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Pluralistic Realities and Tenuous Paradigms: Critical Examinations of Race and "Normativity" in Japanese/American Multiethnic and Multiracial History

  • Author(s): Ong, James Man
  • Advisor(s): Hirabayashi, Lane R.
  • et al.
Abstract

In both the US and Japan in recent decades, multiethnicity has become an increasingly significant phenomenon for Japanese/Americans. Though relative minorities in the past, mixed individuals have become an emerging demographic as successive generations of individuals of Japanese and non-Japanese ancestry have transgressed social barriers, ethnic racial boundaries and national divides, blending diverse ancestries and cultures into unique syntheses. While individuals may be independently optimistic about this burgeoning diversity, others have resisted, at times violently. Multiethnic and multiracial Japanese/Americans have historically faced prejudice and discrimination on the basis of their fraught racial positionality. Despite improvements, this thesis argues that racial violence continues to tacitly resonate in the present, thus refuting the notion that the US has become a "post racial society." This project analyzes past and contemporary systems in both the US and Japan in order to identify and critically analyze structures of racial power which circumscribe mixed experiences.

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