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Graphic NewsHow Sensational Images Transformed Nineteenth-Century Journalism$
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Amanda Frisken

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042980

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042980.001.0001

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“Language More Effective than Words”

“Language More Effective than Words”

Opium Den Illustrations and Anti-Chinese Violence in the 1880s

(p.47) Chapter 2 “Language More Effective than Words”
Graphic News

Amanda Frisken

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores how, in the late 1870s and early 1880s, the NationalPolice Gazette adapted its racialization of rape to characterize Chinese laborers as sexual predators. While family-based illustrated papers – such as Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, Harper’s Weekly, and the Daily Graphic – Orientalized the Chinese, The Police Gazette amplified rhetoric from anti-Chinese agitators, such as Denis Kearney, about Chinese sexual predators, a new rationale for federal exclusion legislation. Journalist Wong Chin Foo’s efforts to interject a more positive iconography of Chinese workers, in his paper The Chinese-American and other venues, had limited power to challenge the anti-Chinese movement’s pervasive stereotypes. Wong’s positive representations were no match for the mystique of the more sensational – and distorted – version of Chinatown.

Keywords:   Wong Chin Foo, Denis Kearney, Harper’s Weekly, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, Daily Graphic, National Police Gazette, The Chinese American, anti-Chinese movement

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