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Asian American Racial Formation and the Image of American Democracy

(p.1) Introduction
Citizens of Asian America
Cindy I-Fen Cheng
NYU Press

This book examines how the U.S. government used Asian Americans to promote the superiority of U.S. democracy over communism during the early Cold War years from 1946 to 1965. More specifically, it considers how the federal government both secured and infringed upon the rights of Asian Americans as it sought to showcase the legitimacy of U.S. democracy and the nation's goodwill toward all “free countries” in Asia. However, policies that monitored the activities and scrutinized the loyalties of Asian Americans were also implemented. In this sense, Asian Americans were cast as “loyal citizens” to be integrated into dominant society but at the same time as “alien subversives” to be deported. Using Asian American racial formation as a primary mode of analysis, the book also discusses the effects of U.S. foreign policy in Asia on the social standing of Asian Americans and on domestic civil rights. Finally, it explores how U.S. foreign affairs connected the fight against housing segregation to the fight against communism during the early Cold War years.

Keywords:   U.S. democracy, communism, Cold War, civil rights, Asian Americans, Asia, foreign policy, housing segregation, racial formation, foreign affairs

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