Mixed Race in Asia: Past, Present and Future

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science on 2017-07-21 18:58Z by Steven

Mixed Race in Asia: Past, Present and Future

250 pages
1 B/W Illus.
Hardback ISBN: 9781138282674
eBook ISBN: 9781315270579

Edited by:

Zarine L. Rocha, Managing Editor
Current Sociology and the Asian Journal of Social Science

Farida Fozdar, Associate Professor in Anthropology and Sociology
University of Western Australia

Mixed racial and ethnic identities are topics of increasing interest around the world, yet studies of mixed race in Asia are rare, despite its particular salience for Asian societies.

Mixed Race in Asia seeks to reorient the field to focus on Asia, looking specifically at mixed race in China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and India. Through these varied case studies, this collection presents an insightful exploration of race, ethnicity, mixedness and belonging, both in the past and present. The thematic range of the chapters is broad, covering the complexity of lived mixed race experiences, the structural forces of particular colonial and post-colonial environments and political regimes, and historical influences on contemporary identities and cultural expressions of mixedness.

Adding significant richness and depth to existing theoretical frameworks, this enlightening volume develops markedly different understandings of, and recognizes nuances around, what it means to be mixed, practically, theoretically, linguistically and historically. It will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as postdoctoral and other researchers interested in fields such as Race and Ethnicity, Sociology and Asian Studies.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: Mixed Race in Asia / Zarine L. Rocha and Farida Fozdar
  • Section One: China and Vietnam
    • Chapter One: “A Class by Themselves”: Battles over Eurasian Schooling in Late-19th-Century Shanghai / Emma J. Teng
    • Chapter Two: Mixing Blood and Race: Representing Hunxue in Contemporary China / Cathryn Clayton
    • Chapter Three: Métis of Vietnam: An Historical Perspective on Mixed-Race Children from the French Colonial Period / Christina Firpo
  • Section Two: South Korea and Japan
    • Chapter Four: Developing bilingualism in a largely monolingual society: Southeast Asian marriage migrants and multicultural families in South Korea / Mi Yung Park
    • Chapter Five: Haafu Identity in Japan: half, mixed or double? / Alexandra Shaitan and Lisa J. McEntee-Atalianis
    • Chapter Six: Claiming Japaneseness: recognition, privilege and status in Japanese-Filipino ‘mixed’ ethnic identity constructions / Fiona-Katharina Seiger
  • Section Three: Malaysia and Singapore
    • Chapter Seven: Being “Mixed” in Malaysia: Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity / Caryn Lim
    • Chapter Eight: Chinese, Indians and the Grey Space in between: Acceptance of Malaysian Chindians in a plural society / Rona Chandran
    • Chapter Nine: ‘Our Chinese’: The Mixedness of Peranakan Chinese Identities in Kelantan, Malaysia / Pue Giok Hun
    • Chapter Ten: Eurasian as Multiracial: mixed race, gendered categories and identity in Singapore / Zarine L. Rocha
  • Section Four: India and Indonesia
    • Chapter Eleven: Is the Anglo-Indian ‘Identity Crisis’ a Myth? / Robyn Andrews
    • Chapter Twelve: When Hybridity Encounters Hindu Purity Fetish: Anglo-Indian Lived Experiences in an Indian Railway Town / Anjali Gera Roy
    • Chapter Thirteen: Sometimes white, sometimes Asian: Boundary-making among transnational mixed descent youth at an international school in Indonesia / Danau Tanu
    • Chapter Fourteen: Class, Race and Being Indo (Eurasian) in Colonial and Postcolonial Indonesia / Ros Hewett
  • Afterword / Paul Spickard
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The Asian Turn in Mixed Race Studies: Retrospects and Prospects

