1. See David Kehr, “Review: The Jazz Singer,” Chicago Reader, December 1980, http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-jazz-singer/Film?oid=1052131. A much earlier version of this preface, titled “Fathers, Sons, and Symbolic Ethnicity: Considering Two Generations of The Jazz Singer,” appeared in the online magazine, Magazine Americana, http://www.americanpopularculture.com/archive/film/neil_diamond.htm. The film was directed by Richard Fleischer and released by Paramount Pictures; it premiered on December 19, 1980.
2. Brooklyn-born Richard Fleischer (1916–2006) was known primarily for his science fiction/fantasy productions, which included Conan the Destroyer, Red Sonja, and Soylent Green. He won an Oscar in 1947 for Design for Death, a documentary feature. Screenwriter Herbert Baker (1920–1983), known for his work with The Danny Kaye Show, was also the chief writer for two Elvis Presley films (King Creole and Loving You). The Jazz Singer would be Baker’s final screenwriting credit. Neil Diamond (born in 1941) grew up in Brooklyn and was the Jewish Polish/Russian American son of a dry-goods merchant. Diamond was a top-selling singer/songwriter at the time of The Jazz Singer’s release. Other notable cast members included Sir Laurence Olivier in the role of Cantor Rabinovitch (the father) and the seasoned performer Lucie Arnaz (the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz) as Molly, Diamond’s Gentile love interest.
3. Sociologist and critic Yen Le Espiritu uses Diamond’s “America” to frame her reading of three immigration texts: Immigrant America: A Portrait, by Alejandro Portes and Ruben G. Rumbaut; Becoming a Citizen: Incorporating Immigrants and Refugees in the United States and Canada, by Irene Bloemraad; and Unruly Immigrants: Rights, Activism, and Transnational South Asian Politics in the United States, by Monisha Das Gupta. See “‘They’re Coming to America’: Immigration, Settlement, and Citizenship,” Qualitative Sociology 32.2 (June 2009): 221–227.
4. These readings were taken from reviews written by critics Hal Erikson, Paul Brenner, and an unidentified TV GUIDE reviewer. Paradoxically, the film’s star (Diamond) was nominated for a Golden Globe and a RAZZIE, which recognizes the worst performances in the entertainment industry.
5. See Paul Brenner, “The Jazz Singer,” All Movie Guide, http://www.allmovie.com. Two other remakes of The Jazz Singer included a 1953 Danny Thomas version and a 1959 made-for-television remake starring Jerry Lewis. This humdrum reading was echoed by New York Times film commentator Janet Maslin, who maintained that Diamond’s “transition from the Lower East Side bathrobes to Hollywood’s V-necked sweaters with nothing underneath is made all too smoothly. . . . [It would] be no less preposterous if he started in Hollywood and wound up on the Lower East Side than it is right now. And that way, at least it would be new” (emphasis added). See Janet Maslin, “Movie Review: The Jazz Singer,” New York Times, December 19, 1980.
6. As Chris Vials astutely notes, the miniseries signaled a seminal moment in American consciousness of the Judeocide.
7. Maslin, “Movie Review: The Jazz Singer.”
8. Mass media magnate Henry Luce, publisher of Time and Life, referred to the twentieth century as the “American century.”
9. Lauren Berlant, “Citizenship,” in Keywords for American Cultural Studies, Bruce Brugett and Glen Hendler, eds. (New York: New York University Press, 2008), 37–38.
10. See the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) home page, December 15, 2001, http://www.ins.usdoj.gove/text.aboutins/statistics/LegisHist/553.htm.
11. Jerry Phillips’s work on Herman Melville’s phenomenological engagement with risk is especially illuminating, for he examines the interplay between capitalistic enterprise and adventure narratives.
12. Interestingly, Neil Diamond’s allusion to the flag and the Statue of Liberty is reminiscent of Emma Lazarus’s well-known, oft-quoted poem that is engraved in the statue’s pedestal foundation, “The New Colossus.” The poem, in its entirety, reads: “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, / With conquering limbs astride from land to land; / Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand / A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame / Is the imprisoned lightening, and her name / Mother of Exiles. / From her beacon-hand / Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command / The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. / ‘Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she / With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’” http://www.libertystatepark.com/emma.html.
13. Michael Rogin, Blackface, White Noise (Berkeley: California University Press, 1996), 168. Additionally, The Jazz Singer’s final scene (along with its plot) is reminiscent of Israel Zangwill’s 1908 play, The Melting-Pot, which is discussed in chapter 2.
14. In Klezmer America (2008), Jonathan Freedman furthers this reading of Diamond’s now iconic immigrant composition vis-à-vis pro-immigration rallies in 2006.
15. “My Country, ’tis of Thee” at times functioned as the national anthem until the official adoption of Francis Scott Key’s “The Star Spangled Banner” by Congress in 1931.
16. The Hasidic movement began in Eastern Europe (Poland and Ukraine), which incidentally reflects Diamond’s own ethnic background.
17. Straus Square (formerly Rutgers Square) was an important site for turn-of-the-twentieth-century Jewish immigrants, who gathered for political meetings and rallies. The closing scene in the opening montage—a close-up of a street sign marking “Eldridge Street,” continues the film’s homage to Jewish American history, in that the street is home to the Eldridge Street Synagogue, the first such building of worship in the United States and New York. Constructed by Eastern European Jews in 1887, the building foreshadows the human story that follows, which charts the rise of the Eastern European Jewish American protagonist Jess Robin.
19. The original Jazz Singer was based on Samson Raphaelson’s short story, “Day of Atonement,” which appeared in Everybody’s Magazine in 1922. In the original film and story, the traditional father dies of heartbreak caused by his son’s desire to pursue a life on the stage. In the 1980 version, the father lives, allowing father and son to reconcile.
20. See “Becoming a Citizen,” August 12, 2010. http://www.unitedstatesimmigration.info/becoming_a_citizen.html.
Nicholas Lehmann, “Jews in Second Place: When Asian-Americans Become the ‘New Jews,’ What Happens to the Jews?” Slate, June 25, 1996, http://www.slate.com/id/2378. Eric Liu, The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker (New York: Random House, 1998), 145.
1. I want to thank Min Hyoung Song for initially bringing this text to my attention.
2. George Packer, “From the Mekong to the Bayous” (review), New York Times, June 7, 1992, http://www.nytimes.com/1992/06/07/books/from-the-mekong-to-the-bayous.html.
3. At the 2009 Modern Language Association conference in Philadelphia, Susan Edmonds astutely noted parallel “civil war” structures in Lan Cao’s Monkey Bridge (1997).
4. Robert Olen Butler, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (New York: Penguin, 1992), 126.
5. United States Congress, “An Act to Establish a Uniform Rule of Naturalization” (March 26, 1790), 1 Stat. 103–104. Edited version: Linda Grant De Pauw, et al., eds., Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789—March 3, 1791. 14 vols. to date. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972–1995. 6: 1516–1522.
6. As will be discussed later, African Americans were granted the right to naturalize in 1870. The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 enabled an en masse naturalization of Native Americans.
7. Gary Okihiro, Common Ground: Reimagining American History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), xiii.
