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New Immigrant WhitenessRace, Neoliberalism, and Post-Soviet Migration to the United States$
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Claudia Sadowski-Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479847730

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479847730.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Post-Soviet Diaspora in Comparative Perspective

The Post-Soviet Diaspora in Comparative Perspective

Chapter:
(p.133) 5 The Post-Soviet Diaspora in Comparative Perspective
Source:
New Immigrant Whiteness
Author(s):

Claudia Sadowski-Smith

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479847730.003.0006

This chapter analyzes additional data from my interviews with post-Soviet immigrants and Gary Shteyngart’s novel Super Sad True Love Story (2010) in order to outline connections between post-USSR, Latina/o, and Asian American migration. In the interviews, post-Soviet migrants largely stressed their ambivalence toward laws like Arizona’s 2010 Senate Bill 1070 that target undocumented migration and from which they expected exemption because of their differential modes of entry. Because of their shared status as immigrants or experiences with state surveillance in the USSR or in post-Soviet nations, however, interviewees also expressed empathy with Mexican immigrants as the group most targeted by the law. While these views are reminiscent of turn of the twentieth century European immigrants’ insistence on their differences from nonwhite contemporaries, they also recall eastern European Jewish immigrants’ ambivalence toward or rejection of white supremacy through empathy with African Americans because of their own marginalization in the Russian empire. Set in a dystopian United States that is undergoing similar neoliberal shock therapies as the former Soviet Union, Shteyngart’s novel draws attention to parallels between second-generation Russian Jewish immigrants and Asian Americans, who are similarly associated with upward mobility, while Latina/os and African Americans are considered losers in the neoliberal era.

Keywords:   post-Soviet migration, US anti-immigration legislation, SB 1070, whiteness studies, literary and cultural studies, American studies, Latina/o studies, Asian American studies, Gary Shteyngart

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