An Immigrant Neighborhood: Interethnic and Interracial Encounters in New York before 1930

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2011-11-18 22:14Z by Steven

An Immigrant Neighborhood: Interethnic and Interracial Encounters in New York before 1930

Temple University Press
December 2011
256 pages
5.5 x 8.25
1 map, 6 halftones
Paper ISBN: 978-1-59213-128-0
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-59213-127-3
E-Book ISBN: 978-1-59213-129-7

Shirley Yee, Associate Professor of Women Studies; Adjunct Associate Professor of History; Adjunct Associate Professor of American Ethnic Studies
University of Washington

How the crowded neighborhoods of New York’s Lower East Side gave rise to cross-racial and cross ethnic bonds before 1930

Examining race and ethnic relations through an intersectional lens, Shirley J. Yee’s An Immigrant Neighborhood investigates the ways that race, class, and gender together shaped concepts of integration and assimilation as well as concepts of whiteness and citizenship in lower Manhattan during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

In contrast to accounts of insulated neighborhoods and ethnic enclaves, Yee’s study unearths the story of working-class urban dwellers of various ethnic groups—Chinese, Jews, Italians, and Irish—routinely interacting in social and economic settings.

Recounting the lived experiences in these neighborhoods, Yee’s numerous, fascinating anecdotes—such as the story of an Irishman who served for many years as the only funeral director for Chinese residents—detail friendships, business relationships, and sexual relationships that vividly counter the prevailing idea that ethnic groups mixed only in ways that were marked by violence and hostility.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • 1. Forming Households, Families, and Communities
  • 2. Building Commercial Relations
  • 3. Sustaining Life and Caring for the Dead
  • 4. Mixing with the Sinners: The Anti-vice Movement
  • 5. On (Un)Common Ground: Religious Politics in Settlements and Missions
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

From the Introduction:

In the winter of 1877, a group of mourners gathered in a dimly lit funeral parlor on Pearl Street in lower Manhattan to pay their last respects to Ah Fung (sometimes referred to as Ah Lung), a Chinese man who had been brutally murdered in his Lower East Side apartment. He had died of “ghastly wounds” at Bellevue Hospital after living for eighty hours with his brain exposed. Both Irish and Chinese people attended the funeral, including Mrs. Ah Fung, a woman of Irish ancestry. The New York World described the mixed gathering as “something unprecedented . . . [that gave] a good idea of the cosmopolitan character of the city” Given the well-publicized history of anti-Chinese hostility among the Irish working class, it is not surprising that the editors viewed the Ah Fung funeral as an anomaly.

The details of Ah Fung’s life are murky. The World described him as a laundry worker, while the New York Times reported that he had eked out a living making cigars and cigarettes with a Chinese man, Tung Ha, also known as “Peter Johnson,” and his white wife, Theresa. The three lived at 17 Forsyth Street, located in an ethnically mixed neighborhood across from the future site of the Manhattan Bridge. For unknown reasons, the household had not included Ah Fung’s wife; the two apparently had been living apart for several months before the attack.

Like other working-class immigrant communities, the Chinese called on their local mutual aid societies to help cover the funeral costs. Members of the Ene E. Jong, a Chinese burial society, raised $200 for the funeral and burial expenses. But the dead man’s friends and relatives had to look outside the Chinese community for an undertaker, for it would not be until the 1930s that the Chinese could hire a licensed Chinese funeral director. They hired William H. Kennedy, who placed Ah Fung’s coffin in his carriage house “amidst numerous hacks, coffins of several sorts, and a dreary looking hearse.” The forty-five-year-old Irish immigrant was a former carpenter and stable and livery keeper known for having “buried all the Chinese that [had] died in the down-town settlement for a number of years past.” Readers of the World caught a glimpse of Chinese customs from Kennedy, who provided a lengthy description of Chinese funeral and burial rituals, information he had acquired after many years of serving the local Chinese community. He also provided details of the Ah Fung funeral, noting that Mrs. Ah Fung, whom he described as “bright and intelligent,” was apparently unmoved by her husband’s violent death. In the undertaker’s view, the young woman was “not in the least crushed by affliction, for having left a tidy sum to his widow, she [was] not left in poverty by the demise of her husband.” Kennedy’s perception that Mrs. Ah Fung was not aggrieved but satisfied at her newly acquired financial state reinscribed popular racial stereotypes of the time—that she could never have entered the marriage out of love, but only for economic gain.