8. There is much debate over whether or not the resettlement of Jews in England occurred during Oliver Cromwell’s reign as Lord Protector in England. According to a December 9, 2005, Guardian article by Elaine Glaser, no official policy had been established for the resettlement of this population. Further, the story of Cromwell’s role in lifting such a ban largely occurs during the latter part of the nineteenth century, with the mass emigration of European Jews from the continent as a consequence of pogroms and increasingly violent anti-Semitic sentiment. See “Oliver Cromwell and the Jews: A Correction,” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/dec/09/religion.uk.
9. Leon Hühner, “Naturalization of Jews in New York under the Act of 1740,” reprinted from the Publications of the American Jewish Society 13 (1905). The lack of consistency in colonial naturalization policy is apparent in the case of two Rhode Island Jewish merchants—Aaron Lopez and Isaac Elizer—who attempted to gain citizenship in 1762. Although naturalized citizenship was granted to previous Jewish subjects, the applications of Lopez and Elizer were denied by the Superior Court of Rhode Island, eventually prompting both applicants to go to other colonies (Massachusetts and New York, respectively) to successfully naturalize. Both applicants initially appealed the ruling at the level of the colonial legislature, which returned jurisdiction to the colonial court. Revealingly, as a justification for the ruling, the legislature maintained in the case of Lopez that “Inasmuch as the said Aaron Lopez hath declared himself by religion a Jew, this Assembly doth not admit himself nor any other of that religion to the full freedom of this Colony. So that the said Aaron Lopez nor any other of said religion is not liable to be chosen into any office in this colony nor allowed to give vote as a free man in choosing others.” The declaration of Lopez’s religious affiliation as a Jew therefore served as the primary impediment to naturalization in Rhode Island, which further prohibited the applicant’s participation in “any office in this colony” and effectively disallowed a participatory role in the franchise. The connection between naturalized subject and voting citizen would reemerge in an 1854 California case, People v. Hall, which is discussed in chapter 1.
10. A. H. Carpenter, “Naturalization in England and the American Colonies,” American Historical Review 9.2 (January 1904): 293.
11. The significance of this relatively new transit to citizenship was not lost on Jewish subjects living in the United States at the time of the 1790 law. For instance, Portuguese immigrant and Jewish leader Moises Seixas directly confronted the benefit of such religious omission in his letter to George Washington on August 17, composed roughly five months after the passage of the 1790 naturalization law. Speaking on behalf of the Newport, Rhode Island, Jewish community, Seixas’s letter to the president alluded to the past colonial-era denial of Aaron Lopez and Isaac Elizer, two Jewish applicants for naturalized citizenship. Seixas professed: “Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free Citizens, we now with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty disposer of all events behold a Government, erected by the Majesty of the People—a Government, which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance—but generously affording to all Liberty of conscience, and immunities of Citizenship: deeming every one, of whatever Nation, tongue, or language equal parts of the great governmental Machine”; Moises Seixas, “Letter to George Washington,” August 17, 1790, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm006.html.
12. In the case In re Ah Yup (1878), the Court ruled that Chinese applicants were “aliens ineligible for citizenship” because they were neither a “free white person” nor someone of “African descent.” This case is examined in chapter 1.
13. Takao Ozawa, “Naturalization of a Japanese Subject” (undated brief, University of California, Los Angeles Japanese American Research Project Collection, Japanese Foreign Ministry Documents, reel 39). Though Takao Ozawa had originally filed for naturalized citizenship in 1914, it was not until 1922 that his case was heard before the Supreme Court.
14. Ian Haney Lopez examines the codification of whiteness via legal cases involving naturalization applicants; White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race  (New York: New York University Press, 2006). This issue of legal whiteness also functions as an entrée into Matthew Frye Jacobson’s work on “probationary white subjects” during the first massive wave of immigration (1880—1924) and in the twentieth century.
15. Franklin Odo, “Supreme Court: Takao Ozawa v. United States, November 13, 1922.” The Columbia Documentary History of the Asian American Experience (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 181.
16. “Americanizing Immigrant Jews,” New York Times, January 5, 1922, 88. Charles S. Bernheimer was perhaps best known for his study Russian Jew in the United States: Studies of Social Conditions in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago (1905).
17. Michael C. LeMay and Robert Elliott Barkan, US Immigration and Naturalization Laws and Issues: A Documentary History (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1999), 133.
18. Okihiro, Common Ground, xiv.
19. Liu, The Accidental Asian, 75.
20. Lopez, White by Law, 64–65.
21. As Asha Nadkarni notes in “World Menace: National Reproduction and Public Health in Katherine Mayo’s Mother India,” American Quarterly 60.3 (September 2008): 805–827, the religious category of “Hindu” was synonymous with South Asian racial identity.
22. Lopez, White by Law, 64–65.
23. In United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), the Supreme Court ruled that those born in the United States—regardless of their would-be eligibility for naturalized citizenship—maintained a jus solis citizenship states.
24. Min Hyoung Song, “The Children of 1965: Allegory, Postmodernism, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake,” Twentieth-Century Literature 53.3 (Fall 2007): 353. Song uses Lee Edelman’s notion of the “Child” to discuss the symbolic function of children in conceptions of futurity.
25. In Karma of Brown Folk (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001), Vijay Prashad uses W.E.B. Dubois’s famous “problematic” argument in Souls of Black Folk. In particular, Dubois is asked how “it feels to be a problem.” Prashad revises this to fit a model minority frame, noting that Asian Americans must consider “what it means to be a solution.”
26. Song, “The Children of 1965,” 353.
27. “Success Story of One Minority Group in the U.S.” Originally published December 26, 1966, in U.S. News and World Report; included in Asian American Studies: A Reader, Jean Yu-Wen Wu and Min Song, eds. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2000), 158.
28. William Petersen, “Success Story, Japanese-American Style,” New York Times Magazine, January 9, 1966, 32.
29. It is interesting to note Petersen’s dismissal of student activism and protest; a conservative, he stresses that few Japanese Americans were involved.
30. Petersen, “Success Story, Japanese-American Style,” 42.
32. Jonathan Freedman, “Transgressions of a Model Minority.” Shofar 23.4 (Summer 2005): 72.
33. Yen Le Espiritu, “Homes, Borders, and Possibilities,” in Asian American Studies Now: A Critical Reader, Jean Yu-Wen Shen Wu and Thomas C. Chen, eds. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2010), 604–605. Originally published in Home Bound: Filipino American Lives across Cultures, Communities, and Countries (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).
34. Priscilla Wald, “Naturalization,” in Keywords for American Cultural Studies, Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler, eds. (New York: New York University Press, 2007), 174.
35. Ibid., 170–171.
1 / “Who May Be Citizens of the United States”
1. “News of the Week,” German Reformed Messenger (1851–1867), December 6, 1854, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87090458/. The first epigraph above is from People v. Hall 4 Cal. 399 (California Supreme Court 1854), http://www.uchastings.edu/racism-race/people-hall.html. The second epigraph is from an editorial in Harper’s Weekly, May 15, 1858, “Who May Be Citizens of the United States,” 306, http://immigrants.harpweek.com.
2. See People v. Hall.
3. U. S. Grant and A. Rawlins, Official Records of the War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, vol. 17, part 2, Government Printing Office, 1880: 424. Grant issued the order in response to an emergent black market trade involving cotton production in the Confederacy. The practice was widespread, yet Jewish Americans did not constitute the majority of illegal traders. The act drew immediate fire from Jewish Americans, who rightfully viewed it as an anti-Semitic declaration of disloyalty. It was never put into practice; Jewish leaders organized protests across the Union, and Grant revoked the order on January 6, 1863.
