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My new encycloped​ia entries “Chinese Exclusion Act” and “Eugenics”

Submitted by on November 23, 2011 – 8:54 pmNo Comment

I have two entries in the new encyclopedia Anti-Immigration in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Kathleen R. Arnold.

My entry on the Chinese Exclusion Act is an effort to challenge the dominant accounts of the act, promoted by those who subscribe to the Commons School of History approach or to progressive colorblind approaches, both of which defend or apologize for white racism against Asians by arguing it was economically and morally justified.  Since I had first learned of the act over a decade and a half ago, I have been bothered by this defense of white anti-Asian racism, too often found in history books and promoted by too many white lefties and liberals.  Books written by Asian Americans and a few others have tended to take a more critical view of the economic argument and showed how much more was at play; increasingly more scholars are looking at the racial politics of immigration policies.  In addition, we can always consider, even when economics are involved, as they always are, why does white suffering (real or imagined) get to be used as a justification for white on non-white violence, a violence that has never been mutually inflicted to the same degree and with the same level of sympathy?  For my entry on eugenics I wanted to address how anti-Black racism and anxieties about the importation of “Black blood” among race scientists was a feature of eugenic approaches to immigration.

The entries “Chinese Exclusion Act” and “Eugenics” start on pages 105 and 189, respectively, and can be read in full in the Google Books edition.

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