The newspaper reports of Ah Fung’s murder and the funeral that followed were no different from other tales of interracial love, sex, and violence that had become standard fodder in an increasingly sensationalist press by the late nineteenth century. But once we sift through the lurid details of the crime and the “colorful” descriptions Kennedy provides, a layer of interracial/interethnic social and economic relations that operated beneath the radar of popular depictions of urban life begins to surface. Ah Fung’s community in 1877 consisted of both Chinese and non-Chinese people who in various ways provided friendship, kinship ties, social services, and financial as well as emotional support.

Ah Fung’s situation was not unusual. Interrracial/interethnic relations were a common feature of daily life among working-class New Yorkers even as the ethnic composition of working-class neighborhoods in lower Manhattan changed over time. Nearly fifty years after Ah Fung’s funeral, a few blocks north of Forsyth Street, Johanna Hurley sat with Ching Yeng and her four-year-old daughter, Lung Som Moy, as Ching’s husband, Lung Lin, lay dying. Hurley, a widowed German immigrant, lived in the same apartment building and had summoned the ambulance. The building on Division Street, where Hurley’s and Ching’s families resided, housed an ethnically mixed population of old and new immigrants, the latter being mostly Russian and Polish Jews who worked in the city’s garment factories, ran small shops, or peddled wares in the densely populated neighborhoods of lower Manhattan. Moy’s father worked as a store manager several blocks over on Pell Street in the area popularly known as “Chinatown.”…

…The language and politics of difference have undergone significant changes over the past two centuries, encoded in the categories “nationality,” “race,” “ethnicity,” “gender,” “culture,” and “class.” Such terms can denote group identities as well as official designations for enumeration and the development of public policy. Popular, legal and social-science definitions of race and ethnicity have been fluid and often inconsistent. In 1911, the Immigration Commission, headed by William P. Dillingham, departed from the practice of classifying people according to country of origin, opting instead to categorize people according to race. The commission defined race broadly rather than adopting the accepted notion that five distinct races existed—Caucasian, Mongolian, African, Malay, and Indian—which, its report argued, confined itself to only physical characteristics and color. According to the report, widening the definition of race to include what social scientists of the time would have referred to as “culture” was, the commission believed, more statistically accurate and practical in its effort to identify diverse groups coming from particular countries of origin. Thus, the commission retained the desire to classify, coming up with forty categories that it believed more accurately represented the identity of immigrant groups.

The terminology of race remained inconsistent in “objective” government documents, as well as in the courts. The social construction of race as an official classification shaped the ways in which government documents, such as the census, have categorized immigrants and their descendants into specific “racial” groups and reported their country of origin, or nationality. Even though federal census reports added more detail in terms of the numbers of categories, race remained an ambiguous category. Once classified as simply “colored” along with African Americans, the Chinese, for example, were classified as “Ch” for Chinese by 1890, but their children could be classified as either “Chinese” or “white,” especially if they had been born of marriages between Chinese and women of European ancestry. People of African descent were categorized alternatively as “colored,” “Negro,” “Black,” or “mulatto.” Such inconsistencies reflected the continued confusion among census takers about what race “really” was. At the root of the race problem were shifting meanings of whiteness.