4. In Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), Matthew Frye Jacobson examines the social construction of whiteness vis-à-vis immigration policy. Focused on what he terms “probationary” groups, Jacobson maps how particular groups were afforded whiteness via law and culture at distinct moments in American history.
5. Known before and after the Civil War as a staunch civil rights advocate, Sumner is best remembered for his antebellum role in a North/South conflict. Specifically, Sumner had (true to form) delivered a fiery abolitionist speech on May 22, 1856, provoking South Carolinian congressman Preston Brooks to deliver a caning to the Massachusetts Republican the same day. In the postbellum period, Sumner continued to advocate for “no discrimination on account of color.”
6. See Charles Sumner, The Works of Charles Sumner, vol. 13 (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1880). In remarks delivered to the Senate on July 2 and July 4, 1870, Sumner mentions a bill intended “to amend the Naturalization Laws and to punish crimes against the same” (474). Central to the legislative proposition was the seemingly unstoppable nature of New York’s Tammany Hall. Under the tutelage of Democrat William “Boss” Tweed, the political machine was notorious for its strategic use of immigrants, whom it deployed en masse at the polls. Correspondingly, the would-be amendment was intended on one level to prevent “election frauds perpetrated through the instrumentality of unnaturalized or illegally naturalized aliens” (474).
7. See ibid., 481.
8. The issue of Chinese citizenship contrasted with African American selfhood would reemerge in Plessy v. Ferguson, the now infamous case that established the constitutionality of Jim Crow “separate but equal” law. Justice John Marshall Harlan issued the dissenting opinion in the case, and noted that the Chinese were afforded a citizenship unavailable to African Americans.
9. Briefly, the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery; the Fourteenth Amendment confirmed constitutional rights, equal protection, and due process for all citizens; and, the Fifteenth Amendment provided suffrage for African American men.
10. See Thomas Jefferson, “Declaration of Independence,” http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/jefferson/jeffdec.html.
11. See Sumner, Works, 13: 482.
13. Women were at last given the right to vote on August 18, 1920, with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.
14. See Sumner, Works, 13: 482–483. As historian Moon-Ho Jung argues, the 1870 naturalization law authorized whiteness for working-class European immigrants while denying—precisely through noninclusion—access for Chinese immigrants. In Coolies and Cane: Race, Labor, and Sugar in the Age of Emancipation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), Jung examines the making of race through class struggle and formation during the era of Reconstruction.
16. This is not to suggest that African Americans had full access to equal protection and due process. As would become clear, the rise of Jim Crow law along with the dissolution of Reconstruction would perpetuate asymmetrical power relationships and inequities for the next century. Symbolically, such inequities would be legally dismantled with the 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.
17. Lopez, White by Law.
19. Significantly, the 1875 Page Act was the first restrictive immigration law enacted. It was not geared specifically to Chinese women; instead, undesirables included contract labor from China, Japan, or Korea; alleged prostitutes; and convicts. The passage of such a law reflected a shift in immigration jurisdiction. In 1875, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the primacy of the federal government in the making of immigration policy, a verdict that necessarily foregrounds the congressional passage of the Page Act.
20. Sucheng Chan, Asian Americans: An Interpretative History (Ann Arbor: Twayne, 1991).
21. Susan Koshy, Sexual Naturalization: Asian Americans and Miscegenation (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), 8.
22. Asian exclusion was not limited to the Chinese. For example, the 1907 Gentleman’s Agreement concerned Japanese immigrants; it was an agreement orchestrated between the Japanese and U.S. governments by which the Japanese would not issue visas or passports to Japanese laborers intent on emigrating to the United States. Korean emigrants, considered Japanese subjects after 1905, were also excluded from immigration access to the United States.
23. The Independent was first published in 1848. “In the Land of the Free” was originally published in Independent 67 (September 2, 1909): 504–508. Interestingly, The Independent also published work by well-known Sinophobic writer Jack London.
24. Edith Maude Eaton, Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings, ed. Amy Ling and Annette White-Parks (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995). Mrs. Spring Fragrance was originally published in 1912.
25. Amy Ling, “Edith Maude Eaton (Sui Sin Far) 1865–1914,” in The Heath Anthology of American Literature: Late Nineteenth Century: 1865–1910, ed. Paul Lauter. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004: 494.
26. I want to thank Jerry Phillips and Mary Gallucci for their reading of race and gender in the chapter. The frame of householding used in the chapter emerges from a discussion about nineteenth-century empire and domesticity.
27. See The Independent 68 (March 10, 1910): 518–523.
28. Koshy, Sexual Naturalization.
29. In turn, it is through a domestic plot that Eaton naturalizes “the Chinese husband.” Liu Kanghi’s naturalization through romantic frames is matched by a geographic naturalization of Chinatown as familiar space. Indeed, Chinatown remains unnamed in “The Story of One White Woman Who Married a Chinese,” and the only geographic clue is found in a letter sent by her first husband to her new home on “204 Buchanan Street” (74).
30. Mark Twain, Roughing It, vol. 1 (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1871), 105. Mark Twain is, of course, the pen name for Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
32. The federal immigration reform of 1907 reflected, in its expansion of exclusion, increasing anxiety over multiple types of immigrant bodies, taxing individual immigrants $5 per head and denying entry to “imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, unaccompanied children under 17 years of age, and persons who are found to be and are certified by the examination surgeon as being mentally or physically defective, such mental and physical defect being of a nature which may affect the ability of such aliens to earn a living.” See William Dillingham, Abstracts of Reports of the Immigration Commission: With Conclusions and Recommendations and Views of the Minority (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1911), 9.
33. Donald Weber, Haunted in the New World: Jewish American Culture from Cahan to The Goldbergs (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005).
34. Robert M. Dowling, Slumming in New York: From the Waterfront to Mythic Harlem (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2007), 131. Dowling refers to Yekl as a novelistic treatment. However, given its relatively short length (89 pages), I place it within the genre of the novella.
35. Henry James, The American Scene (New York, Harper and Brothers, 1907).
36. The chapters in Yekl are as follows: “Jake and Yekl” (Chapter 1); “The New York Ghetto” (Chapter 2); “In the Grip of His Past” (Chapter 3); “The Meeting” (Chapter 4); “A Paterfamilias” (Chapter 5); “Circumstances Alter Cases” (Chapter 6); “Mrs. Kavarsky’s Coup d’Etat” (Chapter 7); “A Housteop Idyl” (Chapter 8); “The Parting” (Chapter 9); “A Defeated Victor” (Chapter 10).
37. Abraham Cahan, Yekl and the Imported Bridegroom and Other Stories of the New York Ghetto (Mineola, N.Y.: Dover, 1970), 9.
38. Robert G. Lee, Orientals: Asian Americans in Popular Culture (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999)
39. Karen Renner’s work on nineteenth-century antebellum novels provocatively engages caveat emptor frames in the making of U.S. citizenship.
