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The Race CardFrom Gaming Technologies to Model Minorities$
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Tara Fickle

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479868551

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479868551.001.0001

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Against the Odds

Against the Odds

(p.79) 3 Against the Odds
The Race Card

Tara Fickle

NYU Press

This chapter uses games of chance to illustrate the overlooked kinship between the appeal that hardworking Asian Americans held for white sociologists and the appeal that gambling held for Asian Americans. In other words, the chapter emphasizes again the formal symmetry between the way both parties were using gambling to try to rationalize larger paradoxes in cultural theories of race and economic mobility by reframing immigration and social mobility as a risk-taking opportunity. Gambling served an ideational narrative function that is made clear through its representations in both literary and journalistic fictions of the model minority. The model minority myth was, from that perspective, essentially a racialized version of the gambling narrative, wherein Asian Americans modeled a new way of representing and explaining the relationship between past and future, merit and heredity.

Keywords:   model minority, gambling, games of chance, social mobility, class inequality, neoliberalism, meritocracy, Wakako Yamauchi, Hisaye Yamamoto, C Wright Mills

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