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A Comparative Study of the Assimilation of the Chinese in New York City and Lima, Peru

  • Bernard Wong (a1)
Extract

A comparative study of assimilation like the present one has shown that the structural or environmental factors in the larger society are principally responsible for the differential rates of assimilation. Historically, the United States has been racist in its treatment of nearly all immigrants. Eastern and Southern Europeans were judged inferior along ethnic/racist lines (Gordon 1964), let alone those with more pronounced physical characteristics such as blacks, Latins or Asians. The legal structure erected in the United States, which includes the historical anti-ethnic legisla- tion, discriminatory immigration policies and racist miscegenation laws, reflects the attitudes and perceptions of the host society. The long years of unfair policies and discriminatory practices implemented against the Chinese produced feelings of rejection among them. In Lima, by contrast, the Hispanic cultural tradition does not emphasize racial differences. Although therere is a subtle racism in Lima, there is no miscegenation law, and children born of marriages between Chinese and Peruvians become important factors in the assimilation of the Chinese.

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
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