Between the late nineteenth century and the 1930s, popular understandings of “race” had undergone important changes. As the nation moved steadily toward the narrow “one-drop” rule that signified “blackness,” the meaning of “whiteness” expanded to include the Irish and, later, all Europeans of Caucasian ancestry. By 1920, concerns about how to define “white” and, hence, “non-white” made its way into the U.S. Census guidelines. For the first time, the introduction to the census articulated the notion of racial purity as a way to resolve the problem of classifying mixed-race people and provided guidelines for census takers (who, as it turned out, used their own discretion when classifying people anyway). While previous census reports had simply declared “whiteness” to mean people of European ancestry, in the 1920 guidelines, the government added the terms “purity” and “blood” to further specify the meanings of “white,” “non-white,” and mixed-white: “The term ‘white’ as used in the census reports refers to persons understood to be pureblooded whites. A person of mixed blood is classified according to the nonwhite racial strain or, if the nonwhite blood itself is mixed, according to his racial status as adjudged by the community in which he resides.”…

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We Are a People: Narrative and Multiplicity in Constructing Ethnic Identity

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2010-10-05 01:54Z by Steven

We Are a People: Narrative and Multiplicity in Constructing Ethnic Identity

Temple University Press
January 2000
304 pages
5 tables 5 figures
Paper EAN: 978-1-56639-723-0; ISBN: 1-56639-723-5

edited by Paul Spickard, Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara

and W. Jeffrey Burroughs, Dean of Math and Sciences and Professor of Psychology
Brigham Young University, Hawaii

As the twentieth century closes, ethnicity stands out as a powerful force for binding people together in a sense of shared origins and worldview. But this emphasis on a people’s uniqueness can also develop into a distorted rationale for insularity, inter-ethnic animosity, or, as we have seen in this century, armed conflict. Ethnic identity clearly holds very real consequences for individuals and peoples, yet there is not much agreement on what exactly it is or how it is formed.

The growing recognition that ethnicity is not fixed and inherent, but elastic and constructed, fuels the essays in this collection. Regarding identity as a dynamic, on-going, formative and transformative process, We Are a People considers narrative—the creation and maintenance of a common story—as the keystone in building a sense of peoplehood. Myths of origin, triumph over adversity, migration, and so forth, chart a group’s history, while continual additions to the larger narrative stress moving into the future as a people.

Still, there is more to our stories as individuals and groups. Most of us are aware that we take on different roles and project different aspects of ourselves depending on the situation. Some individuals who have inherited multiple group affiliations from their families view themselves not as this or that but all at once. So too with ethnic groups. The so-called hyphenated Americans are not the only people in the world to recognize or embrace their plurality. This relatively recent acknowledgment of multiplicity has potentially wide implications, destabilizing the limited (and limiting) categories inscribed in, for example, public policy and discourse on race relations.

We Are a People is a path-breaking volume, boldly illustrating how ethnic identity works in the real world.

Table of Contents

1. We are a People – Paul Spickard and W. Jeffrey Burroughs

Part I: The Indeterminacy of Ethnic Categories: The Problem and A Solution
2. Multiple Ethnicities and Identity Choices in the United States – Mary C. Waters
3. That’s the Story of Our Life – Stephen Cornell

Part II: Construction of Ethnic Narratives: Migrant Ethnicities
4. Black Immigrants in the United States – Violet M. Johnson
5. The Children of Samoan Migrants in New Zealand – Cluny Macpherson and La’avasa Macpherson

Part III: Ethnicities of Dominated Indigenous Peoples
6. Narrating to the Center of Power in the Marshall Islands – Phillip H. McArthur
7. Discovered Identities and American-Indian Supratribalism – Stephen Cornell
8. Racialist Responses to Black Athletic Achievement – Patrick B. Miller
9. I’m Not a Chileno! Rapa Nui Identity – Max E. Stanton and Andrés Edmunds P.

Part IV: Emerging Multiethnic Narratives
10. Multiracial Identity in Brazil and the U.S. – G. Reginald Daniel
11. Mixed Laughter – Darby Li Po Price
12. Punjabi Mexican American Experiences of Multiethnicity –  Darby Li Po Price

Part V: Theoretical Reflections
13. Rethinking Racial Identity Development – Maria P. P. Root
14. The Continuing Significance of Race – Lori Pierce
15. What Are the Functions of Ethnic Identity? – Cookie White Stephan and Walter G. Stephan
16. Ethnicity, Multiplicity, and Narrative – W. Jeffrey Burroughs and Paul Spickard

Read an excerpt of chapter 1 here.

