Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White

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9780465006403: Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White
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Writing in the tradition of W. E. B. Du Bois, Cornel West, and others who confronted the "color line" of the twentieth century, journalist, scholar, and activist Frank H. Wu offers a unique perspective on how changing ideas of racial identity will affect race relations in the twenty-first century. Wu examines affirmative action, globalization, immigration, and other controversial contemporary issues through the lens of the Asian-American experience. Mixing personal anecdotes, legal cases, and journalistic reporting, Wu confronts damaging Asian-American stereotypes such as "the model minority" and "the perpetual foreigner." By offering new ways of thinking about race in American society, Wu's work dares us to make good on our great democratic experiment.

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Review:

Yellow by Frank H. Wu is an eclectic, incisive investigation-cum-meditation that, though focusing on Asian Americans, recasts the United States' ongoing debate about racial identity in all forms. Wu suggests that the widespread stereotyping of Asian Americans, while "superficially positive," is inherently damaging. Mixing personal anecdotes, current events, academic studies, and court cases, Wu not only debunks the myth of a "model minority" but also makes discomfiting observations about attitudes toward affirmative action, what he calls "rational" discrimination, mixed marriages, racial profiling, and the "false divisions" of integration versus pluralism and assimilation versus multiculturalism. Though its conclusions are unremarkable, Yellow is thought provoking. The book's strength--besides its clarity and thoughtfulness--is a lack of tendentiousness. Wu prefers to suggest, not posit; muse, not shout; and ask questions, not necessarily answer them. --H. O'Billovitch

About the Author:

The first Asian American to serve as a law professor at Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C., Frank H. Wu has written for a range of publications including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and The Nation, and writes a regular column for Asian Week. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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