40. Cahan, Yekl and the Imported Bridegroom, 372.
2 / Interrupted Allegiances
The first epigraph is from an anonymous review entitled “New Zangwill Play Cheap and Tawdry.” Joe Kraus uses the same review in “How The Melting Pot Stirred America: The Reception of Zangwill’s Play and Theater’s Role in the American Assimilation Experience,” MELUS, 24:3 (Fall 1999) 3–19, though he focuses his analytical attention on assimilation and not state-authorized naturalization. The second quotation is from a New York Times review by Idwal Jones, “Chinatown Patriarch,” May 19, 1957, BR17.
1. William McKinley, “December 21, 1898 Address,” The Statutes at Large of the United States of American from 1897 and March 1899 . . . vol. 30 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1899). 1396.
2. See Amy Kaplan’s The Anarchy of Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005), Allan Isaac’s American Tropics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006), and Victor Bascara’s Model-Minority Imperialism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006).
3. Priscilla Wald, “Naturalization,” in Keywords for American Cultural Studies, Bruce Brugett and Glen Hendler, eds (New York: New York University Press, 2008), 174.
4. Jules Chamtezky, “Beyond Melting Pots, Cultural Pluralism, Ethnicity: Or Déjà Vu All over Again.” MELUS 16.4 (Winter 1989–90): 3–17.
5. Elaine Kim, Asian American Literature: An Introduction to the Writings and Their Social Context (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982), 106.
6. There is very little critical writing about the novel. Elaine Kim, Christina Klein, and Robert G. Lee briefly mention it, and Kim’s treatment is by far the most extensive. Two recently published literary encyclopedias—Dictionary of Literary Biography: Asian American Writers (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomas Gale, 2005) and The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2005)—make no mention of C. Y. Lee. Most attention has been paid to the stage adaptation of the novel.
7. See Official Catalogue and Guide Book to the Pan-American Exposition (Buffalo, N.Y.: Charles Ahrhart, 1901).
8. Theodore Roosevelt, “Proclamation 465—Announcing the Death of William McKinley, September 14, 1901.” John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency Project (Santa Barbara), http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=69370.
9. Joseph Buklin Bishop, Theodore Roosevelt and His Time Shown in His Own Letters  (Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger Publishing, 2008), 473–474. Roosevelt wrote this letter days before his death on January 6, 1919.
10. See Gary Gerstle’s American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002) and Mai Ngai’s Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004). Both Gerstle and Ngai compellingly link nationalistic and imperialistic discourses over the course of the twentieth century.
11. Hermann Hagedorn, ed., The Theodore Roosevelt Treasury: A Self-Portrait from His Writings (New York: Putnam, 1957), 325.
12. See Maurice Wohlgelenter, Israel Zangwill: A Study (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964). Neil Larry Shumksy, in “Zangwill’s The Melting Pot: Ethnic Tension on Stage,” American Quarterly 27.1 (March 1975), 29–41, and Joe Kraus, in “How The Melting Pot Stirred America,” also explore Roosevelt’s enthusiastic response vis-à-vis contemporary domestic ethno-racial politics.
13. Israel Zangwill, The Melting-Pot (New York: Macmillan, 1909).
14. “New Zangwill Play Cheap and Tawdry.”
15. J. Hector St. John Crevecoeur, “Letter III,” in Letters from an American Farmer, reprinted from the original ed., with a prefatory note by W. P. Trent and an introduction by Ludwig Lewisohn (New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904), 54–55.
16. Wohlgelenter, Israel Zangwill, 176.
17. Zangwill, The Melting-Pot, 151.
18. See INS home page, December 15, 2001, http://www.ins.usdoj.gove/text.aboutins/statistics/LegisHist/553.htm.
19. See M. M. Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982).
20. Wohlgelenter, Israel Zangwill, ix.
21. As is evident in correspondence between Mary Antin and Israel Zangwill, the two authors shared a trans-Atlantic connection. Indeed, Zangwill would provide editorial advice to Antin and wrote an early review of her work. See Evelyn Salz, ed., Selected Letters of Mary Antin (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2000).
22. Kraus, “How The Melting Pot Stirred America.”
23. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. and extended ed. (London: Verso, 1993), 81.
24. Kraus, “How The Melting Pot Stirred America,” 3–4.
25. Mai Nagai, “From Colonial Subject to Undesirable Alien: Filipino Migration, Exclusion, and Repatriation, 1920–1940,” in Re/collecting Early Asian America, Josephine Lee and Matsukawa Lim, eds. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002), 112–113.
26. Dean Acheson, “Speech on the Far East,” January 12, 1950, http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1612.
27. Pat McCarran, Congressional Record, March 2, 1953, 1518.
28. Chin Y. Lee, The Flower Drum Song  (New York: Penguin Books, 2002), 3.
29. In the novel version, “Mei-Li” is spelled “May Li.” For the consistency, I have elected to use the former spelling.
30. In a 2004 interview with Andrew Shin, Chin Y. Lee (1917—) reflected on his most famous literary production. Lee, a first-generation Chinese American who emigrated from China during the 1940s to attend university, revealed his intent with regard to The Flower Drum Song. He maintained, “You know, this is an immigrant country. People are here from all over the world. I think Americans are naturally very curious about foreign culture. But you have to present foreign culture in many ways. Academically, which means that when students attend university, they should be reading books about foreign culture. But you have to present it another way, in a very interesting way, on the stage, in novels, in movies. So if you have an interesting story and you write a stage play or novel, or produce a film, you almost open a window for Americans to peek in and you get their interest and they will enjoy it. This is how you present foreign culture—not in an academic way, but in an entertaining way”; Andrew Shin, “Forty Percent Is Luck: An Interview with C. Y. Lee,” MELUS 29 (Summer 2004): 95.
31. Master Wang has “two servants and a cook whom he had brought from Hunan Province” and “the only ‘impure’ elements in his household [according to the omniscient narrator] were his two sons, Wang Ta and Wang San, especially the latter, who had in four years learned to act like a cowboy and talk like the characters in a Spillane movie. At thirteen he had practically forgotten his Chinese” (Flower Drum Song, 4).
32. Robert G. Lee, Orientals (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997), 175.
33. Frank Chin, Jeffery Paul Chan, Lawson Fusao Inada, and Shawn Wong, eds., Aiiieeeee!: An Anthology of Asian American Writers  (Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1983), x.
34. Robert G. Lee in Orientals takes this notion of menace further with regard to the Rodgers and Hammerstein version of The Flower Drum Song, maintaining that the musical’s heteronormative focus on family and the ability of Asian immigrants and Asian Americans to assimilate into the larger U.S. body politic as model minorities assuaged anxieties about the aforementioned “red menace,” the “yellow menace” (Asian immigrants), and the “white menace” (homosexuality).
3 / Utopian and Dystopian Citizenships
The epigraphs are from Mary Antin, They Who Knock at Our Gates (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1914), 27, and David Hollinger, Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism  (New York: Basic Books, 2000), 118–119.
1. On October 14, 1912, at a campaign stop in Milwaukee, Roosevelt was shot by saloon owner John Schrank.
3. Daniel J. Tichenor, Dividing Lines: The Politics of Immigration Control in America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 136–137.
4. Woodrow Wilson, A History of the American People (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1902).
5. Quoted in http://www.wilsoncenter.org/events/docs/immigration-essay-intro.pdf. From “Wilson Says Big Problems Face America: Governor Gives Address at Dinner of Friendly Sons of S. Patrick,” a news report of an after-dinner address in Elizabeth, New Jersey, March 18, 1912, in The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Arthur S. Link, ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), 24: 252.
