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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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Success Story, Japanese American Style

Success Story, Japanese American Style

(p.150) Chapter 5 Success Story, Japanese American Style
The Color of Success

Ellen D. Wu

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how, in seeking to produce new envisagements about Japanese Americans, Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) spoke to mid-twentieth-century liberals' confidence in the ability of educational campaigns and social science to transform existing ideas about race and alter the country's racial order. Constituents of the era's race relations complex identified Nikkei citizenship as an American dilemma to be repaired in order to prove the nation's capacity for righting its wrongs, thereby protecting the United States' global position. The celebration of Japanese Americans as model minorities seemed to vindicate the assimilationist approach to rehabilitating Nikkei citizenship as espoused by JACL and its allies. Yet at the same moment, the emergence of this image undermined the league's dominant position within the Nikkei community.

Keywords:   Japanese Americans, Japanese American Citizens League, racial order, social science, educational campaigns, Nikkei citizenship, model minorities

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