Heathen Chinee

"Wonder how they explain it to the heathen Chinee": this seems like some mildly racist language on Bloom's part, and it may very well be so, but his words recall an American poem written with exactly the opposite intent. He has perhaps encountered the phrase in one of three popular songs that used the poem's words while ignoring its anti-racist message. 

JH 2022

 Hand-colored lithograph of Currier & Ives ca. 1871 showing Ah Sin playing a card, held in the Library of Congress, Washington. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Bret Harte in a photograph taken in 1872. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

 Sheet music of Henry Tucker's The Heathen Chinee, held in the Bancroft Library of UC Berkeley. Source: calisphere.org.

 Sheet music of Charles Towner's The Heathen Chinee held in the library of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Source: Moon, Yellowface (p. 41).

 Pitcher from the 1870s or 1880s depicting Bill Nye's confrontation with Ah Sin, held in the Cinicinnati Art Museum. Source: Wikimedia Commons.