6. Robert Constantine Jr., ed., Gentle Rebel: Letters of Eugene V. Debs (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995), xxxi.
7. Matthew Frye Jacobson, Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad (1876–1917) (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000), 86.
8. Mary Antin, From Plotzk to Boston (Boston: W. B. Clarke, 1899), 8.
9. Gish Jen is the pseudonym for Lillian G. Jen. In this chapter, I will be referring to Jen by her last name and by her pseudonym.
10. The move toward eugenics during the Progressive Era is clearly and compelling articulated in Asha Nadkarni’s “Eugenic Feminism: Asian Reproduction in the U.S. National Imaginary,” Novel 39.2 (Spring 2006): 221–244.
11. The Dillingham Commission consisted of the chair, Senator William P. Dillingham (Vermont), Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (Massachusetts), Senator Asbury Latimer (South Carolina, replaced in 1910 by Senator LeRoy Percy of Mississippi), and U.S. representatives Benjamin Howell, William S. Bennet, and John L. Burnett. Secretary of Labor Charles P. Neill, Jeremiah Jenks (professor, Cornell University), and William R. Wheeler of the California Commission of Immigration were also a part of this body. In 1912, Jenks left Cornell and was professor of economics at New York University.
12. Jeremiah W. Jenks and W. Jett Lauck, The Immigation Problem: A Study of American Immigration Conditions and Needs (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1922).
13. Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race: or, the Racial Basis of European History (New York: C. Scribner, 1916).
14. “Does the Pot Melt It? Can the Immigration into This Country Be Assimilated?—It Could Be Once, but Can It Now?” New York Times, February 11, 1912, BR61.
15. Such conditions coincide with analogous “literacy test” calls by the Immigration Restriction League.
16. “Does the Pot Melt It?”
17. Asha Nadkarni, “‘World-Menace’: National Reproduction and Public Health in Katherine Mayo’s Mother India,” American Quarterly 60.3 (September 2008): 805–827.
18. Mary Antin, The Promised Land (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1912).
19. Randolph Bourne, “Trans-National America,” Atlantic Monthly 118 (July 1916): 93.
20. Ibid. Responding to anti-German (and by extension anti-immigration) sentiment concomitant with the emergence of World War I on the global stage, Randolph Bourne published “Trans-National America” (1916). Bourne argued that the United States had yet to achieve its promise, immigrants were integral to achieving that promise, and pushed for a reading of U.S. citizenship through cosmopolitanism (creating citizens of the world) and dual citizenship.
21. Antin’s pro-immigrant activist moves within the literary imaginary of The Promised Land are circumscribed by genre. In other words, despite her metonymic role as a representative subject (that is, a singular immigrant who stands in for millions of immigrants), Antin must nonetheless restrict her narrative to individual experiences and recollections that in turn speak to her evolution from immigrant to American. Nevertheless, The Promised Land addresses the malleability of the immigrant subject through the bildungsroman, which in the memoir echoes the performative and affective dimensions of naturalization. The literary and thematic foci on citizenship are continued in Antin’s more overtly political They Who Knock at Our Gates, published in 1914. The pro-immigrant, pro-assimilationist stance apparent in a series of essays in They Who Knock at Our Gates can be read as a textual supplement to lectures she gave at the turn of the century. According to Werner Sollors (in the 1997 Penguin edition of The Promised Land), the topics of these lectures included “The Responsibility of American Citizenship,” “The Civic Education of the Immigrant,” “The Public School as a Test of American Faith,” “Jewish Life in the Pale: A Lesson for Americans,” and “The Zionist Movement” (xxxv). Antin, Promised Land, 358.
22. Evelyn Salz, ed., Selected Letters of Mary Antin (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2000), xvi.
23. Quoted in Thomas Cieslik, David Felsen, and Akis Kalaitzidis, eds., Immigration: A Documentary and Reference Guide (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2009), 77.
24. It is important to note that the 1921 Immigration Act, an emergency provision passed by Congress, established a quota system by which annual immigration from any country could not exceed 3 percent of the number of persons of that nationality who had been in the United States in 1910, and the law cut immigration from 800,000 to 300,000 in a single year. Passed three years later, the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act (or the National Origins Act), banned immigration from East Asia entirely and reduced the quota for Europeans from 3 to 2 percent. Because the quota system was based on the census of 1890, when there were far fewer southern and eastern Europeans in the United State, immigration flow was cut almost in half, to 164,000 a year.
26. From Lyndon B. Johnson, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966), 1037–1040, quoted in “Three Decades of Mass Immigration.”
27. “Three Decades of Mass Immigration.”
30. Gwendolyn Mink, Whose Welfare? (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999), 109.
31. Quoted in Roger Daniels, Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life, 2nd edition (New York: Harper Perennial, 2002), 340.
33. Pyong Gap Min, ed., “Asian Immigration: History and Contemporary Trends,” in Asian Americans: Contemporary Trends and Issues, 2nd edition. (Thousand Oaks, Cal.: Pine Forge Press, 2006), 26.
34. C. N. Le, “The 1965 Immigration Act.” In Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America, May 21, 2009, http://www.asian-nation.org/1965–immigration-act.shtml.
35. “Three Decades of Mass Immigration.”
36. The story that serves as the basis for the novel Mona in the Promised Land is entitled “What Means Switch?”, which appeared in the May 1990 issue of Atlantic Monthly, 76–80.
37. Gish Jen, Typical American (New York: Plume, 1992), 3.
38. Rachel Lee, “Gish Jen and the Gendered Codes of Americanness.” The Americas of Asian American Literature: Gendered Fictions of Nation and Transnation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999).
39. Gish Jen, Mona in the Promised Land (New York: Vintage, 1997), 3.
40. In Jen’s first novel, Typical American, the reader is given the background for both Ralph and Helen’s names; more specifically, Ralph, who immigrates to the United States to pursue a graduate degree in engineering, is told by the administrative assistant in the department office that he needs “an English name.” Though he arrives as Yifeng Chang, he is renamed “Ralph” by the administrative assistant. In the case of Helen, her name is chosen by Ralph’s older sister Theresa, because it both resembles her Chinese name Hailan, and is reminiscent of Helen of Troy.
41. The contestation over civil rights and representation was further apparent at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. American track and field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos had attempted to organize black athletes around a civil rights–oriented boycott against the United States. Failing to do so, the two athletes competed and won the gold and bronze medals in the 200 meters track and field event. As the U.S. national anthem played, Smith and Carlos accepted their medals in bare feet, wore beads, and held black-gloved firsts in the air to bring attention to poverty in African American communities, honor victims of slavery and racism, and perform the Black Power salute, respectively. Their actions were met with intense outrage, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) forced the U.S. Olympic Committee to withdraw the two athletes from other events. Additionally, Smith and Carlos were expelled from the Olympic team and the summer games.
42. The use of the term “symbolic ethnicity” within this frame diverges from Herbert Gans’s application. Gans attributes such moments to third- and fourth-generation immigrant subjectivities, and I am using the term in relation to a first-generation characterization.
43. Anita Mannur, Culinary Fictions: Food in South Asian Diasporic Culture (Philadephila: Temple University Press, 2009).
