Chinese American history has long been shrouded in mystery and myths. These myths started more than a century and half ago, when Chinese first started emigrating to America. They've led to stereotypes that persist to this day.
We all know the stereotypes: The Chinese were "desperate peasants" escaping from a devastated land, beset by floods, famine and fighting. They came to America to earn a few dollars and then returned home. In turn, they became victims of an anti-Chinese backlash in which all European Americans were depicted as racists.
But pictures in "Sacramento's Chinatown" reveal a different history, a history of a people building a home in America, starting businesses and organizing family, social and political associations. The success the Chinese found in Sacramento would have been impossible without the support of their European American neighbors.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
From the Sacramento Bee, Through the Lens: Photos Bust Myths About Chinese, about a new book, Sacramento's Chinatown: