Sunday, June 10, 2007

Chinaman, Laundryman

"Chinaman!" "Laundryman!"
Don't call me "man"! I am worse than a slave.
Wash! Wash! Why can I wash away the dirt of
others' clothes, but not the hatred of my heart?
My skin is yellow, does my yellow skin color the clothes?
Why do you pay me less for the same work?
Clever boss! You know how to scatter the seeds
of hatred among your ignorant slaves.
Iron! Iron! Why can I smooth away the wrinkle of
others' dresses, but not the miseries of my heart?
Why should I come to America to wash clothes?
Do you think Chinamen in China wear no dresses?
I came to America three days after my marriage:
When can I see her again?
Only the Almighty Dollar knows!
Dry! Dry! Why do clothes dry, but not my tears?
I work twelve hours a day.
He pays fifteen dollars a week.
My boss says: "Chinaman, Go back to China, if you
don’t' feel satisfied! There, unlimited hours of
toil: Two silver dollars a week.
If you can find a job."
Thank you, Boss, for you remind me I know bosses
are robbers everywhere?
Chinese boss says, "You Chinaman, me Chinaman,
come to work for me.
Work for your fellow countryman!
By the way, You 'Wong', me 'Wong', Do we not
belong to the same family! Ha! Ha! We are cousins!
O yes! You 'Hai Shan', me 'Hai Shan'
do we not come from same district?
O come work for me, I will treat you better:
Get away from here! What is the difference
when you come to exploit me:
"Chinaman!" "Laundryman!" Don't call me Chinaman
Yes, I am a "Laundryman"! the Workingman!
Don't call me "Chinaman," I am the Worldman.
"Chinaman!" "Laundryman!" All of you workingmen!
Here is the brush made of study,
Here is the soap made of action.
Let us all wash with the brush!
Let us all press with the iron!
Wash! Brush! Dry! Iron!
Then we shall have a clean world.

H.T. Tsiang from the Daily Worker, Aug. 15th, 1928

You can consider this my comment on the G8 Meeting, The World Bank and the continuing disasters that flow from them. And you can throw in the present day government of China as well as the United States and Lou Dobbs.

Hear Also: Ruth Crawford Seeger Two Ricercari performed by members of Contiuum on
Naxos: 8.559197