44. Begona Simal Gonzalez, “The (Re)Birth of Mona Changowitz: Rituals and Ceremonies of Cultural Conversion and Self-Making in Mona in the Promised Land,” MELUS 26.2 (Summer 2001): 225.
45. Jen’s use of Jewish and Chinese identities in Mona in the Promised Land manifests in character histories and settings, which places the Chinese American Chang family in a predominantly Jewish American neighborhood; this sets the stage for Mona’s voluntary ethno-religious shift. Andrew Furman observes, “Mona could have chosen a number of minority cultures through which to forge her own unique American identity. The pervasiveness of Jewish culture in Scarshill and its attractiveness to her convince Mona to appropriate Judaism.” Mona views Jewish identity as one that is both readily accessible and, at the same time, emblematic of an immigrant American identity. Throughout the course of the novel, Mona constantly discusses the ways in which “Jewish is American,” and “American is Jewish.” The connection Mona makes between Jewish and American identities is ironic, however, given previously mentioned discourses about the Jewish subject as inassimilable and un-American. See Andrew Furman, “Immigrant Dreams and Civic Promises: (Con-)Testing Identity in Early Jewish American Literature and Gish Jen’s Mona in the Promised Land,” MELUS 25 (Spring 2000): 212.
46. James Yin and Shin Young, The Rape of Nanking (Chicago: Innovative Publishing Group, 1996).
47. See Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1980s (New York: Routledge, 1986).
48. Similarly, Fernando—a Latino cook who works in the Chang restaurant—is also prohibited from full access to the nation. Alfred is accused of stealing a silver flask from the Gugelstein home. In fact, as Jonathan Freedman notes, Fernando actually steals the flask. According to Freedman, “Fernando’s crime clears Alfred, but it’s not necessarily clear that the racial problematics are resolved in a more enlightened way as a result” (Klezmer America, 299).
4 / Reading and Writing America
1. Envisioned in 1876 by French abolitionist, writer, and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye as an enduring symbol of French/U.S. revolutionary kinship, the Statue of Liberty honors one hundred years of U.S. nationhood (emblematized by the Declaration of Independence). After a decade of planning, site visits, and labor negotiations, French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s statue eventually found her way to Liberty Island (formerly Bedloe’s Island) in New York Harbor. Officially “Liberty Enlightening the World,” the soon-to-be immigrant icon arrived in 217 crates in 350 pieces. Over a span of four months, the 151–foot “mother of exiles” was reassembled atop an American-built star-shaped pedestal. See “The Statue of Liberty: A New York Attraction,” http://www.newyorkjourney.com/statue_of_liberty.htm.
During the first year of Reagan’s administration, the French-American Committee for the Restoration of the Statue of Liberty was established in conjunction with the National Parks Service. By 1984, the restoration began in earnest, following an $86 million fundraising effort. For the next two years, the statue was shrouded in scaffolding as American and French crews rushed to replace 1,350 iron spikes, refurbish the torch, and strip seven layers of paint in time for the centennial anniversary.
A four-day event, “Liberty Weekend” began on July 3 with Reagan’s address and concluded on July 6 with an all-out music review (complete with 200 Elvis Presley impersonators) in New Jersey’s Giants Stadium. The Fourth of July would feature Independence Day firework splendor, though July 5 took a more somber and contemplative tone, reflected in the planned scholarly summit on the meaning of liberty and the Central Park performance by the New York Philharmonic. See Richard Stengel, “The Party of the Century.” Time, July 7, 1986, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,961667,00.html.
2. Stengel, “The Party of the Century.”
3. See U.S. Census Bureau, “New York City,” http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/3651000.html.
4. Sam Roberts, “New York City Census Profile Shows Stark Changes in Decade,” New York Times, June 22, 1993, http://www.nytimes.com/1993/06/22/nyregion/new-york-city-census-profile-shows-stark-changes-in-decade.html?pagewanted=1.
5. See Census Bureau, “New York City.” Also see Fernanda Santos, “Mayor Orders New York to Expand Language Help,” New York Times, July 23, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/23/nyregion/23translate.html.
6. Quoted in Lavina Dhingra Shankar and Rajini Srikanth, eds., A Part, Yet Apart: South Asians in Asian America (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998), 59.
7. Alan E. Eliason, “One Illegal Alien Every 35 Seconds,” New York Times (Letters), April 29, 1986, A26.
8. Robert Lindsey, “As Flow of Illegal Aliens Grows, Complaints Mount in the West,” New York Times, April 21, 1986, 24.
11. Robert Pear, “President Signs Landmark Bill on Immigration: Law Offers Legal Status to Many Illegal Aliens,” New York Times, November 7, 1986. A12.
12. Despite its successful passage, the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli Act would, in retrospect, be deemed a failure largely because it did little to stem the flow of undocumented bodies into the United States. Critiqued in particular for its amnesty provisions, the IRCA faced a lack of funding at the level of enforcement and administration. More significant, though a legislative “consensus” had been reached, members of Congress maintained in hindsight that “the fundamental problem is that the nation has reached no consensus on immigration.” In a revealing 1994 statement, IRCA architect Alan Simpson avowed, “Every time one of us starts talking about more effective immigration controls, somebody else throws up the Statue of Liberty, how we’re a nation of immigrants and all of that. . . . The debate takes on tinges of racism, emotion.” See Joel Brinkley, “Two in Congress Who Fought to Improve Immigration Policy,” New York Times, September 15, 1993, http://www.nytimes.com/1994/09/15/us/two-in-congress-who-fought-to-improve-immigration-policy.html.
13. Bharati Mukherjee, Jasmine (New York: Ballantine, 1989), 124.
14. Eva Hoffman, Lost in Translation (New York: Penguin, 1989), 89 and 198.
15. Pear, “President Signs Landmark Bill on Immigration.”
16. Michael Gorra, “Call it Exile, Call it Immigration,” review, New York Times, September 10, 1989, http://www.nytimes.com/1989/09/10/books/call-it-exile-call-it-immigration.html.. Jasmine is an expanded novelistic treatment of the title short story character in the author’s previous collection, The Middleman and Other Stories
17. See front matter for Jasmine.
19. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism,” in Critical Inquiry, Special Issue: “Race,” Writing, and Difference, ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 12.1 (Autumn 1985): 243–261. The focus of Spivak’s original criticism is on Mukherjee’s pre-Jasmine work. Also, see Ajiz Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures (London: Verso, 1994).
20. The opening epigraph reads: “The new geometry mirrors a universe that is rough, not rounded, scabrous, not smooth. It is a geometry of the pitted, pocked, and broken up, the twisted, tangled, and intertwined.”
21. Patricia Chu, Assimilating Aliens: Gendered Strategies of Authorship in Asian America (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000).
22. Koshy, Sexual Naturalization, 25.
23. Ibid., 135.
23. Ibid., 136.
24. The move toward an official U.S. language began even before the birth of the nation. In 1757, Benjamin Franklin, responding to the number of German-speaking Pennsylvanians in his colony, proposed one of the first English-only initiatives at the level of the colonial legislature.
25. James Crawford, “What’s Behind Official English?” in Language Loyalties: A Sourcebook on the Official English Controversy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 172. Also see “U.S. English” at http://us-english.org.
