February 14th, 2011
|08:35 am - #13|
As I was working my way through the bookcases, I came upon a book my father had brought home from China, which I hadn't looked at yet. This was The Jews in Shanghai. It had a grand total of three paragraphs of background matter, but pages of photos of the folks who immigrated to Shanghai over the century or so. The book was a bit poignant, but the title I found a bit telling: "in" rather than "of". Even after some generations of residency, the Chinese still viewed them as outsiders. It's a bit sad to realize that.
It happens in the asian countries alot. In Japan, even if your grand parents were born in Japan, if your of Korean decent your not a citizen.
Yes, it's rare that a country accepts immigrants as their own, even after generations. The USA is an oddity that way. However, the title gave a hint to that concept.
I think I have something similar on my amazon to-read list. One of my lists! I'll have to go poking around to find it.
About Jews in China? Or foreigners in Shanghai?
Jews in Shanghai, refugees from the Holocaust. I found it several years ago and put it on my list, and then amazon decided to screw around with my account, so I'm not sure how to find it. I ~should have two lists going, with full shopping carts, but I can only find one.
But if I locate it, I'll give you a heads-up.
It's typical though. In Japan, for example, third-generation Koreans are still not considered Japanese. Jews in Shanghai probably still looked foreign to their neighbors; Christians of foreign descent were also foreigners.
Being that the American dream is that the opposite is supposed to be true here, that must be one of the things that makes the US unique.
Our country has its problems, but on the whole we are much more accustomed to accepting people from different cultures, and allowing them to become part of the whole. We focus so intently on the problems that we do miss our own good points as a culture, sometimes.
I live in Florida, and it's very noticeable here. Last estimate, we have around 140 different languages represented; and a steadily increasing population that's very mixed. Large Muslim population, many Asians from all points of the continent, strong Haitian/Jamaican presence, etc. Even the Hispanic population is mixed, with Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Cuban immigrants dominating; but lots of South Americans, as well. And a surprising number of Brits, Russians, and Eastern Europeans!
Living surrounded by that and then reading about the idea that, after generations, the Jews of Shanghai wouldn't be considered part of the Chinese people...it's mentally discombobulating.
The Greater Los Angeles area is similar, though our mix is different, with lots more Central Americans and lots more diversity in our Asian population. But at brunch on Sunday, my spouse noted that we were the only gringos eating; I pointed out that she was wrong...I was the only gringo.
Ok, I think it was "Shanghai Remembered: Stories of Jews Who Escaped to Shanghai from Nazi Europe". But there's a number of books on the topic that looked interesting, when I searched amazon for it.
I read a book on the Kindertransport a while back, and it doesn't sound like the experience was all that different, in some ways. I guess it would depend on how closed a culture is-not just in regards to different religions or ethnicities, but classes, as well.
I'll keep that in mind, thanks!