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Making Ethnic Choices: California’s Punjabi Mexican Americans

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, United States on 2010-09-22 16:20Z by Steven

Making Ethnic Choices: California’s Punjabi Mexican Americans

Temple University Press
May 1992
352 page
Paper EAN: 978-1-56639-202-0, ISBN: 1-56639-202-0
Cloth EAN: 978-0-87722-890-5, ISBN: 0-87722-890-6
Electronic Book: EAN: 978-1-43990-364-3

Karen Isaksen Leonard, Professor of Anthropology
University of California, Irvine

This is a study of the flexibility of ethnic identity. In the early twentieth century, men from India’s Punjab province came to California to work on the land. The new immigrants had few chances to marry. There were very few marriageable Indian women, and miscegenation laws and racial prejudice limited their ability to find white Americans. Discovering an unexpected compatibility, Punjabis married women of Mexican descent and these alliances inspired others as the men introduced their bachelor friends to the sisters and friends of their wives. These biethnic families developed an identity as “Hindus” but also as Americans. Karen Leonard has related theories linking state policies and ethnicity to those applied at the level of marriage and family life. Using written sources and numerous interviews, she invokes gender, generation, class, religion, language, and the dramatic political changes of the 1940s in South Asia and the United States to show how individual and group perceptions of ethnic identity have changed among Punjabi Mexican Americans in rural California.

Read chapter 1 here.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Part I: Introduction
  • Part II: The World of the Pioneers
    • 2. Contexts: California and the Punjab
    • 3. Early Days in the Imperial Valley
    • 4. Marriages and Children
    • 5. Male and Female Networks
    • 6. Conflict and Love in the Marriages
  • Part III: The Construction of Ethnic Identity
    • 7. Childhood in Rural California
    • 8. The Second Generation Comes of Age
    • 9. Political Change and Ethnic Identity
    • 10. Encounters with the Other
    • 11. Contending Voices
  • Appendixes
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Searching for Mr. Chin: Constructions of Nation and the Chinese in West Indian Literature

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2010-06-24 19:33Z by Steven

Searching for Mr. Chin: Constructions of Nation and the Chinese in West Indian Literature

Temple University Press
May 2010
192 pages
Cloth EAN: 978-1-43990-130-4; ISBN: 1-4399-0130-9
Electronic Book: EAN: 978-1-43990-132-8

Anne-Marie Lee-Loy, Assistant Professor of English
Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

West Indian literary representations of local Chinese populations illuminate concepts of national belonging

What do twentieth-century fictional images of the Chinese reveal about the construction of nationhood in the former West Indian colonies? In her groundbreaking interdisciplinary work, Searching for Mr. Chin, Anne-Marie Lee-Loy seeks to map and understand a cultural process of identity formation: “Chineseness” in the West Indies. Reading behind the stereotypical image of the Chinese in the West Indies, she compares fictional representations of Chinese characters in Jamaica, Trinidad, and Guyana to reveal the social and racial hierarchies present in literature by popular authors such as V.S. Naipaul and Samuel Selvon, as well as lesser known writers and hard to access literary texts.

Using historical, discursive, and theoretical frameworks for her literary analysis, Lee-Loy shows how the unstable and ambiguous “belonging” afforded to this “middleman minority” speaks to the ways in which narrative boundaries of the nation are established. In addition to looking at how Chinese have been viewed as “others,” Lee-Loy examines self-representations of “Chineseness” and how they complicate national narratives of belonging.

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The Sorcery of Color: Identity, Race, and Gender in Brazil

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2010-02-25 17:26Z by Steven

The Sorcery of Color: Identity, Race, and Gender in Brazil

Temple University Press
November 2006
336 pages
6 tables
Paper EAN: 978-1-59213-351-2; ISBN: 1-59213-351-7
Cloth EAN: 978-1-59213-350-5; ISBN: 1-59213-350-9
Electronic Book EAN: 978-1-59213-352-9

Elisa Larkin Nascimento, Director
IPEAFRO Afro-Brazilian Studies and Research Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Originally published in 2003 in Portuguese, The Sorcery of Color argues that there are longstanding and deeply-rooted relationships between racial and gender inequalities in Brazil. In this pioneering book, Elisa Larkin Nascimento examines the social and cultural movements that have attempted, since the early twentieth century, to challenge and eradicate these conjoined inequalities.

