Partly Colored: Asian Americans And Racial Anomaly In The Segregated South

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2012 Honorable mention for the Book Award in Cultural Studies from the Association for Asian American Studies

Arkansas, 1943. The Deep South during the heart of Jim Crow-era segregation. A Japanese-American person boards a bus, and immediately is faced with a dilemma. Not white. Not black. Where to sit?

By elucidating the experience of interstitial ethnic groups such as Mexican, Asian, and Native Americansgroups that are held to be neither black nor whiteLeslie Bow explores how the color line accommodatedor refused to accommodateother ethnicities within a binary racial system. Analyzing pre- and post-1954 American literature, film, autobiography, government documents, ethnography, photographs, and popular culture, Bow investigates the ways in which racially in-between people and communities were brought to heel within the Souths prevailing cultural logic, while locating the interstitial as a site of cultural anxiety and negotiation.

Spanning the pre- to the post- segregation eras, Partly Colored traces the compelling history of third race individuals in the U.S. South, and in the process forces us to contend with the multiracial panorama that constitutes American culture and history.


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