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ChinoAnti-Chinese Racism in Mexico, 1880-1940$
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Jason Oliver Chang

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040863

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040863.001.0001

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(p.189) Conclusion

Jason Oliver Chang

University of Illinois Press

This chapter concludes the book by first reflecting on the legacy of antichinismo in Mexican culture by reflecting on the 1970s exhumation and relocation of hundreds of Chinese peoples’ graves in Mexicali, Baja California. The pervasive character of antichinismo in Mexican culture in the 1930s is traced through the substitute presidency of Ábelardo Rodríguez. Rodriguez gained national notoriety as a leading antichinista in his role as governor of Baja California. His presidency represents the ascendancy of antichinismo to an ideology of the mestizo racial state. This ideology is traced through the legal discourse and juridical formulations in Rodríguez’s policy platform. Antichinismo became a popular way to expand state power by appealing to the 1917 constitution’s social-rights mandate to protect the Mexican people. From bureaucratic reforms to a whole slate of policy areas including health, land, sex education, and nationality, antichinismo helped people define the public good. A lynching of three Chinese men in Villa Aldama is examined as an example of the racial violence inspired by state led Mexicanization. Antichinismo was strongest not when it expelled Chinese people from Mexican territory, but when it built consent for incorporation into the revolutionary government’s regimentation of economic, social, and sexual life. Antichinistas at various levels of government made mestizo nationalism a popular identity of state incorporation, one that traded social rights and state dependency for indigeneity and sovereignty. The chapter concludes by examining this process of race and state formation in Baja California during a period of agrarian unrest known as El Asalto a las Tierras in 1937 in which hundreds of Mexican people evicted thousands of Chinese farmers from lands in the Colorado River basin.

Keywords:   cemetery, Ábelardo Rodríguez, El Asalto a las Tierras, policy reform, public good, health, land, sex education, nationality, racial state, legal discourse, Mexicanization

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