Yellow Peril

The "Yellow Peril," according to the fevered imagination of the daily press, stood poised, ready to engulf into its maw, if it was not already devouring, the livelihood and security of the white population. If British Columbia did not endevour to keep the Orientals out of the province, then "the whites ... would die - be ousted absolutely out of existence." Why? because the Chinese, or the Japanese, through an evolutionary process which has been in progress for centures is now, as we find him, a marvellous human machine, competent to perform the maximum of labour on the minimum of sustenance. He does not require to maintain a home as white men do; does not spend one 50th part of what the meanest white labourer considers absolutely necessary for clothing; lives in a hovel where a white man would sicken and die - and with it all performs ... unskilled laborious tasks quite as efficiently as a white man, and, given the training, is equally proficient at duties requiring the exercise of some skill." (from the Victoria Colonist, June 18, 1905) This was the picture painted of the Oriental immigrants, seen through yellow-tinted glasses: robots, operating with cheap, machine-like efficiency, not only possessing those qualities which undermine the existing standards of white workers, but posing a threat to the future of the white race (Adachi, 65). Back to citation