers to conduct scientific studies in the area. However,he started encouraging the people to rebel against the Mexicanauthorities. Besides, the officers who accompanied Fermont begancollaborating with the settlers and started forming troops to fightduring the rebellion (Takaki, 2008).

Thewar ended in 1948 with the signing of the Treaty of GuadalupeHidalgo, which added extra miles to the United States’ territory(Takaki, 2008). Nevertheless, the agreement was also a way ofdispossessing the Mexican-Americans their resources including landand political rights. Although the treaty gave the Mexicans an optionto leave or stay, most of them left. On the other hand, those whoremained felt alienated since the Native Americans started viewingthem as foreigners (Takaki, 2008).

Moreover,the agreement stated that despite the provision that gave theMexicans a choice, those who stayed were not assured of the samerights as the other occupants in the region (Takaki, 2008). TheMexican-Americans were deprived of their rights throughdiscrimination in the employment sector. For instance, the Angloworkers engaged in the simple tasks such as operating machines whilethe Mexican-American workers were given manual jobs, which weretiresome and sometimes dangerous. Besides, the American workersreceived better wages compared to the Mexicans. The strategy wassupposed to make the Mexicans lose hope and leave (Takaki, 2008).

Nonetheless,the Mexican-Americans resisted against the discrimination throughprotests where they demanded equal rights (Takaki, 2008). They alsoused strikes and boycotted work to air their grievances such as lowwages and unfavorable working conditions. The Mexican-Americans alsoprotested against the local employers who were importing cheap laborfrom Juarez. As a result, they were given higher wages and moreworking hours (Takaki, 2008).


In1849, the Chinese were already arriving in America due to theproblems they encountered in their homeland such as starvation. TheChinese also suffered due to the opium wars declared by Britishagainst China (Takaki, 2008). Moreover, their country wasexperiencing instability due to various uprisings by the peasants.These factors made the Chinese escape their native country in searchof new and peaceful livelihood in a friendly environment hence, someof them ended up of in America. The Chinese were also attracted bythe employment opportunities in America, which offered better wages,bigger houses, food, and clothing (Takaki, 2008).

However,America decided to protect itself against the influx of Chineserefugees. The country enacted the Exclusion Act of 1882, whichindicated that Chinese immigrants were not allowed into the UnitedStates (Takaki, 2008). On the other hand, those already living inAmerica were not allowed to leave. Accordingly, the Chinese were toobtain certification otherwise, they would be deported. The lawaimed at controlling the number of Chinese immigrants, but mostimportantly, it wanted to suppress the possibility of a Chineseinsurgency. Takaki (2008) explains that the white employers claimedthat they did not want to allow the Chinese become assimilated intothe American society. Consequently, the act prevented the Chinesefrom becoming American citizens through naturalization (Takaki,2008).

TheChinese were mostly given work in the shoes-making, garments, andtobacco industries. Most white employers preferred the Chinesebecause they worked hard and charged less as compared to the Blacks.Nevertheless, the Chinese worked under adverse conditions. Takaki(2008) explains that the workers lived and worked in tunnels, whichwere dangerous and occasionally deadly. Thus, the Chinese workerswent on strike demanding better pay.

The1882 Chinese Exclusion law was enacted during a time of economydownturn in the United States. Takaki (2008) states that the wageswere declining and the Americans were attributing this to the Chinesewho are described as machines since they could work for long hours.Moreover, the Americans claimed that the increasing Chinesepopulation was bringing in competition in the job market since theChinese were hired at the expense of the locals. Therefore, the actaimed at reducing these economic problems by limiting the immigrationof more Chinese into the United States (Takaki, 2008).

Lastly,some Chinese men migrated to America with their wives. Then again,some Chinese women, particularly the prostitutes, came into thecountry through human trafficking (Takaki, 2008). On arrival, thesewomen were forced to sign work contracts as payment for theirtransportation. For example, Takaki (2008) narrates the story of AhWong who describes her ordeal on how she endured suffering in theUnited States. Later, many Chinese women were compelled to becomesexual workers, which further increased the challenges theyencountered in their new home (Takaki, 2008).


Takaki,R. (2008). Adifferent mirror: A history of multicultural America.Boston: Little, Brown &amp Co.

Close Menu