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2017-05-04 03:20Z by Steven

The Asian Turn in Mixed Race Studies: Retrospects and Prospects

Asia Pacific Perspectives
Volume 14, Number 2: Spring 2017

Emma J. Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations; Associate Professor of Chinese Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In 1930, the young Han Suyin (pen name of Rosalie Chou, 1916-2012) read this passage in a book called Races of the World: “Racial mixtures are prone to mental unbalance, hysteria, alcoholism, generally of weak character and untrustworthy…” Shaken, she prayed, “Oh God… don’t let me go mad, don’t let my brain go, I want to study.”1

Probably the most famous Eurasian author of the 20th century, one who served as a major interpreter of China to the West during the tumultuous Cold War era, Han was haunted by these words and driven throughout her life by a determination to prove them untrue, fighting the pronounced stigma and the obstacles faced by mixed-heritage individuals during her era. As she highlighted in this famous scene from her autobiographical A Mortal Flower (1965), such stigma was not only a product of social prejudice, but also heavily reinforced by scientific and pseudoscientific discourses of the time.

From our vantage point today, it is a good moment to take stock of how far we have come (or failed to come) over the century that separates us from Han’s birth. How have popular perceptions of “mixed-race” peoples changed in Asia and across the globe? How have academic discourses evolved? And perhaps most importantly, how have “mixed” individuals themselves advocated for their equal rights and recognition? The articles in this pathbreaking issue of Asia Pacific Perspectives address these vital questions and others, focusing their analyses on historical and contemporary manifestations of “mixedness” across East Asia…

Read the entire article here.

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Bridging Asian and Asian American Studies through Critical Mixed Race

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-07 00:27Z by Steven

Bridging Asian and Asian American Studies through Critical Mixed Race

UCLA International Institute
Asia Institute

Samantha Fletcher (UCLA 2016)

Professor Emma Teng of MIT recently examined mixed-race identities in the U.S., China and Hong Kong as part of the Taiwan Studies Lecture Series of the Asia Institute.

UCLA International Institute, May 25, 2016 — The most recent UCLA Taiwan Studies Lecture examined a wide range of ideas, laws and constructs that were instrumental in shaping mixed-race identities in the United States, China and Hong Kong.

On May 10, 2016, Professor Emma Teng of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology delivered the presentation, “Traversing Boundaries: Bridging Asian and Asian American Studies through Critical Mixed Race.” The event was jointly sponsored by UCLA’s Asia Institute and Dean of Humanities, with funding from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles. The Center for Chinese Studies cosponsored the event.

Professor Teng shared issues raised by critical and mixed race theory that are detailed in her recent book, “Eurasian: Mixed Identities in the United States, China and Hong Kong, 1842–1943” (University of California, 2013).

Teng’s book explores the place of mixed-race children in Chinese society by examining the stories of their families and patterns of labor migration among merchants and students between China and the United States. The endpoint of her study is 1943, when the Chinese Exclusion Act was lifted in the U.S — a time when China and the U.S. were allied against Japan in World War II

Read the entire article here.

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Negotiating Identities: Mixed Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-04-14 02:11Z by Steven

Negotiating Identities: Mixed Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea

University of San Francisco
McLaren Complex – MC 250
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, California 94117-1080
2016-04-14 through 2016-04-15

The University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies is pleased to announce its spring symposium Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea, a conference to be held at the University of San Francisco on Thursday and Friday, April 14-15, 2016.

The highlight of the conference will be a keynote address by Emma Teng, Professor of History and Asian Civilizations, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

With this conference, the Center plans to provide a forum for academic discussions and the sharing of the latest research on the history and life experiences of mixed-race individuals in China, Japan, and Korea. The conference is designed to promote greater understanding of the cross-cultural encounters that led to the creation of interracial families and encourage research that examines how mixed-race individuals living in East Asia have negotiated their identities…

For more information and to register, click here.

