This chapter details the Chinese involvement in building the transcontinental railroad and the friction it caused between them and white workers, whom Chinese workers displaced from their jobs due to their willingness to work for less and not join labor unions.
In this excerpt, the narrator, a young Chinese girl, poses as a boy with forged papers, trying to gain entry into the United States. When she realizes the American immigration agents are checking identity papers at the dock, she fights past them and runs for her life.
Patricia Smith explores the nation's divide over how to deal with illegal immigration. She outlines the role of immigration in our history, notes the "wariness" felt over immigration ever since, and questions when and how Congress might act on the issue.
To cover is to downplay aspects of our identity that make us different from mainstream society. Kenji Yoshino argues that, although we live in an age where the law prohibits many forms of discrimination, people still face pressure to hide who they are.