Over and over again, “unwanted immigrants of color” were described as "pouring in," "swamping," "flooding in," or as “as coming in ‘tides’ and ‘waves.’" One example he cites is a New York Daily Tribune report from Sept. The piece refers to the growing Chinese migration as an "Asiatic horde" and weaves in the flood metaphor: They are pouring in upon California.
The common theme he found in the news and popular culture of the time was the “trope of inundation,” as he described it in an academic paper published in 2007.
While attending a nearly all-white high school in Clayton, a suburb east of San Francisco, he was mocked and bullied for being “VC” or “Viet Cong,” even though he fled the Vietnam to avoid being drafted to fight for the communist regime.
Lê finds that little has changed in how the situation for refugees is framed. But what about Lee’s argument that just using the metaphor reinforces a negative stereotype?
Already there are 40,000 there, and the cry is still they come.
If the tide continues they must yet outnumber whites on the Pacific; and they are not like the European immigration to the Atlantic States, for they have no sympathy with Americans, whether in religion, habits or language.