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Critical Mixed-Race In Transnational Perspective: The US, China, And Hong Kong, 1842-1943

Posted in Asian Diaspora, History, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-13 20:03Z by Steven

Critical Mixed-Race In Transnational Perspective: The US, China, And Hong Kong, 1842-1943

Center for East Asian Studies
Lathrop East Asia Library, Room 224
Stanford University
518 Memorial Way, Stanford, California
Thursday, 2015-01-15, 16:15-17:30 PST (Local Time)

Emma Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This paper will examine the intersection of Sinophone Studies and Critical Mixed-Race Studies (CMRS) – two new and critical paradigms of inquiry – as productive forces in reshaping Chinese Studies beyond the old Area Studies model. My work analyzes the evolving discourses on mixed-race as well as the lived experiences of Eurasians in China, Hong Kong, and the US during the era between 1842 and 1943, and thus lies at the intersection of these two emergent and dynamic fields. Through my research on transnational Chinese-Western mixed families I aim to expand the horizons of Critical Mixed-Race Studies, which has been dominated by the study of black-white interracialism. I ask how a transpacific comparative approach might shift the theoretical frameworks for critical race and ethnic studies by challenging the presumed universality of US-centric models. At the same time, I aim to expand the horizons of “Chinese” studies, asking how mixed-race or transracial hybrid identities contest racially bounded, Han Chinese-centric definitions of Chineseness.

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

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Chinese Mixed Race in Transnational Comparison (Sawyer Seminar IV)

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Mexico, United States on 2013-09-22 22:09Z by Steven

Chinese Mixed Race in Transnational Comparison (Sawyer Seminar IV)

University of Southern California
Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Center for Japanese Religions and Culture
University Park Campus
Doheny Memorial Library (DML), Room: 110C
2013-09-27, 13:00-17:00 PDT (Local Time)

USC Conference Convenors:

Duncan Williams, Associate Professor of Religion
University of Southern California

Brian C. Bernards, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures
University of Southern California

Velina Hasu Houston, Associate Dean for Faculty Recognition and Development, Director of Dramatic Writing and Professor
University of Southern California


“At the Fringes of the Color Line: Re-Examining the One-Drop Rule Through the Transpacific Crossings of Chinese-White Biracials, 1912-1942”

Emma J. Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations and Associate Professor of Chinese Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Crossing Boundaries, Claiming a Homeland: Chinese Mexicans’ Transpacific Journeys and the Quest to Belong”

Julia María Schiavone-Camacho, Assistant Professor of History
University of Texas, El Paso

“Sino-Tibetan Hybridity and Ethnic Identity Perception in China”

Patricia Schiaffini, Assistant Professor of Chinese
Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas

Presented by the Center for Japanese Religions and Culture’s “Critical Mixed-Race Studies: A Transpacific Approach” Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminars Series at the University of Southern California.

For more information, click here.

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Eurasian: Mixed Identities in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, 1842-1943

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2013-07-01 02:48Z by Steven

Eurasian: Mixed Identities in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, 1842-1943

University of California Press
352 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780520276260
Paperback ISBN: 9780520276277
Ebook ISBN: 9780520957008

Emma Jinhua Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations and Associate Professor of Chinese Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In the second half of the nineteenth century, global labor migration, trade, and overseas study brought China and the United States into close contact, leading to new cross-cultural encounters that brought mixed-race families into being. Yet the stories of these families remain largely unknown. How did interracial families negotiate their identities within these societies when mixed-race marriage was taboo and “Eurasian” often a derisive term?

In Eurasian, Emma Jinhua Teng compares Chinese-Western mixed-race families in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, examining both the range of ideas that shaped the formation of Eurasian identities in these diverse contexts and the claims set forth by individual Eurasians concerning their own identities. Teng argues that Eurasians were not universally marginalized during this era, as is often asserted. Rather, Eurasians often found themselves facing contradictions between exclusionary and inclusive ideologies of race and nationality, and between overt racism and more subtle forms of prejudice that were counterbalanced by partial acceptance and privilege.

By tracing the stories of mixed and transnational families during an earlier era of globalization, Eurasian also demonstrates to students, faculty, scholars, and researchers how changes in interracial ideology have allowed the descendants of some of these families to reclaim their dual heritage with pride.


