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Racial ReconstructionBlack Inclusion, Chinese Exclusion, and the Fictions of Citizenship$
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Edlie Wong

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9781479868001

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479868001.001.0001

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From Emancipation to Exclusion

From Emancipation to Exclusion

Racial Analogy in Afro-Asian Periodical Print Culture

(p.69) 2 From Emancipation to Exclusion
Racial Reconstruction

Edlie L. Wong

NYU Press

Chapter 2 broadens our understanding of Reconstruction to encompass the West and its “Chinese Question.” It builds upon the analytics for articulating racial difference—differential thinking—honed in U.S. race and ethnic studies to illuminate an early politics of comparative racialization. Chinese American activists and writers such as Wong Chin Foo and Yan Phou Lee struggled to disarticulate the powerfully racializing discourse of heathenism that helped sustain the dialectic of black inclusion/Chinese (and Native American) exclusion. Black writers such as James Williams and William H. Newby wrote against Chinese exclusion, representing it as an outgrowth of the racial proscriptions that they had faced during legalized slavery. In juxtaposing lesser-known figures from early African American and Asian American print histories, this chapter investigates the analogization of blacks and Chinese in popular discourse and how these writers negotiated and contested these homogenizing racial representations in oratory and print journalism.

Keywords:   gold rush, Frederick Douglass, Wong Chin Foo, James Williams, reconstruction amendments, Burlingame Treaty, slave narrative, autoethnography, Christianity, Chinese immigration

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