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Chinatown: The Spread Of Eastern Culture In A Western Society

1385 words - 6 pages

In the past few decades of history, the span of globalization and mixing of world cultures has been particularly prevalent. Through the spread of technology and communications across national boundaries, the various superpowers of the world have begun immersing themselves into foreign cultures and have introduced their own cultures to nations that are not their own as well as have accepted certain parts of foreign culture in their own homes. One of the greatest examples of this exchange of culture is the prevalence of Chinese culture in the West through the establishment of various “Chinatowns” throughout popular cities in Europe and the Americas. Globalization itself, which is described as the “objective trend of economic development in the world today, featured by free flow and optimized allocation of capital, technology, information and service in the global context” by H.E. Ambassador Zha Peixin, has been a constant flow in the worlds history and permeates world cultures daily through the innovation of new technologies and spread of communications between different nations.
Chinatown, as many know it, is a gathering of Chinese immigrants in central locations throughout the world and typically features a community of majority Chinese citizens as well as shops and restaurants. While Chinatown seems to be a significant part of American culture, the actual beginning of Chinatown was in 1594 in the Southeastern country of the Philippines, and soon spread to other Asian nations such as Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand (Chang). Chinatown soon spread to countries such as England as trade between Western nations and the Chinese became more evident. In the United States, which seems to have the largest number of Chinatowns within its borders, has one of the original Chinatowns which began in the 19th century when Chinese immigrants made their way to San Francisco, a major port for entering Chinese citizens (Chang). Slowly, Chinatowns began spreading eastward with the help of the transcontinental railroad into places throughout the rest of the United States. For many years, especially following World War II, Asian Americans in general were seen as lower class citizens. While today it may seem that the world is more open to the spread of Asian culture throughout the world, at the beginning, as with similar situations, Chinese immigrants were looked down upon and viewed as racially unequal as well as seen in a negative light. One such example would be Manhattan’s Chinatown, which today is one of the largest concentrations of Asian-American cultures, but has historically been “stereotyped as nothing more than an immigrant ghetto – a rundown residential neighborhood, or, at best, a culturally distinctive enclave” (Zhou).
With the rapid growth of Chinese citizens within American soil, many multi-member families would cram themselves into small homes and apartments meant for just a few people and would work in seemingly rundown shops or street side food stands...

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