Beyond Color-blind Universalism: Asians in a “Postracial America”

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2010-11-09 00:26Z by Steven

Beyond Color-blind Universalism: Asians in a “Postracial America”

Journal of Asian American Studies
Volume 13, Number 3
(October 2010)
pages 327-342
E-ISSN: 1096-8598; Print ISSN: 1097-2129

Linda Trinh Võ, Associate Professor
Department of Asian American Studies School of Humanities
University of California, Irvine

Beyond the symbolism of President Barack Hussein Obama’s election is the unseen ways in which it is transforming the racial discourse in this country; however, whether it means a substantial transformation of structural inequities is more elusive. Does Obama’s election mean that the United States has moved beyond its historical legacy of slavery and institutionalized segregation? Are racial groups interchangeable in this colorblind universalism, so that one group can be merely substituted for another? We are in the process of digesting what his presidency means for Asian Americans on both a superficial or symbolic level, but also on the tangibles, namely the implementation of the campaign slogan “change we can believe in.” Recognizing that much remains uncertain for Asian Americans, I critique the connections, real and imagined, they have to the presidential election, provide cautionary notes on the post-racial narrative, and comment on the ongoing process and impact of racialization.

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