The book’s title describes the social sleight-of-hand that disguises the realities of Brazilian racial inequity. According to Nascimento, anyone who speaks of racism—or merely refers to another person as black—traditionally is seen as racist. The only acceptably non-racist attitude is silence. At the same time, Afro-Brazilian culture and history have been so overshadowed by the idea of a general “Brazilian identity” that to call attention to them is also to risk being labeled racist.

Incorporating leading international scholarship on Pan Africanism and Afrocentric philosophy with the writing of Brazilian scholars, Nascimento presents a compelling feminist argument against the prevailing policy that denies the importance of race in favor of a purposefully vague concept of ethnicity confused with color.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Tables
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Introduction to the English Edition
  • Preface – Kabengele Munanga
  • Introduction
  • 1. Identity, Race, and Gender
  • 2. Brazil and the Making of “Virtual Whiteness”
  • 3. Constructing and Desconstructing the “Crazy Creole”
  • 4. Another History: Afro-Brazilian Agency (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, 1914-1960)
  • 5. The Black Experimental Theater: Plots, Texts, and Actors
  • Glossary of Brazilian Words
  • Bibliographical References

…The second obstacle to the discussion of race in Brazil is resistance to the idea that African populations in different parts of the world share a common experience. The presumption is that blacks in Brazil are in a unique situation determined solely by the circumstances of their society and have little or nothing in common with black populations in other parts of the world. Critics have frequently accused the black social movement in Brazil of attempting to import foreign standards and raising a problem that has never existed before. On the other hand, the concerns of the black movement often revolve around issues specific to Brazil rather than racism as a world phenomenon.

But racist domination is worldwide in scope. It derives from the historical imposition of Western hegemony over non-Western peoples and its essence is expressed in the ideology of white supremacy. The standard of whiteness affects the identity constructs of all dominated peoples, making the issue of identity crucial, but oftentimes, it is expressed in specific local terms. In Brazil, the sorcery of color transforms mixed-race identity into a permanent search for the simulation of whiteness…

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The Rule of Racialization: Class, Identity, Governance

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2010-02-09 17:15Z by Steven

The Rule of Racialization: Class, Identity, Governance

Temple University Press
November 2002
256 pages
Cloth EAN: 978-1-56639-981-4, ISBN: 1-56639-981-5
Paper: EAN: 978-1-56639-982-1, ISBN: 1-56639-982-3

Steve Martinot, Adjunct Professor
San Francisco State University

A significant re-writing of the history of class formation in the US

An important history of the way class formed in the US, The Rule of Racialization offers a rich new look at the invention of whiteness and how the inextricable links between race and class were formed in the seventeenth century and consolidated by custom, social relations, and eventually naturalized by the structures that organize our lives and our work.

Arguing that, unlike in Europe, where class formed around the nation-state, race deeply informed how class is defined in this country and, conversely, our unique relationship to class in this country helped in some ways to invent race as a distinction in social relations. Martinot begins tracing this development in the slave plantations in 1600s colonial life. He examines how the social structures encoded there lead to a concrete development of racialization. He then takes us up to the present day, where forms of those structures still inhabit our public and economic institutions. Throughout, he engages historical and contemporary thinkers on the nature of race in the US, creating a book that at once synthesizes significant critiques of race while at the same time offers a completely original conception of how race and class have operated in American life throughout the centuries.

A uniquely compelling book, The Rule of Racialization offers a rich contribution to the study of class, labor, and American social relations.

