The State of Asian America: Activism and Resistance in the 1990s

Aguilar-San Juan, Karin
Publisher:  South End Press, Boston
Year Published:  1994
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX11381

Aguilar-San Juan offers a complex understanding of race and racial identity, and a critique of the narrow identity politics -- defined as "ethnic consciousness". She writes, "Identity politics -- while they have created occasional possibilities for dark-skinned individuals to move up the socioeconomic ladder -- unfortunately have seduced many people into putting their identity issues at the center of the debate, while shunning the more substantive issues of racism and class oppression.... Reducing race to a matter of identity, rather than expanding our experience of racism into a critique of U.S. society, is detrimental to our movement. In the Asian American community, we often make the dangerous mistake of equating the process of acquainting ourselves with our ethnic, linguistic, religious, or historic roots with activism against racism. If in our desire to claim our identity, we overlook, for example, the ways that race is connected to imperialism . . . then we hover perilously close to the trap of defining race as a biological rather than a social construct."

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