Chinatown · History

It’s not my fault… honest

Interesting how people can try and justify their actions. From the proceedings of the Asiatic Exclusion League 1908

September 7, 1907, Vancouver, B. C. —This date marked the enactment of one of the most bitter race riots that ever took place upon the North American continent. A mob of more than 1000 (some said 10,000) men swept through the Oriental quarter, breaking windows and inflicting other damage amounting to thousands of dollars. The Vancouver Exclusion League, formed some time previous to this occurrence, was blamed for the outbreak, but with as much justice as if the difficulties in San Francisco, Australia and the Transvaal were attributed to the same source. Wherever the white and yellow races come in contact discord and disturbances are the rule. It requires no League to foment the “trouble” the causes are inherent in the races themselves.

To prevent a repetition of the trouble, the Chief of Police swore in 100 special constables, and the Mayor was prepared to call in the aid of the militia, yet the Japanese, in defiance, deliberately armed themselves, barricaded the Oriental quarter, and virtually placed themselves in the position of an armed alien force upon British soil. It was said that the trouble was precipitated by Exclusionists from Seattle and Bellingham, but the fact is that those who were most prominent in the riot, and in consequence were arrested, were all residents of Vancouver, B.C.

A peculiar feature of this disturbance was that in Japan it caused very little comment, and though the damage in Vancouver exceeded that in San Francisco by some $20,000, the attitude of the Japanese was meekness in comparison. In London and other parts of the British empire the comments of the press indicated that all classes of people were awakening to the seriousness of the Asiatic problem. Attention was called to the determination of California. British Columbia, Australia, Cape Colony and the Transvaal to restrict Asiatic immigration.

In Washington the news was received with a grin, because of previous European comment concerning the inability of the United States to control its mobs, and even Boston, and other Eastern papers who considered that opposition to Oriental immigration was sporadic and localized in “hoodlum” infested cities, were sobered by Vancouver’s experience, and admitted that the coming of Asiatics was a grave problem.

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