Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience

Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience

Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience

Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience


In Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience, Angelo N. Ancheta demonstrates how United States civil rights laws have been framed by a black-white model of race that typically ignores the experiences of other groups, including Asian Americans. When racial discourse is limited to antagonisms between black and white, Asian Americans often find themselves in a racial limbo, marginalized or unrecognized as full participants.

Ancheta examines legal and social theories of racial discrimination, ethnic differences in the Asian American population, nativism, citizenship, language, school desegregation, and affirmative action. In the second edition of this influential book, Ancheta also covers post-9/11 anti-Asian sentiment and racial profiling. He analyzes recent legal cases involving political empowerment, language rights, human trafficking, immigrant rights, and affirmative action in higher education--many of which move the country farther away from the ideals of racial justice. On a more positive note, he reports on the progress Asian Americans have made in the corporate sector, politics, the military, entertainment, and academia.

A skillful mixture of legal theories, court cases, historical events, and personal insights, this second edition brings fresh insights to U.S. civil rights from an Asian American perspective.


Since the first edition of this book was published in 1998, there have been extraordinary developments in American race relations, civil rights law, immigration policy, and, most notably, national security and anti-terrorism efforts following the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The arcs of law, history, and racial theory affecting Asian Americans have remained just as salient as when the first edition was completed: racial discrimination, both subtle and overt, persists in many sectors of American life, and Asian Americans still suffer from treatment both as “perpetual foreigners” and as a “model minority” group. But with the passage of time, the justifications for a second edition became increasingly clear: basic updating of statistics and census data was much needed, new forms of anti-Asian sentiment and discrimination have sprouted as antiterrorism activities have come to dominate federal policy making, and recent trends in legislation and judicial decision making have been moving the country even further away from the ideals of racial justice.

Among the cases included in this edition are United States v. Wen Ho Lee, perhaps the most notorious example in recent years of racial profiling against Asian Americans in the service of national security interests, and Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, the University of Michigan affirmative action cases in which the U.S. Supreme Court clarified the constitutional boundaries of race-conscious admissions in higher education. Asian Americans have also been at the storm center of many of the debates involving immigrants’ rights issues such as bilingual education, detention policies, and illegal immigration reform. The second edition highlights some of the recent developments in these areas, while also noting the progress that Asian Americans have made in important spheres of power. Asian Americans occupy increasingly prominent roles in the corporate sector, the military, entertainment, and academia . . .

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