20 Pages

Sambo and the Heathen Chinee: Californians' Racial Stereotypes in the Late 1870s

There is a certain analytical neatness in characterizing racism as a single phenomenon. By equating one bias with another, the var­ ious authors have constructed a mechanism of prejudice which is composed of interchangeable parts: one bias maybe substituted for another, or all may be used at once, without grinding the gears. Ac­ cording to Robert Heizer and Alan Almquist, for example, “it may be suggested that in the absence of blacks the anti-Negro sentiments


[of Californians] were applied to the Chinese,” while Alexander Saxton asserts that “the main dynamic [for the anti-Chinese move­ ment] came from the historic experience with blacks and slavery.”2 Saxton goes on to suggest that the cycle of prejudice was completed when anti-Chinese feeling in maijy labor unions contributed to the drive for restrictions against blacks and reinforced other forms of nativism.3