Read an excerpt from the introduction here.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. The History And Construction Of Slavery And Race
2. Racialization And Class Structure
3. The Contemporary Control Stratum
4. The Meanings Of White Racialized Identity

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Oye Como Va! Hybridity and Identity in Latino Popular Music

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Books, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2010-01-25 18:52Z by Steven

Oye Como Va! Hybridity and Identity in Latino Popular Music

Temple University Press
December 2009
238 pp
1 figure 5 halftones
Paper EAN: 978-1-43990-090-1; ISBN: 1-4399-0090-6
Cloth EAN: 978-1-43990-089-5; ISBN: 1-4399-0089-2

Deborah Pacini Hernandez, Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Studies
Tufts University

Listen Up! When the New York-born Tito Puente composed “Oye Como Va!” in the 1960s, his popular song was called “Latin” even though it was a fusion of Afro-Cuban and New York Latino musical influences. A decade later, Carlos Santana, a Mexican immigrant, blended Puente’s tune with rock and roll, which brought it to the attention of national audiences. Like Puente and Santana, Latino/a musicians have always blended musics from their homelands with other sounds in our multicultural society, challenging ideas of what “Latin” music is or ought to be. Waves of immigrants further complicate the picture as they continue to bring their distinctive musical styles to the U.S.—from merengue and bachata to cumbia and reggaeton.

In Oye Como Va!, Deborah Pacini Hernandez traces the trajectories of various U.S. Latino musical forms in a globalizing world, examining how the blending of Latin music reflects Latino/a American lives connecting across nations. Exploring the simultaneously powerful, vexing, and stimulating relationship between hybridity, music, and identity, Oye Como Va! asserts that this potent combination is a signature of the U.S. Latino/a experience.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • 1. Introduction: Hybridity, Identity, and Latino Popular Music
  • 2. Historical Perpectives on Latinos and the Latin Music Industry
  • 3. To Rock or Not to Rock: Cultural Nationalism and Latino Engagement with Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • 4. Turning the Tables: Musical Mixings, Border Crossings and new Sonic Circuitries
  • 5. New Immigrants, New Layerings: Tradition and Transnationalism in the U.S. Dominican Popular Music
  • 6. From Cumbia Colombiana to Cumbia Cosmopolatina: Roots, Routes, Race, and Mestizaje
  • 7. Marketing Latinidad in a Global Era
  • Notes
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Index
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How Did You Get to Be Mexican? A White/Brown Man’s Search for Identity

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2009-12-31 17:00Z by Steven

How Did You Get to Be Mexican? A White/Brown Man’s Search for Identity

Temple University Press
264 pages
EAN: 978-1-56639-651-6
ISBN: 1-56639-651-4

Kevin R. Johnson, Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies
University of California, Davis

This compelling account of racial identity takes a close look at the question “Who is a Latino?” and determines where persons of mixed Anglo-Latino heritage fit into the racial dynamics of the United States. The son of a Mexican-American mother and an Anglo father, Kevin Johnson has spent his life in the borderlands between racial identities. In this insightful book, he uses his experiences as a mixed Latino-Anglo to examine issues of diversity, assimilation, race relations, and affirmative action in contemporary United States.

Read the introduction here.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. A “Latino” Law Student? Law 4 Sale at Harvard Law School
3. My Mother: One Assimilation Story
4. My Father: Planting the Seeds of a Racial Consciousness
5. Growing Up White?
6. College: Beginning to Recognize Racial Complexities
A Family Gallery
7. A Corporate Lawyer: Happily Avoiding the Issue
8. A Latino Law Professor
9. My Family/Mi Familia
10. Lessons for Latino Assimilation
11. What Does It All Mean for Race Relations in the United States?

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Love’s Revolution: Interracial Marriage

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2009-12-15 03:13Z by Steven

Love’s Revolution: Interracial Marriage

Temple University Press
January 2001
240 pages
3 tables 1 figure
Paper: EAN: 978-1-56639-826-8; ISBN: 1-56639-826-6
Cloth: EAN: 978-1-56639-825-1; ISBN: 1-56639-825-8

Maria P. P. Root

When the Baby Boom generation was in college, the last miscegenation laws were declared unconstitutional, but interracial romances retained an aura of taboo. Since 1960 the number of mixed race marriages has doubled every decade. Today, the trend toward intermarriage continues, and the growing presence of interracial couples in the media, on college campuses, in the shopping malls and other public places draws little notice.

