聞 / Learn
“To his Excellency Gov. Bigler,” Daily Alta California (San Francisco: May 5, 1852) Sir: I am a Chinaman, republican, lover of these United States. I have learned of your recent arguments to exclude Chinese workers from enteringthis state so as, you say, to enhance its wealth, a thought which forgets population, too, is wealth: that once you looked for immigration and it came, and made you great throughout the nations of the earth. I am sure you will recognize your own familial origins in this story, since your Excellency, like all white men, would never boast of having a red man for a father. I am sure the Constitution does not admit asylum only to the pale face, even as it holds the Negro here in forced servitude. As far as the aristocracy of skin is concerned, ours compares with the European races, though the framers of your Declaration, I believe, never argued for an aristocracy of skin. Still, sir, we will not be placed within the Negro's personhood. We must remind you that when your nation was a wilderness, we exercised the arts of commerce, science: we grew a civilization while your own one languished, helpless in the dark. We will not be reproved now for pursuing any work here you consider degrading to a man's character, or accept your condemnation except you consider labor degrading for itself. We, like you, make our own way into the future. We, like you, have learned to trust in law's distinctions even as we daily see here how law is bent to fit a changing prejudice. One day soon such prejudice may benefit us. I hope you take this message, sir, in all the spirit of candor. I have the honor to be Norman Asing, your Excellency's obedient servant.