26. Quoted in Crawford, “What’s Behind Official English?” 172. Also see Southern Poverty Law Center, “Memo to WITAN IV Attendees from John Tanton,” http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?sid=125. The referendum did pass, despite the controversy, though the Arizona State Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional in 1998. Several states have passed “official English” or “English only” initiatives, though this has yet to be done at the federal level.
27. Juan Batista Alberdi, Obras Completas (Buenos Aires: La Tribuna Nacional Bolivar 38, 1887), 197.
29. Hoffman, Lost in Translation, 79.
30. Hoffman notes that until 1957, there was a “ban on emigration, under which most of the Polish population lives,” which was then “lifted for Jews. Anyone who is Jewish can now automatically get permission to leave for Israel—and everyone who is Jewish is confronted with this decision” (ibid., 83).
31. See “Display Ad 297,” New York Times, October 1, 1989, BR10.
32. Giving out the Medal of Liberty awards was naturalized citizen and ABC News correspondent Ted Koppel. Gray was the first female president of the University of Chicago.
33. Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 along with North Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho. Tho returned the prize to the Nobel Committee. He maintained that a lasting peace had not been negotiated in the region, which rendered the recognition meaningless.
34. Ronald Reagan, “Remarks at the Opening Ceremonies of the Statue of Liberty Centennial Celebration in New York, New York,” 3 July 1986, http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1986/70386d.htm.
35. Irving Berlin’s compositions served as the basis for the Broadway musical This Is the Army, which was adapted to film in 1938 and featured the actor Ronald Reagan. Following the Medal of Liberty presentation were performances by Neil Diamond and Frank Sinatra, who, respectively, sang “America” and “The House I Live In.”
36. Stengel, “The Party of the Century.”
37. Ronald Reagan, “Remarks at a Meeting with Asian and Pacific-American Leaders,” February 23, 1984, http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1984/22384a.htm.
38. Quoted in Godfrey Mwakikagile, Black Conservatives in the United States (Pretoria: New Africa Press, 2006), 66. The original source for the Reagan quote emerges from MSNBC commentator Joe Davidson’s June 7, 2004 op-ed entitled, “Reagan: A Contrary View,” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5158315/.
39. I want to acknowledge Chris Vials, who informally made this observation about a revised narrative vis-à-vis cold war politics.
40. David S. Wyman’s The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941–1945 (New York: New Press, 1998) makes clear the extent to which U.S. immigration policy effectively barred Jewish refugees from entering the United States. Additionally and alternatively, the first day’s concluding event—a televised naturalization ceremony held at Ellis Island—saliently speaks to a disconnect between the imagined and real vis-à-vis present-day immigration policy and debate.
41. The first day of Liberty Weekend concluded with televised naturalization ceremony held at Ellis Island involving 12,000 first-generation immigrants. These would-be citizens, with Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Berger presiding, uttered the oath that would “remake them” into Americans. The following day, the Statue of Liberty celebration took a more traditional Independence Day format, complete with fireworks, a parade of U.S. Navy ships, and a performance by the John Williams-led Boston Pops.
5 / Demarcating the Nation
The first epigraph is from “America’s New War: Dinh Discusses Ashcroft’s Policies; McBride, Murphy Debate Their Constitutionality; Rangel Grassley Discuss Economic Stimulus.” Kate Snow (host); Viet Dinh (guest), http://www.transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0112/08/se.03.html. The second epigraph is from “Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to the Heyman Fellows at Yale University on ‘Confronting the Threats to Our Homeland,’” April 7, 2008, http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/speeches/sp_1208280290851.shtm.
1. George W. Bush, “Statement on the Helicopter Crash in Vietnam,” Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: 2001. Book 1. April 7, 2001, 379.
2. In 1985, during the Reagan administration, relations between Vietnam and the United States improved, enabling such recovery missions. Thomas Hawley focuses his attention on the movement, the politics, and the psychological dimensions of such recovery missions in The Remains of War: Bodies, Politics, and the Search for American Soldiers Unaccounted for in Southeast Asia (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005).
3. The U.S. plane, an EP-3E Aries II spy aircraft, was flying over international airspace when it collided with a Chinese F-8 fighter. Another Chinese fighter was deployed to intercept the U.S. aircraft. Though the Chinese government demanded an immediate public apology, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell initially rebuffed such calls. The final U.S. apology, though accepted by the Chinese government, was viewed by some as a conciliatory move and by others as a partial apology for the collision but not for the spy mission. See Brian Knowlton, “An American Apology over Downed Fighter Is Rejected by Cheney: Powell Sees Damage to U.S.-China Relations.” New York Times, April 9, 2001.
4. Dena Bunis and Anh Do, “Ex-refugee Is Nominated for Justice Post: A Fullerton High Grad Gets Praise at His Senate Confirmation Hearing,” Orange County Register, May 10, 2001.
7. David Brand, “Education: The New Whiz Kids,” Time, August 31, 1987, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,965326,00.html.
8. The connection between Asian American students and Jewish American experiences is made clear in a quote from NYU math professor Sylvain Cappell, who claimed that both groups “feel an obligation to excel intellectually.” See ibid.
9. See “Viet D. Dinh.”
10. Viet Dinh, “Coming to Grips with Vietnam,” Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2000.
12. Myron Magnet, “What Is Compassionate Conservatism?” Wall Street Journal, February 5, 1999.
13. On December 10, 2000, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5–4 decision in favor of George W. Bush.
14. See “At Home on the War on Terror: Viet Dinh Has Gone from Academe to a Key behind the Scenes Role,” Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2002.
15. See “Ex-refugee Is Nominated.” Other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee included Republican senators Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania), Jon Kyle (Arizona), Mike DeWine (Ohio), Jeff Sessions (Alabama), Sam Brownback (Kansas), Mitch McConnell (Kentucky), and the chair, Orrin Hatch (Utah). Democratic senators on the committee included Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Edward Kennedy (Massachusetts), Joseph Biden (Delaware), Herbert Kohl (Wisconsin), Dianne Feinstein (California), Russell Feingold (Wisconsin), Charles Schumer (New York), Richard Durbin (Illinois), and Maria Cantwell (Washington).
16. See “Scenes from the Late 60s,” Time, February 10, 1975. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,912797,00.html.
17. See U.S. Congressional Record, “Confirmation Hearing on the Nominations of Michael Chertoff and Viet D. Dinh to be Assistant Attorneys General,” May 24, 2001.
19. See “Ex-Refugee Is Nominated.”
20. See “At Home on the War on Terror.”
21. See U.S. Congressional Record, “Confirmation Hearing on the Nominations of Michael Chertoff and Viet D. Dinh.”
22. See Angie C. Marek, “A New Sherrif in Town,” U.S. News & World Report, July 10, 2005.
23. Though seemingly coincidental, the confirmation of both Viet Dinh and Michael Chertoff would in hindsight prove significant at the year’s close, when U.S. foreign policy and immigration law would be emerge as two significant fronts in the Bush administration’s War on Terror.
24. Conservative reactionary blogs, such as Rense.com, Paleoconservativeprimer.com, and Americanfreepress.net, all reported on the alleged “dual citizenship problem.” The Americanfreepress.net is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a domestic hate group. Many other hate group sites claimed that Chertoff was part of a global Zionist movement.
