Conclusion

Overall, the white American perspective of the Chinese American identity had a large influence of the development of the Chinese American experience in the 1930’s and 40’s.  The long-standing stereotypes and prejudices weighed heavily, but as Chinese Americans began to more fully embrace the American culture, white Americans reciprocated the increasing notion of acceptance.  Although for many this new attitude was adopted with a certain hesitation, the Chinese and Chinese American presence became a part of American society too increasingly significant to deny.

James Cagney. Copyright Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Madame Chiang Kai-Shek was a true representation of this shift in multicultural thinking and the post-WWII development of the relationships between Chinese Americans and Chinese on one side and White Americans on the other.  Madame Chiang, as an individual with a unique background in both China and the United States, represented this idea of a person “smelted in America and forged in Shanghai.”[1] She brought a note of significance to the fact that Chinese Americans did not have to be either Chinese or American, but could indeed forge a unique Chinese American identity.

Although Madame Chiang was a controversial character to many, she definitively brought the American perception of Chinese and Chinese American people into a completely different realm from where it had been before.  She embodied this shift in her life, and specifically in her visit to America and speech at Hollywood Bowl.


[1] Laura Li, Madame Chiang Kai-Shek: China’s Eternal First Lady (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. 2006), 1.

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