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Asian Americans in DixieRace and Migration in the South$
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Jigna Desai and Khyati Y. Joshi

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037832

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037832.001.0001

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Racial Interstitiality and the Anxieties of the “Partly Colored”

Racial Interstitiality and the Anxieties of the “Partly Colored”

Representations of Asians under Jim Crow

Chapter:
(p.54) Chapter 2 Racial Interstitiality and the Anxieties of the “Partly Colored”
Source:
Asian Americans in Dixie
Author(s):

Leslie Bow

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037832.003.0003

This chapter studies the debates about Asian Americans' near-white status in popular and scholarly discourse. It forwards the idea of “racial interstitiality” as a method of reading the excess of racial formations within the context of the Black/White binary. Cultural documents across disciplinary boundaries reveal the ways in which both “colored” and “white” become enmeshed within the interplay of other oppositions that construct American norms, particularly those regarding class advancement: progressive vs. regressive; modern vs. feudal; and prosperous vs. indigent. The context of Asian racial indeterminacy in this context highlights the emergence of subjects whose values and beliefs were either recognized as potentially worthy of incorporation—hence, “near whiteness”—or, conversely, unworthy.

Keywords:   near whiteness, racial interstitiality, black/white binary, racial indeterminacy, racial formation

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