  • List of Illustrations
  • A Note on Romanization
  • Acknowledgments
  • Prelude
  • Introduction
  • Part One
  • Part Two
    • 3. “A Problem for Which There Is No Solution”: The New Hybrid Brood and the Specter of Degeneration in New York’s Chinatown
    • 4. “Productive of Good to Both Sides”: The Eurasian as Solution in Chinese Utopian Visions of Racial Harmony
    • 5. Reversing the Sociological Lens: Putting Sino-American “Mixed Bloods” on the Miscegenation Map
  • Part Three
    • 6. The “Peculiar Cast”: Navigating the American Color Line in the Era of Chinese Exclusion
    • 7. On Not Looking Chinese: Chineseness as Consent or Descent?
    • 8. “No Gulf between a Chan and a Smith amongst Us”: Charles Graham Anderson’s Manifesto for Eurasian Unity in Interwar Hong Kong
  • Coda: Elsie Jane Comes Home to Rest
  • Epilogue
  • Chinese Character Glossary
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Focus on Research: Emma J. Teng F’06 on the Hidden Histories of Mixed Race Families

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-03-29 15:25Z by Steven

Focus on Research: Emma J. Teng F’06 on the Hidden Histories of Mixed Race Families

American Council of Learned Societies

ACLS asked its fellows to describe their research: the knowledge it creates and how this knowledge benefits our understanding of the world. We are pleased to present this response from Emma J. Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In June 1914, a young American woman with a small baby boarded a ship bound for China. Although she was white, she traveled in accommodations meant “for Asiatic passengers only.” Why? Mae Watkins Franking, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, was traveling to China to reunite with her Chinese husband, whom she had met as a student at the University of Michigan. Due to the Marital Expatriation Act of 1907, which stripped U.S. citizenship from all American women who married foreign nationals, Mae had taken Chinese nationality, and thus, in an age of segregated travel, she journeyed to Shanghai under this status. Mae might have felt apprehensive moving to China, for although racial intermarriage was legal in Michigan at the time of the Frankings’ wedding, the Chinese government prohibited the intermarriage of overseas students with foreign women. (Merchants and laborers were allowed to intermarry.) The Frankings had three children: Nelson, born in the U.S., was an American citizen by right of birth; while Alason and Cecile, born in China, were considered by the U.S. government to be “aliens ineligible for naturalization.” Although the family returned to the United States in 1918, Alason and Cecile would have to wait until 1943 to gain the right of naturalization—despite the fact that their ancestors had fought in the American Revolution. These are just a few examples of the legal injustices faced by mixed (and in this case transnational) families up through the first half of the twentieth century.

Supported by a grant from the ACLS, in 2007 I set out to write a book that would bridge China studies and Asian American studies by comparing ideas concerning Euro-Chinese intermixing, or hybridity, in the U.S. and China between 1842, when China was opened to Western trade, and WW II. As the writing took shape, I realized that this was a story not only about the history of ideas, but also about mixed families and individuals whose lives were shaped by these ideas, and the laws and social proscriptions they informed. I thus went back and did more research: a rare luxury in the academic world. As a result, the manuscript that subsequently evolved also takes up the subject of how mixed families, who faced discrimination from both sides, negotiated their own identities within the constraints and opportunities of their social environments. In keeping with the comparative spirit that first inspired my project, I decided to juxtapose the lived experiences of Eurasians in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, three sites where the “Eurasian problem” became a topic of public discourse…

…Why does it matter for us to gain a more nuanced, less monolithic understanding of the intellectual genealogy of ideas concerning mixed race? The subject of mixed race is particularly germane today with increasing rates of intermarriage in our society. These intermarriages suggest that the old taboos against intermarriage and the barriers between races have diminished in the years since 1967, when the Supreme Court struck down the last of the anti-miscegenation laws. Yet, some of the old presumptions remain. First of all, the very notion of “mixed race,” so frequently celebrated in the contemporary media, entertainment, and advertising industries, relies on the presumption that there are “pure races” to begin with. My research aims to debunk this presumption by adding to the growing scholarship showing intermarriage and intermixing as age-old phenomena, challenging the commonplace certainty by which many feel they can identify those who are “pure Chinese” or “pure white.” Understanding histories of migration, cross-cultural contact, and interracial mixing allows us to see that, in fact, no such groups exist, other than as social and legal constructions, which may vary from country to country, time period to time period…

Read the entire article here.