25. According to Israeli law, children of Israeli citizens are eligible for Israeli citizenship. However, those desiring Israeli citizenship must apply for such a status. The discourse around Chertoff’s citizenship is reminiscent of the more recent anti-Barack Obama, ultraconservative, “birther” movement. Those in the movement claim that the Obama presidency is invalid because the president is a naturalized and not natural-born citizen of the United States. Integral to the movement is the question of Obama’s birth certificate. Though the Obama campaign released an electronic version of the certificate, those against the president claim that this is a fabrication.
26. John Okada, “Preface,” No No Boy  (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1979), viii.
28. “Person of the Week: Vicente Fox.” September 7, 2001, http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,174018,00.html.
29. “Joint Statement between the United States of America and the United Mexican States,” September 6, 2001. White House press release, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/declaration-government-united-states-america-and-government-united-mexican-states-c.
30. Michelle Malkin, a Filipino American, is a prominent Fox News commentator. For information about Malkin and In Defense of Internment, see http://web.archive.org/web/20060206033611/http://michellemalkin.com/aboutidoi.htm.
32. The executive director of the Japanese American Citizens League, John Tateishi, released a statement on August 24, 2004, stating, “Michelle Malkin’s book In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror is a desperate attempt to impugn the loyalty of Japanese Americans during World War II to justify harsher governmental policies today in the treatment of Arab and Muslim Americans.” Japanese/American and Japanese/Canadian historian Greg Robinson, in a September 6, 2004, online op-ed that appeared in History News Network (hosted by George Mason University) similarly critiqued the book’s less-than-accurate claims. See http://hnn.us/articles/7092.html.
33. Interestingly, in 1943, Chinese, Filipino, and South Asian immigrants were granted access to U.S. naturalized citizenship at the same time that Japanese/Japanese Americans were interned, illustrating their probationary whiteness in the face of crisis. This “opening up” of naturalization coincided with the 1943 Leave Clearance application, which is discussed in the epilogue.
34. Most recently, at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Viet Dinh publicly stated his concern that the Barack Obama administration was “killing too many terrorists.” At a CPAC national security panel, Dinh stressed the need to have an “effective detention policy . . . if we don’t detain them, we don’t know what they know and what they are up to.” See Sam Stein, “Bush Official Criticizes Obama for Killing Too Many Terrorists,” Huffington Post, February 19, 2010, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.
36. “At Home on the War on Terror.”
38. Meant “to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement tools, and . . . other purposes,” the PATRIOT Act redefined—and rigorously demarcated—what was considered “terrorist activity” to include any act “dangerous to human life” which “appears . . . to intimidate or coerce a civilian population” or “influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.” This paradoxical delineation, couched in vague language, was intentionally open-ended. Applicable to violent and peaceable protest, pertinent to controlling uncivil and civil disobedience, the PATRIOT Act engendered the increased use of wire taps, the seizure of library records, secret searches, and wide-reaching electronic communication surveillance. Additionally, Dinh and Chertoff’s “patriotic act” conveniently expanded the scope of the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Justice. The judicial arm of the U.S. government (integral to the act’s enforcement) was given sole authority to determine what constituted “terrorist” activity in the neoconservative service of national, “homeland” security. Though many of the act’s original provisions were set to expire in December 2005, a consideration of some of its more salient points makes visible linkages between U.S. foreign policy abroad and denaturalized logics.
41. The punishment of deportation was also expressed in the 1988 immigration laws, which also carried the provision about “aggravated felonies.” Nonetheless, the 1988 laws limited the definition of “aggravated felonies” to serious crimes (murder, grand larceny, drug trafficking, and assault with intent).
43. See The Asian American Encyclopedia, volume 5, edited by Franklin Ng (Tarrytown, N.Y.: Marshall Cavendish, 1995). Asked of first-generation Japanese and second-generation Japanese Americans, the two questions force the naturalization of the former and the renaturalization of the latter (despite having U.S. citizenship). Those who answered “no” to both questions were deemed traitors to the U.S. nation-state and imprisoned.
44. See Mark Agrast, “Remembering Fred Korematsu (1919–2005).” Center for American Progress, April 1, 2005, http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2005/05/b489061.html.
47. Suheir Hammad, “First Writing Since,” Progressive South Asian Exchange Net, September 2001, http://www.proxsa.org/resources/9–11/Hammad-0109xx-FirstWritingSince.htm.
1. Joel Stein, “My Own Private India,” Time, July 5, 2010, http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,9916,1999416,00.html.
2. Loosely based on Henry IV (Part I and II) and Henry V, Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho features performances by River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves, who play Mike and Scott, respectively. Within an imaginary of abandonment and sexual commodification, the film follows Mike’s search for his mother.
3. The exact language for SB 1070 commences as follows: “Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of Arizona: The legislature finds that there is a compelling interest in the cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws throughout all of Arizona. The legislature declares that the intent of this act is to make attrition throughout enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona. The provisions of this act are intended to work together to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States.” See “SB 1070,” http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s/pdf. As a contemporaneous New York Times article summarized, SB 1070—also known as the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act”—would, by means of required documentation, “identify, prosecute, and deport illegal immigrants.” See Randal C. Archibald, “Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration,” New York Times, April 23, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/24/us/politics/24immig.html?_r=1.
4. Multiple South Asian American academics, activists, actors, and bloggers criticized “My Own Private India” for its racist position and inaccurate demographic claims. For example, the blog “Bangla Nation” noted that the 2000 U.S. Census reported 59.5 percent of Edison’s population claimed to be “white,” while only 29.1 percent claimed to be Asian. See http://bangla-nation.blogspot.com/2010/06/open-letter-to-joel-stein.html. Critical reactions to Stein’s piece were not limited to the South Asian American community. Responses appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, Slate, CNN, PBS, and Vanity Fair. News of Stein’s article was also reported in South Asian papers and global media outlets.
5. According to Raymond Williams, “structures of feeling” refer to “meanings and values as they are actively lived and felt” and represent “characteristic elements of impulse, restraint, and tone; specifically affective elements of consciousness and relationships.” Such “structures” are composed of “specific internal relations, at once interlocking and in tension.” See Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature (London: Oxford University Press, 1978), 132.
7. George Lipsitz, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999).
8. The assumption of white personhood is constructed through Stein’s own collective characterization of himself and his friends. Further, notwithstanding Stein’s exaggerated claim of a substantial South Asian/South Asian American presence, the 2000 U.S. census still places whites in the majority.
9. Deborah Misir, “The Murder of Navroze Mody: Race, Violence, and the Search for Order,” Contemporary Asian America: A Multidisciplinary Reader, ed. Min Zhou and James V. Gatewood, 501–517 (New York: New York University Press, 2000).
10. Fellow New Jerseyan Kal Penn (an Indian American actor) responded directly to Stein’s “My Own Private India,” writing about his own experiences “growing up a few miles from Edison, N.J.” Revising Stein’s tone to pointed effect, Penn writes, “I always thought it was hilarious when I’d get the crap kicked out of me by kids like Stein who would yell, ‘go back to India, dothead!’ I was always ROTFLAMAO when people would assume I wasn’t American.” See Kal Penn, “The ‘Hilarious’ Xenophobia of Time’s Joel Stein,” Huffington Post, July 2, 2010, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kal-penn/the-hilarious-xenophobia_b_634264.html.
11. Sandip Roy, “Joel Stein and the Curry Problem,” Huffington Post, July 1, 2010, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sandip-roy/joel-stein-and-the-curry.