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The Color of SuccessAsian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority$
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Ellen D. Wu

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157825

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157825.001.0001

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Imperatives of Asian American Citizenship

Imperatives of Asian American Citizenship

(p.1) Introduction Imperatives of Asian American Citizenship
The Color of Success

Ellen D. Wu

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter describes the racial order in twentieth-century America—its evolution, consequences, and significance. Japanese and Chinese Americans, the largest ethnic Asian populations, and the two that figured most prominently in the public eye between the 1940s and 1960s, are central to this investigation. Their trajectories unfold separately in order to illuminate their distinct histories. Yet Japanese and Chinese Americans also appear in tandem to emphasize the many parallels that account for their concurrent emergence as model minorities. As a mix of cultural, social, and political history, the chapter highlights how the discursive and the material mattered for Japanese American, Chinese American, and ultimately Asian American identity formation from World War II through the “Cold War civil rights” years.

Keywords:   racial order, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, ethnic Asian populations, Asian American identity, World War II, Cold War civil rights, model minorities

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