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Eurasian Hybridity in Chinese Utopian Visions: From “One World” to “A Society Based on Beauty” and Beyond

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2012-12-02 03:24Z by Steven

Eurasian Hybridity in Chinese Utopian Visions: From “One World” to “A Society Based on Beauty” and Beyond

positions: east asia cultures critique
Volume 14, Number 1, Spring 2006
pages 131-163

Emma Jinhua Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations; Associate Professor of Chinese Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 “Can Mixed-Blood Hybrids Really Improve the Chinese Race?” This provocative question appeared in chinesenewsweek.com in August 2001. Columnist and on-line pundit Shangguan Tianyi began his essay by contrasting the racialist thinking of the past with contemporary attitudes:

In the past, the German Nazis promoted the idea of Aryan superiority on the basis of the notion of racial purity…. Ironically, nowadays there are people who are taking an avid interest in racial intermixing and hybridity as a means of improving the Chinese race [Zhongguo renzhong], and of producing a more intelligent new generation….decades after [the Nazi era], the mixed-blood hybrid has unexpectedly become a figure of admiration…. In concrete terms, are we talking about interbreeding with Blacks, American Indians, Australian Aborigines or Pacific Islanders? The answer in each case is, no. Essentially, the scope of intermixing is limited to Whites, preferably Americans.

Shangguan then proceeded, in equally inflammatory terms, to critique what he identifies as a new interest in intermarriage as a tool for genetically reengineering the Chinese race and the fetishization of Eurasians as the breed of choice. This fascination is readily apparent in the Chinese media, particularly the entertainment industry where Eurasian models, actors, and athletes have become hot commodities, purported to be not only exceptionally beautiful and physically superior, but also more intelligent. Declaring this type of “blind faith” in Eurasian physical and mental superiority absurd, Shangguan asserts that only a geneticist in a lab could create the ideal child.

Shangguan’s (rather cantankerous) critique stands in sharp contrast to the celebratory discourses on hybridity current in both postcolonial studies and the emerging field of multiracial studies. The theoretical concept of hybridity as a metaphor for the new transcultural forms produced by the colonizer/colonized relation has become fashionable in academic circles since the late 1980s, thanks, among others, to the influential work of Homi Bhabha. Indeed, hybridity has become one of the most widely employed (and hotly disputed) concepts in postcolonial studies, and is frequently cited as a defining characteristic of “the postcolonial condition.” For example, the editors of The Post-Colonial Studies Reader write: “Hybridity and the power it releases may well be seen to be the characteristic feature and contribution of the post-colonial, allowing a means of evading the replication of the binary categories of the past and developing new anti-monolithic models of cultural exchange and growth.”

Whereas within postcolonial studies hybridity is largely conceptualized in cultural or discursive terms, multiracial studies concerns itself with hybridity in racial or bodily terms. Multiracial studies has emerged over the past decade in tandem with the growth of a multiracial movement in the United States, and related movements in Britain and elsewhere, dedicating itself to the analysis of the “multiracial experience” and “multiracial identity.” Largely due to its association with multiracial activism, multiracial studies tends to construct racial intermixing as a socially progressive and liberal phenomenon. As in postcolonial theory, hybridity is treated as a disruptive or destabilizing force, with mixed-race identity promising to break down racial boundaries and bring an end to racism, which is equated with the ideology of racial purity. As one of the leading voices of this emergent field, Maria Root, asserts: “The presence of racially mixed persons defies the social order predicated upon race, blurs racial and ethnic group boundaries, and challenges generally accepted proscriptions and prescriptions regarding intergroup relations. Furthermore, and perhaps most threatening, the existence of racially mixed persons challenges long-held notions about the biological, moral, and social meaning of race.” Hybridity, then, seemingly holds the promise of moving us beyond the old identity politics of white and black, colonizer and colonized, toward a boundaryless future where indeterminacy…

