The New Chinese America
Class, Economy, and Social Hierarchy
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Rutgers University Press
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The research of this book would not have been possible without the generous support and assistance of many individuals. I owe thanks to all the men and women who participated in this study and shared life stories that included legally sensitive details and were sometimes emotionally difficult to recount, although few of their real names will appear in ...
Note on Transliteration
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Introduction: Rethinking Chinese America
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Schools were in full session in late April. Tests were scheduled and papers and projects were due soon. But few graduating seniors with college admissions in hand would let schoolwork spoil their celebratory mood. The air was filled with a palpable excitement. The few...
1. Contemporary Chinese American Population: The Documented and the Invisible
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Yamei Zhu was born in 1963 in Shanghai, China’s most populous city. An only child, she was pampered by her parents. After high school, Yamei got a job at a transportation company and worked her way up to become its controller. She married an electrician in 1988 and moved in with her in-laws. “My father said that he wouldn’t let me marry unless it...
2. Drawing Lines of Class Distinction
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As she reflected on her ten-month tryout as a member of a Chinese Presbyterian church in Houston in late 1994 and early 1995, Min reminisced about a rather uncomfortable experience that led to her departure. She was thirty-five then and recently divorced. After living in Atlanta, Georgia, for five years, she wanted to leave the past...
3. "Serve the People": The Ethnic Economy
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World War II triggered the greatest social changes the Chinese American community had ever seen. Back home in San Francisco after three years of naval service that took him to several European cities, Jimmy Leong was restless. “My father expected me to help out in the garment shop, but my mother knew that my heart was not...
4. The "Spirit of Changle": Constructing a Regional Identity
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Most of the signs for the Chinese American associations in New York’s Chinatown are permanently carved on stone walls or tiled on huge buildings with Chinese architectural touches, to signify their long history and prominence in their community as well as their control over land and buildings. The eye-catching awning of the...
5. Surviving Poverty in an Ethnic Social Hierarchy
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Baoshan Li, a stocky, self-employed construction worker in his mid-thirties, gained permanent resident status under the 1992 Chinese Student Protection Act. Nevertheless, he has not gathered the courage to apply for U.S. citizenship: the thought of being questioned by non-Chinese immigration officials is too intimidating. After...
Conclusion: Inclusion or Exclusion?
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November 2008 was unusually cold. New York was hit by a heavy snowstorm, adding extra chill to the economic downturn. The nation’s job market suffered the largest one-month drop since 1974 with the loss of a staggering 530,000 positions.1 A recession, which had started in the prior year, would soon be declared by the National Bureau...
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Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 7 tables, 1 graph
Publication Year: 2010