San Francisco Chinese laundry, 1881. Public Domain.
Mundane keywords: immigrants, racial issues, labor, self-employment, East Asia and its people, washing and laundering (literal and metaphorical), stereotyping and character assassination, foreigners and aliens, society-imposed limitations.
Social and psychological keywords: racism, stereotyping, xenophobia, alienation, finding a niche in difficult social and economic environment, overworked and underpaid, carve out a niche for survival, inability or unwilling to assimilate, profound understanding of large-scale misdeeds and the cause to right such wrongs.
The California Gold Rush of 1848–1855 commenced the first significant wave of Chinese immigration to the U.S. The predominately young male population were first welcomed for their hard work in the mines and large labor projects. However, as the gold deposits dwindled and labor market tightened, anti-Chinese sentiment grew.
Degrading stereotyping and fictitious accounts brought on by competing prospectors and laborers, mostly European and American, were deliberately spread by union bosses and politicians, which exacerbated the racial hatred. Consequently, anti-Chinese legislation kept Chinese immigrants out of desirable careers. Many turned to the laundry business as it was often the only job to be found. At one time, in San Francisco, about 89% of the laundry workers were of Chinese descent.
Hand laundry was grueling work. A typical 10-16 work day consists of manual labor over kettles of boiling water and hot stoves. From Wikipedia:
“Laundry work was especially wearisome, because it meant the soaking, scrubbing, and ironing of clothing solely by hand; moreover, prompt and high quality service was necessary to keep customers satisfied. Workers in laundries and groceries received the going wage of twenty-five dollars per month, and despite long hours the work-week was seven days. For the majority of the Chinese, then, the daily routine was almost solely working, eating, and sleeping. There were a few other occupations available to Chinese”.
As the non-Chinese vying for the same business interests, Chinese laundries were the targets of harassment by local governments:
“In 1880, 95 percent of San Francisco’s 320 laundries operated in wooden buildings. The city passed an ordinance requiring owners of laundries in wooden buildings to obtain a permit. Two-thirds of the laundries were owned by Chinese people, but none of them was granted a permit. Only one non-Chinese owner was denied.”
–Chinese Laundries by Alice Myers
In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was signed. It aimed to keep Chinese from entering the U.S., and excluded Chinese nationals in the U.S. from seeking citizenship, making them permanent aliens.
During the Great Depression, the job of launderer became increasingly attractive and again Chinese were targets of hostility from white labor unions. In 1933 the New York City Board of Aldermen passed a law to limited ownership of laundries to U.S. citizens while the Federal law suspended naturalization of Chinese immigrants.
The Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance successfully repelled the anti-Chinese legislation and preserved the livelihood of thousands of Chinese laundry workers. The labor organization continued to advocate for the civil rights of Chinese in North America.
Around the turn of the 20th century, one in four male Chinese immigrants in the United States worked in a laundry. The stereotype of Chinese Laundry persisted well into present days:
Here is a Jawbone commercial taking place in a Chinese Laundry:
An satirical report from the Onion: “Chinese Laundry Owner Blasted For Reinforcing Negative Ethnic Stereotypes”
21 to 22 degree Sagittarius locates in the Leo decadent (10-degree divisions within a sign) and the Leo duad (2.5 degree sections within a sign). It is the 21st degree of Sagittarius and 1st degree of the decadent, therefore carries the energy of numbers 3, 7, (3×7=21), and 1.
People and matters contacting this degree identify themselves passionately with –or against – an individual, a ethnic or social minority group that’s underprivileged or prosecuted. The social climate that supports such discrimination and injustice is often prejudiced, hypocritical, unreasonable, and going against the universal value of fairness and equality.
Due to Leo’s influence, there is also a strong dramatic element associated with these unjust events. Spreading of falsehood, or some sort of a “creative” effort, is often involved.
On the opposite side of same coin, this symbol speaks of the bitterly oppressed and those who take on the thankless job of cleaning up the aftermath of epic misdeeds. At its higher expression, this degree allows profound understanding of the deep rooted injustice and societal wrongs, and take courageous action to counter such atrocities.
Some famous people with 21-22 Sagittarius degree in their chart are:
- Donald Trump (moon), whose hard-line and controversial stance of deportation of illegal immigrants marks the flagship issue of his presidential campaign.
- Richard Gere (moon) , known for his dedication for fair treatment of the Tibetan people and preservation of their culture. He was also a pioneer in the fight against stigma and discrimination against AIDS and its patients.
- Amanda Knox (moon), an American student accused of murdering her roommate while studying in Italy. She was subjected to unprecedented negative publicity before her trail in Italy. Fictitious accounts of her live were invented by local authors for monetary gain. The CBS special report of her ordeal was titled “American Girl, Italian Nightmare”.
- Harry Hay (moon), “the father of gay liberation.” He stood against assimilationism by the mainstream gay right campaigns.
- King George VI (Sun): Living under the shadow of his elder brother Edward, King George reluctantly ascended the throne after his elder brother abdicated in order to marry divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. King George VI oversaw the crisis of abdication, the hardship and eventual triumph of World War II, and the rapid decline of the British Empire.
Norton, Henry Kittredge: The Chinese [http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist6/chinhate.html]
Jung, John: History [blog post] [https://chineselaundry.wordpress.com/history/]
Myers, Alice: Chinese Laundries [http://immigrationtounitedstates.org/426-chinese-laundries.html]
[Unattributed]: Chinese Launder [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ChineseLaunderer]
Wikipedia: Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Hand_Laundry_Alliance#cite_note-9]
Astro Databank: [http://www.astro.com/astro-databank]
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