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Trans-Pacific Japanese American StudiesConversations on Race and Racializations$
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Yasuko Takezawa and Gary Y. Okihiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824847586

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824847586.001.0001

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The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

The Contemporary Racialization of Japanese/Asian Americans

(p.39) Chapter 2 The Unbearable Whiteness of Being
Trans-Pacific Japanese American Studies

Michael Omi

University of Hawai'i Press

Given the exponential growth and increased visibility of the Asian American population in the U.S., how are they positioned in the prevailing framework of racial classification and racial meanings? I argue that the current context for racially positioning Asian Americans is the increased scholarly attention being paid to the concept of “whiteness.” Just as previous “outsiders” (e.g., Irish, Jews) have been incorporated into popular understandings of who is white, there is increasing speculation in the contemporary social science literature that Asian Americans are following a similar trajectory of inclusion. The social and cultural indicators evoked to advance such an argument are discussed and subject to alternative interpretation.

Keywords:   Asian Americans, whiteness, racialization, assimilation, model minority, racial threat, racial project

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