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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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Chinatown Offers Us a Lesson

Chinatown Offers Us a Lesson

(p.181) Chapter 6 Chinatown Offers Us a Lesson
The Color of Success

Ellen D. Wu

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how a a national panic over a perceived escalation in youth criminality surfaced in the early 1940s, which was triggered by the social transformations of wartime. For Chinese in the United States, the issue of juvenile delinquency became an important means through which to stipulate their race and citizenship imperatives after World War II. Chinatown leaders adopted a bifurcated strategy that reflected the ongoing tension between sameness and difference under racial liberalism. In one direction, community managers argued that juvenile delinquency was as much a problem for the Chinese as for other Americans. They stressed their right to state resources to stamp out youth crime as equal and deserving members of the polity.

Keywords:   youth criminality, juvenile delinquency, Chinese Americans, citizenship imperatives, Chinatown, racial liberalism

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