In the case of Hell on Wheels, it's against the Chinese workers, who are being depicted as the real backbone of the feverish attempt to get the railroad west to east. The whole situation, ever on edge, comes to a boil, and along the way elicits Cullen's comment that this is America, where no one is owned by anyone.
Coming from Cullen and his Confederate past, that's a wildly significant statement. We already saw a lack of prejudice in his growing friendship with Elam - which ended badly, to say the least, but not because of Cullen. And we've seen Cullen's respect for Native Americans, too.
But hearing Cullen say point blank that people don't own people in America was eye-opening, and, although welcome as a statement from the heart of our central character, might have been better packaged with a statement from Cullen that, earlier in his life, he fought for a society that did indeed believe deeply in owning people.
Meanwhile, before the episode concludes, Chang is almost hung, and Cullen is instrumental in saving him, along with Ma's timely intervention. Indeed, Cullen seems more at home Ma and Mei, and even Chang, than with most other groups in the history of this series.
Cullen's certainly not at home with the demented part of white culture represented by the Swede, and, for that matter, the Mormons in general, of which his wife is still some sort of part. As I said in my review 5.2 a little while ago, I wouldn't mind at all if Cullen became even more closely connected with this Chinese culture.
See also Hell on Wheels 5.1: Rails and Truckee ... Hell on Wheels 5.2: Mei and Cullen
And see also Hell on Wheels 4.1-2: Rolling Again ... Hell on Wheels 4.5: New Blood ... Hell on Wheels 4.6: Bear and Sanity ... Hell on Wheels 4.7: Why? ... Hell on Wheels 4.8: Aftermath and Rebound ... Hell on Wheels 4.9: High Noon ... Hell on Wheels 4.10: A Tale of Two Sicko Killers ... Hell on Wheels 4.11: The Redemption of Ruth ... Hell on Wheels 4.12: Infuriating and Worthwhile ... Hell on Wheels Season 4 Finale: The Buffalo
And see also Hell on Wheels 3.1-2: Bohannan in Command ... Hell on Wheels 3.3: Talking and Walking ... Hell on Wheels 3.4: Extreme Lacrosse ... Hell on Wheels 3.5: The Glove ... Hell on Wheels 3.6: The Man in Charge ...Hell on Wheels 3.7: Water, Water ... Hell on Wheels 3.8: Canterbury Tales ...Hell on Wheels 3.9: Shoot-Out and Truths ... Hell on Wheels Season 3 finale: Train Calling in the Distance
And see also Hell on Wheels: Blood, Sweat, and Tears on the Track, and the Telegraph ... Hell on Wheels 1.6: Horse vs. Rail ... Hell on Wheels 1.8: Multiple Tracks ... Hell on Wheels 1.9: Historical Inevitable and Unknown ... Hell on Wheels Season One Finale: Greek Tragedy, Western Style