Love’s Revolution traces the social changes that account for the growth of intermarriage as well as the lingering prejudices and false beliefs that oppress racially mixed families. For this book author Maria P.P. Root, a clinical psychologist, interviewed some 200 people from a wide spectrum of racial and ethnic backgrounds. Speaking out about their views and experiences, these partners, family members, and children of mixed race marriages confirm that the barriers are gradually eroding; but they also testify to the heartache caused by family opposition and disapproving strangers.

Root traces race prejudice to the various institutions that were structured to maintain white privilege, but the heart of the book is her analysis of what happens when people of different races decide to marry. Developing an analogy between families and types of businesses, she shows how both positive and negative reactions to such marriages are largely a matter of shared concepts of family rather than individual feelings about race. She probes into the identity issues that multiracial children confront and draws on her clinical experience to offer child-rearing recommendations for multiracial families. Root’s “Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People” is a document that at once empowers multiracial people and educates those who ominously ask, “What about the children?”

Love’s Revolution paints an optimistic but not idealized picture of contemporary relationships. The “Ten Truths about Interracial Marriage” that close the book acknowledge that mixed race couples experience the same stresses as everyone else in addition to those arising from other people’s prejudice or curiosity. Their divorce rates are only slightly higher than those of single race couples, which suggests that their success or failure at marriage is not necessarily a racial issue. And that is a revolutionary idea!

Read an exceprt from Chapter 1 here.

Table of Contents

1. Love and Revolution
2. Love and Fear
3. Sex, Race, and Love
4. The Business of Families
5. Open and Closed Families
6. The Life Cycle and Interracial Marriage
7. Parents, Children, and Race
8. Ten Truths of Interracial Marriage

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Hapa Girl: A Memoir

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2009-11-11 04:13Z by Steven

Hapa Girl: A Memoir

Temple University Press
March 2007
232 pages
5.5×8.25, 12 halftones
Paper EAN: 978-1-59213-616-2 (ISBN: 1592136168)
Cloth EAN: 978-1-59213-615-5 (ISBN: 159213615X

May-lee Chai

  • Named one of the Notable Books in the Kiriyama Prize, 2008
  • Honorable Mention at the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Awards, 2007

A vivid depiction of the racism suffered by a mixed-race family in rural South Dakota

In the mid-1960s, Winberg Chai, a young academic and the son of Chinese immigrants, married an Irish-American artist. In Hapa Girl (“hapa” is Hawaiian for “mixed”) their daughter tells the story of this loving family as they moved from Southern California to New York to a South Dakota farm by the 1980s. In their new Midwestern home, the family finds itself the object of unwelcome attention, which swiftly escalates to violence. The Chais are suddenly socially isolated and barely able to cope with the tension that arises from daily incidents of racial animosity, including random acts of cruelty.

May-lee Chai’s memoir ends in China, where she arrives just in time to witness a riot and demonstrations. Here she realizes that the rural Americans’ “fears of change, of economic uncertainty, of racial anxiety, of the unknowable future compared to the known past were the same as China’s. And I realized finally that it had not been my fault.”

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Wearing of the Green
Chapter 2: The Sexy Artist Meets the Boy From New York City
Chapter 3: How to Charm a Mother-in-Law
Chapter 4: California Dreamin’
Chapter 5: The Banana
Chapter 6: The Banana’s Revenge
Chapter 7: Autumn in the Country
Chapter 8: Hunting Season
Chapter 9: The Little Things
Chapter 10: The Closet
Chapter 11: My Last Confession
Chapter 12: Bugs
Chapter 13: The Fall of the Prince
Chapter 14: The Jade Tree
Chapter 15: The Nights of Many Prayers
Chapter 16: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
Chapter 17: Stephen King High
Chapter 18: Barbarians
Chapter 19: Glamour Puss
Chapter 20: The Cannibals
Chapter 21: The Fine Art of Denial

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