January 12th, 2020

ScarJo
  • rei17

Treatment of half chinese man in Edwardian upper class society

So I give up, because I seriously don't know how to research this anymore.
My scenario is highly specific and this is why it's so hard to find out anything.
I'm writing this kind of Agatha Christie Murder Mysteries set in Edwardian England pre-WWI.

My main protagonist is the illegitimate son of the younger son of an earl. His father did acknowledge the child as his own and raised him next to his legitimate son and also gave him an excellent education (I'm thinking Royal Navy College and/or Cambridge). The illegitimate son is also half chinese because his mother was chinese (since the father is the younger son and wouldn't inherit anything, he was an officer in the Royal Navy and was stationed in Hongkong).

My question is: How would this man be treated by society, specifically by the upper class? He has a younger half brother who is very fond of him and who is the grandson of an earl. Would his brother be able to just "bring him along" everywhere? In general how much would his acceptance in society depend on his family's support? (I'm asking specifically because he has an uncle - the earl - who is NOT very fond of him and would love to get rid of him and I wonder how much would actually be at stake if he would loose this uncle's approval. Like, are we talking "he would have a harder time getting invitations for fancy balls" or are we talking "starving in the streets"-kinda stakes?)

How would the Royal Navy College or Cambridge have treated him? Would he have been hazed or bullied, like, all the time or are we talking more like microaggressions here and there? Would his family name protect him from that? Would people care more about his illegetimacy or his chinese descent? Would he be allowed access into fashionable clubs? Would he have been invited to the upper class parties? Would there be servants who would refuse to serve him or institutions who would refuse him entrance, and if yes, again the questions - would it be because of his race or his illegitimacy? Again - very fond younger brother, who is not a peer himself, but still the nephew of an earl, so would that mean anything?

I basically cannot really figure out how people and society in general would have treated him.

Of course I googled "Immigrants in Edwardian England" and "chinese immigrants in Edwardian England", but most things I found out were about workers and seaman who moved around in very different circles. I also google "chinese stereotypes in the early 1900s in western society" and seriously, EVERY variation thereof.
I also googled "treatment of illegitimate children in Edwardian society" and every variation thereof, but again, most articles concernced themselves with "poor" bastards who ended up in the slums. I also looked for illegitimate children of peers who actually acknowledged them and took care of them, and most of them seemed to have moved around in high society, but of course they were all white.
I also looked at attendance records from Oxford and Cambridge from that time and there to have been Indian students who successfully graduated (for example Jawaharlal Nehru or Muhammad Ali Jinnah), but I didn't find out anything about how they were treated by their peers, and also they were Indian and not Chinese, and also they weren't the illegitimate son of a peer.

So, I would be glad for recommendations for documentaries, movies, books, wikipedia articles, personal life stories, biographies or seriously, ANY kind of help, because I'm really, really stuck here.