"THE IDEA OF CHINATOWN"---A CRITIQUE.
To examine this chapter, I will give an overview of the major themes presented. Then I will attempt to analyze the chapter and present my reaction to it.
The Chapter "The Idea of Chinatown", provides a clear overview of the process of integration and treatment of Chinese immigrants when they first entered Canada. It also paints a portrait of negativity imposed on Chinese immigrants in the early 1900's. Although there were Chinese pioneers in other parts of Canada at this time, Anderson specifically writes about the large Chinese population in Vancouver, British Columbia. My general assessment of his chapter is that these people were treated very badly. They were considered second class citizens and were subject to many prejudices. When reading Anderson's chapter, it is clear to see that discrimination was very prevalent in Vancouver, and the process of integration was very difficult for the Chinese. Anderson shows that prejudices were very apparent at many levels through practices by the governing agencies and through widespread public opinion. The idea of a "Chinatown" was a new and derogatory term meant to classify and segregate Chinese immigrants. A "Chinatown" was basically a low class area where the Chinese engaged in their customs, heritage and daily life, that was as close to the life they would have in China, except for prejudices against jobs, pay and housing that many Chinese had to face. The "Chinatown" and Chinese were looked upon in a very negative sense by westerners who didn't take into consideration the hardships that these people had to face and were intimidated by the mysterious life of these people.
In order to examine the chapter, one has to examine the conditions that the new Chinese immigrants lived in. I will give an over view of the content of the chapter and the main themes discussed. This overview will include a summation of events that transpired in early British Columbia.