Anti-Chinese Sentiments Not Limited to White Managers

White labor was usually the strongest advocate of Chinese exclusion in the late 19th century, but there were also instances where Chinese were pitted against other Chinese.  In 1895 in San Francisco, Sam Wah wanted Chinese workmen to pay for half the expenses of sewing machine repairs because he felt their carelessness contributed to machine breakdowns.  In protest, the Chinese men walked off the job. Undaunted, Sam Wah did not try to replace them with other Chinese men but instead recruited 41 white women to work under white supervision in their place.

Similarly in 1896, when Chinese women at a blouse-waist factory in San Francisco walked out over low wages, taking their sewing machines with them, the Chinese manager elected to replace them with white women, providing them with steam driven equipment that greatly increased productivity.

The fact that white women were favored because they were willing to work for less is a bit ironic because the Chinese were widely condemned for that very reason by whites in the past.


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