MUSEUM OF CHINESE IN AMERICA
Recently, I stopped by the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in Chinatown for a brief visit. The MOCA is a relatively small museum but it manages to relay a lot about Chinese-American history in the compact space.
I really wish I could provide more than a couple of pictures but there was so much to absorb from these exhibits. Honestly, it was a little overwhelming to suddenly learn about the decades of anti-Asian racism, orientalism, exoticism, and more that my schooling didn’t bother to teach me. So much of history centered on PoCs, including Chinese-Americans, was glossed over and whitewashed in my American History classes.
Orientalism and Yellowface in Hollywood
Anti-Chinese propaganda & Chinese-Americans fighting in war
Reading about the many experiences of Chinese-American was simultaneously fascinating and sad. I heard a Chinese-American actresses describe how it was forbidden for her to kiss her co-stars. I saw the WWII pamphlets scrutinizing Asian features in order to differentiate Chinese civilians from the ‘evil’ Japanese.
Of course, there was a lot more and many exhibits also showcased the high points of Chinese-American history as well. But walking through the MOCA really reminded me that I really have to finally take the time to learn more about Asian-American history, especially as someone who cares deeply about the current Asian-American representation in the media.
Chinese American ‘Chop Suey’ restaurants were seen as an “exotic” destination for night outs in the 1900s