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The early history of Chinese laundries in Boston

Richard Auffrey tells their story - at first driven by the fact that discrimination meant there were few other jobs available to Chinese immigrants here.

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Comments

Ancient Chinese secret.

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Voting closed 15

Amazing how we now unpack what we once laughed at.

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That stuff would never fly now, nor should it, but it's a part of our media history.

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The fact that this was ever a mass-market advertisement, one which considered itself to be progressive because the white people got pranked by the oh so clever washing folk, is important to remember.

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Remember the campaign for Sobe iced teas (old but not that old). They used to sell it by saying ginkgo was a secret they’ve known about in China for 2000 years. Some cosmetics commercials still have similar language.

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I learned of this history a couple of years ago and it further cemented how cruel stereotyping is, since most communities were forced into the things they got made fun of or blamed for (or much worse).

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The article does point out that many people were able to make successes of themselves through this limited opportunity. This is not so different from many other ethnic groups who immigrated here.

"Chinese immigrants to Boston initially took on one of the only jobs available to them, being laundrymen, and they prospered through their determination and hard work. In time, they were able to start other types of businesses, from restaurants to grocery stores, but laundries were usually the start. "

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tl:Dr did they start in Roxbury? I bet they started in Roxbury.

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Well turns out the second one opened in the part Roxbury which is now called The South End.

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Boston has a long, rich history of abusing immigrants of all kinds.

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