Exploring Chinese American History

Museum of Chinese in America, Chinatown - NYC


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.

Museum of Chinese in America, Chinatown - NYC - Orientalism and Yellowface in Hollywood

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.

Museum of Chinese in America in NYC. Chinese American 'Chop Suey' restaurants were seen as an "exotic" destination for night outs

Chinese American ‘Chop Suey’ restaurants were seen as an “exotic” destination for night outs in the 1900s

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Museum of Chinese in America in NYC