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Response or Comment

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KCET-TV's Link Voices Blog


The immigration and citizenship laws that prevail in the 21st century United States — as well as the enforcement of them — reflect Eurocentric racial hierarchies and help create and reproduce a white-majority nation.

While schoolchildren hold a basic understanding of how slavery and Jim Crow segregation produced persistent racial divides and inequality in U.S. history, they are far less familiar with the story of how the pervasive legal exclusion, marginalization, and persecution of Asian and Latin American immigrants (and birthright citizens with Asian or Latin American heritage) has played a key role in maintaining white dominance in the United States of America.

The black-white divide is the most polarized and historically most central racial divide in the U.S., yet other groups aside from African-Americans have also been racialized and represented as threats to the white majority. It is enlightening to compare the long legacy of racism against other groups, including the mid-20th century internment of Japanese- Americans, to the present moment of anti-immigrant backlash. The xenophobic backlash of the present has largely targeted immigrants from Latin America and south Asia as well as U.S.-born descendants of such immigrants.

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