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Partly ColoredAsian Americans and Racial Anomaly in the Segregated South$
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Leslie Bow

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791325

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791325.001.0001

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Coloring between the Lines

Coloring between the Lines

Historiographies of Southern Anomaly

(p.23) 1 Coloring between the Lines
Partly Colored

Leslie Bow

NYU Press

This chapter examines 19th- and 20th-century cultural representations of Asians, American Indians, and mestizos in southern culture. Situating the “partly colored” as interpretive occasions, it witnesses segregation-era attempts to force subjects into recognizable roles, focusing on the ways in which “Asianness” in particular became articulated in terms of its proximity to the “Negro.” Moreover, the chapter looks at one arena in which the administration of segregation simultaneously acknowledged and erased gradations of color: anti-miscegenation law. In recalling the ways in which state laws prohibiting marriage between “Negroes” and whites implicated and created other “colored” subjects, it argues that such erasures have specific consequences for conceiving African Americans as the proper subjects of grievance in the post–Brown v. Board of Education moment. At stake is not so much a new conception of white supremacy, but an understanding of the ways in which American racism becomes narrated.

Keywords:   cultural representations, Asians, American Indians, mestizos, southern culture, partly colored, Asianness, anti-miscegenation law, white supremacy, American racism

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