Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Chinaman's Chance

Dear fellow Asian Americans:

How many of you have heard the expression, “a Chinaman's chance"
and wondered about its origin?

The historical context of the phrase comes from the Gold rush days of
pre-California, where many Chinese came to work as “coolies,” hard
laborers for gold mining and building the transcontinental railroad.

In this employ, they were sought out for the demanding and
dangerous jobs involving explosives, often for half the pay of the Irish

Yet the Chinese faced higher taxes, denials of legal status (not to
mention citizenship), and family reunion with their spouses and
family. They did not even have the right to testify in court against
violence and grievous crimes committed against them. The Chinese
were deemed to be so lowly, uncivilized and depraved that the courts
would not debase itself to hear their testimony .

Without recourse to the courts and law, the early Chinese settler’s had
“a Chinaman’s chance” to receive fairness and justice. Many were beaten
and robbed with impunity and some died a violent death.
can learn about this early history by watching Bill Moyer’s PBS series
“Becoming American, The Chinese Experience.”

The American Civil Rights movement was preceded by a long history
of gross miscarriages of justice and bloodshed. Like the African
Americans, AsAms have come a long way in the long struggle for
equality. However, the pain of discrimination is still felt in America.
By AsAm being denied equal salary for equal work. . . Denied equal
opportunity for career advancement . . . By our children having to
leap over higher bars in order to gain admission to top schools . . .

80-20 PAC is the single hardest working AsAm organization fighting
day in and day out for your equality. From securing landmark
promises from President Obama to enforce EO11246 to gaining
more AsAm federal judges, 80-20 never shrank away from the
toughest battles and challenges. Yet this national burden is born on
the backs of a mere 2,000 or so dues-paying members.
have achieved landmark progress under the leadership of
Dr. SB Woo. We are closer than ever before to realizing our dream,
but this is no time to be complacent; or to rest on our laurels.

In order to succeed, we must present a strong case and persuade
the Dept of Labor to enforce EO11246. This equal opportunity law has
been enforced for Blacks, Hispanics and women—but not yet for AsAms!
We must redouble our efforts, and we need your help to succeed.

If you are one of our loyal dues-paying members, we thank you from
the bottom of our heart. If not, won’t you please do your part TODAY?
Become a dues-paying member NOW at .
Your membership will be good till 12/31/2010 i.e. for the remainder
of this year and the next. Join us in the fight for equal opportunity
and justice, so that this nation we love will become a more perfect Union.

Not sure if you are a member? Find out here: .

In another 10 years, on the 20th anniversary of 80-20, let it be
remembered that YOU did your part; that YOU joined in this noble fight
and made a difference. For yourself, for future generations of AsAms, and
for our nation. Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you.


Dr. Edward Lin
Director, 80-20 Initiative
Equal Opportunity and Justice for ALL Asian Americans
mail: elin [at] ingenious [dot] com