Cartoon being discussed

The cartoon The Mongolian Octopus: His Grip on Australia from 1886 (presumably referring to Chinese or Asian people, not Mongolians in particular) has "Immorality" as one of the tentacles.

In the context of this cartoon, what did "Immorality" mean? It seems a fairly vague term. As the two people ensnared are women, does it mean some sort of sexual immorality? Prostitution? Inter-racial relationships? Something else?

  • 1
    Is there any reason why it needs to be a specific form of immorality?
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 2, 2016 at 3:08
  • Is this about English or about history? Might this be a better fit on History.SE? Apr 2, 2016 at 3:12
  • @HotLicks the term, if used non-euphemistically, seems fairly vague. Apr 2, 2016 at 3:17
  • 1
    Likely so-called white slavery, the sex trade in Europeans.
    – deadrat
    Apr 2, 2016 at 3:18
  • I would guess it likely that the cartoon is dealing in a stereotype of the Chinese as being purveyors of prostitutes. But of course several of the other tentacles specify specific immoral acts, so it could just be an "everything else" category. Certainly there would have been plenty of things that would have been viewed as immoral by the Australians of that era.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 2, 2016 at 3:22


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