Essay 1 EnglishCanadian Labour Movement ‘Approach To Blacks and the ChineseIn the article North of the Colour Line: Sleeping CarPorters and the Battle Against Jim Crow on Canadian Rails,1880-1920 by Sarah- Jane Mathieu, argumentsabout the pattern of Jim Cow employment in theCanadian railway industry from the 1880s to World War I. Jim Crow Law-practicesor policy of segregating or discriminating against blacks, as in public places,public vehicle and in employment. Sarah-Jane connects social, political, labourimmigration and black dispersion history during Jim Crow times. There was a presenceof race as an principle in employers’ decision to hire black railwaymen fortheir sleeping and dining car departments. Canadian railway managers clearly believedthat African American, West Indian, and African Canadian labour, can be easilymanipulated and controlled. Whereas White railroaders fought against blackemployees, arguing that they damaging white manhood and railway unionism.
Sarah- Jane Mathieu stated that the trade union leaders commanded and pushed,won a racialized division of the workforce, whereas black labours where forced intolow-waged service position when they had initially enjoyed a variety or broaderrange of employment options. In order, white railway trade union and theiremployers brings segregation as a rational model for peaceful workingconditions. Whereas Sarah-Jane, argumented in her thesis, black railroaders resistedthe encroachment of segregationist policies by forming their own union, namedit as the Order of Sleeping Car Porters. They pressured for change by exposingthe scope of Jim Crow practices in the railway industry and trade unionism. , Mathieuhistoricizes Canadian racial attitudes, and explores how black migrants broughttheir own sensibilities about race to Canada, participating in and changingpolitical discourse there.In the article Drawing Different Lines of Color: The Mainstream English Canadian Labour Movement’s Approach to Blacks and the Chinese, 1880 –1914 by David Goutor the main argument was the Canadian labours view onChinese workers within disrespect or arrogance because they feared those workers, saw them as just the sort of “lowquality” employees greedy capitalists sought for their factories, andbecause there was a sense that their first loyalty was to somewhere other thanCanada. Conversely, African-Canadians were viewed as the heroic survivors ofslavery – and many labour militants at the turn of the twentieth century equatedthe black struggle of only a few decades earlier with their own struggle fordignity in the workplace.
Inthe article David stated that the origin of organised labour’s approach to different minority groups is complex thatrequires us to explore labour’s relations with immigrant and minority workers. Factorslike broader economic and political context, and labour leaders’ anxieties,ambitions, ideologies, and worldviews led unionists to challenge racistconstructions of blacks while consistently vilifying Chinese immigrants. Competitionfrom the Chinese in the labour market was one of the most important factors—butthat alone does not sufficiently explain labour’s contrasting views of thesetwo groups. Indeed, labour’s perception of the extent of the threat to whiteworkers from the Chinese and blacks can hardly be taken at face value. David statedin his thesis, Canadian labour presented the Chinese as a “danger” not only tothe economic promise of the Dominion but to its social, moral, and physical vitality,and indeed to the future of “any country having free and popular institutions.
“Hence labour leaders did not simply debate Chinese immigration but rather agitatedferociously for exclusion. Labour leaders’ discourse on blacks was entirelydifferent than their discourse on the Chinese. Constructions of blacks asthreats to the jobs or standards of living of white workers, On the contrary,Canadian unionists consistently portrayed blacks as people who had suffered centuriesof oppression and able discrimination. Whereas unionists claimed that the”miserable” living and working conditions of the Chinese reflected their”inherently degraded” character, the exploitation and suffering of blacks reflecteda failure on the part of societies to live up to their ideals. According tomany labour historians, the ferocity of trade unionists’ antipathy to theChinese stemmed from competition in the labour market. Unlike blacks, theChinese were seen as a “menace” because they were competing with white workersin industries like railroads, mining, and fruit farming, mostly in the Pacific west.
The Canadian labour leaders where having adifferent view for the Chinese and blacks. They claimed the Chinese were”without manhood, without ambition, and without self-respect.” The article alsomentioned the alleged “uncivilized standards” and low wages were only part ofwhat made Chinese migrants “not consumers.” On the other hand, the sympatheticportrayal of blacks by labour leaders buttressed their claims that the “chainsand shackles” of oppression, be it “corporate bondage” or “chattel slavery,” weredestined to be broken by the “spirit of freedom.” The association of blackswith past struggles, and the Chinese with Canada’s future problems, wasstrengthened by unionists’ awareness of both the replacement of emancipatedslaves with indentured Asian workers in the British West Indies and the f erceanti-Chinese campaigns by white labour across the Empire.
The fact that theCanadian labour movement emerged and the Chinese began to arrive on a largescale during the post-bellum period, a unique one in the history of race andlabour relations, gave even greater strength to these constructions of blacksand the Chinese.To conclude both the article state theissue of working labour in Canada who they were treated and seen in the eyes ofCanadian labour union. And also mention who the Canadian approach to theimmigrants particularly Chinese and black, the way they blacks where seen was similarin both the article and The association of blacks with past struggles, and theChinese with Canada’s future problems, was strengthened by unionists in thearticles. We were able to seen the power and changes during the years. References Sarah-Jane (Saje) Mathieu, “Northof the Colour Line; Sleeping Car Porters and the BauleAgainst ;im Crow on Canadian Rails, 1880-1920,” Labour/Le Travail, 47(Spring 2001),9-41Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas,Volume 2,Issue1Copyright © 2005 by David Gout