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“A Problem for Which There Is No Solution”: Eurasians and the Specter of Degeneration in New York’s Chinatown

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States on 2012-10-21 19:10Z by Steven

“A Problem for Which There Is No Solution”: Eurasians and the Specter of Degeneration in New York’s Chinatown

Journal of Asian American Studies
Volume 15, Number 3, October 2012
pages 271-298
DOI: 10.1353/jaas.2012.0022

Emma J. Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations; Associate Professor of Chinese Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In 1898, journalist Louis J. Beck offered the reading public what he saw as a valuable case study in “heredity and racial traits and tendencies.” This case study was none other than the infamous “half-breed” criminal George Washington Appo (1856–1930), whose name was virtually a household word for New Yorkers of the time. Born to an Irish mother and the “Chinese devil man” Quimbo Appo, a notorious criminal in his own right, George Appo was a preeminent celebrity criminal of the 1890s. A notorious pickpocket and “green-goods man,” George was catapulted to national fame after appearing as a star witness in the dramatic Lexow Committee investigation that brought down New York’s Tammany Hall. Taking sensationalism to a new level, the “king of confidence men,” as the Boston Globe called him, had even appeared on the stage, playing himself in George Lederer’s theatrical melodrama In the Tenderloin to national acclaim. To cap it all off, the World voted Appo among “The People Who Made the History of 1894.”

But Beck was not much interested in the details of New York police corruption, nor in the new low point to which American theater had sunk: his true concern was the Chinese Question. Beck was the author of New York’s Chinatown: An Historical Presentation of Its People and Places, published by the Bohemia Publishing Company in 1898. Part tourist guidebook, part amateur ethnography, part muckraking exposé, this amply illustrated volume was the first full-length book on New York’s Chinese Quarter, and would in time become a frequently quoted source for Chinatown history. Beck promised his audience that his book would shed light on the vexed Chinese Question by presenting the city’s Chinese residents through the unbiased lens of the reporter. At the heart of the Chinese Question was this—could the Chinese in time become assimilated, and patriotic, American citizens, or did their “racial traits” render this impossible, warranting their exclusion from the nation? Beck offered George Appo’s biography as food for thought:

George Appo was born in New York City, July 4, 1858 [sic], and is therefore an American citizen, and should be a patriotic one, but he is not. His father was a full-blooded Chinaman and his mother an Irishwoman. He was an exceedingly bright child, beautiful to look upon, sharp-witted and quick of comprehension. For ten years he was the pet of the neighborhood where his parents dwelt. . . . At the age of ten he became a pickpocket.

Beck’s decision to dedicate an entire chapter to the celebrity criminal stemmed from his conviction that this “noted Chinese character” was “well worth investigating,” not only for the light his story shed on the operation of the green-goods business, but, more important, “because he is the first one of the new hybrid brood” to gain public attention. As such, Beck argued, “The question which naturally presents itself to the thinker is: ‘What part will the rest of his tribe take in our national development?’”

It was a question that was on the minds of many journalists, social reformers, travelers, and others as they toured America’s Chinatowns and saw growing numbers of “half-castes” on the streets and in doorways. Indeed, by the late nineteenth century, such “mixed” children could be found virtually wherever Chinese immigrants had settled across the country. When pioneering Chinese American journalist Wong Chin Foo reported on the New York Chinese for the Cosmopolitan in 1888, he asserted that there were over a hundred “half-breed” Chinese children in that city alone. Although their absolute numbers were small, their anomalous looks drew attention and aroused curiosity. Observers attached a special significance to these children that went beyond their numbers. For many, they represented the future shape of the Chinese American population, for better or worse. Some regarded these “hybrids” as living specimens that offered a chance to see firsthand the…

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