Where did the expression “not a Chinaman’s chance” come from and What does it mean?

“Not a Chinaman’s chance” means having no chance at all; afforded no opportunity whatever.

In the early days of the California gold rush something over forty thousand Chinese came into the United States, most of them staying in California.

They were not popular in the gold camps, for they were willing to work for almost nothing and, unable to speak the language, were despised by the Americans. Human life was held none too highly in the lawless camps, and a Chinese, friendless and alone, ignorant of American ways, was fair sport for anyone.

He had no rights that were respected; even self-defense was not accepted, in a miner’s court, against any injury he might commit against another. His chance of survival against any charge was negligible.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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