On this day in 1882, Harper’s Weekly featured the above cartoon. I think I’ll try to write something about Chinese exclusion later this spring (May 6, right?). Or maybe Eric will. For now, though, I’ll say this: despite having spent much of my professional life thinking about the history of race relations in the United States, it was only after moving west that I began reading about the mistreatment of Asian immigrants late in the nineteenth century. Honestly, I have no idea what accounted for this blind spot in my understanding of the past. Was it because I went to graduate school to study Indians and later ended up writing about New Orleans? Or because I got my PhD back east? Or because I’m ignorant? Or some combination of the preceding three? Again, I don’t know. Regardless, cartoons like this one never made much of an impression on me until relatively recently. And that makes me uncomfortable for all kinds of reasons, not least because it suggests that there might be other huge gaps in my already rather uncertain grasp of history.

If you click this link, you’ll be transported to a remarkable world. Well, not really. But you will find a pretty decent explanation of the above cartoon. I hope that’s good enough for you. If not, you might want to consider starting your own blog. (I have to say, it’s pretty easy.) Because the link’s the best I can do right now.