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Whitewashed: America's Invisible Middle Eastern Minority (Critical America)

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0814783061
ISBN-10: 0814783066
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With a pastiche of personal experience, media analysis and legal theory, law professor Tehranian makes a case for "government recognition of Middle Eastern descent as a distinct racial category." He argues that Middle Eastern whiteness is a "bizarre racial fiction," for citizens of Middle Eastern descent "do not enjoy the benefits of white privilege," but "are denied the fruits of remedial action." Tehranian traces the acquisition of whiteness by successive waves of immigrants (Irish, Italian, Greek, Slavs, Armenians) through litigation where "assimilatory behavior" or "white performance" provides entry. But Middle Easterners hit a bump in the road, amplified in post-9/11 America: "selective racialization"--the famous or successful are perceived as white, while the infamous "are racialized as Middle Eastern." Tehranian addresses the impact of the "war on terror" on the lives and liberties of Middle Eastern Americans as their "public image transitioned from (possibly white) assimilable ethnics to the quintessential Other." His proposals for reform range from the ameliorative ("reform media portrayals") to the legislative (outlaw racial profiling). Tehranian's book covers fresh legal and social territory; while occasionally repetitious, it is consistently informative and casts off the cloak of invisibility. (Dec.)
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Review

“This book is a compelling study of one of the critical issues of our time: the debate regarding issues of assimilation, immigration, and national identity. . .a well-written and extremely readable book suited to general readers as well as faculty and researchers.”
-CHOICE



“A learned, witty, and analytically biting analysis of race politics and race jurisprudence. A brilliant case that race is understood through performance and is hostage to the politics of fear. Tehranian’s legal and intellectual thriller is hard to put down.”
-James C. Scott,Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology, Yale University



“He provides an important contribution to the dynamic study of the legal and political status of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States.”
-The Law and Politics Book Review



“Tehranian chronicles how American law constructed Whiteness, how Middle Eastern immigrants struggled to assimilate, and documents how this officially White population does not share in the bounty of White privilege.”
-

“Tehranian has written a compelling account of discrimination against those of Middle Eastern descent. His book is an important addition to the literature on race in America and could not be more timely.”
-Erwin Chemerinsky,Founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine, School of Law



“Tehranian’s book covers fresh legal and social territory . . . consistently informative and casts off the cloak of invisibility.”
-Publishers Weekly



"Whitewashed is an indispensible contribution to the effort to make visible the struggles of Middle Eastern community in the U.S. Activists and educators alike will benefit enormously from Tehranian's thorough research and highly accessible, often entertaining prose."
-Loren D. Lybarger,Journal of American Ethnic History

“A refreshing analysis and accessible account of the contradictory classification of Middle Eastern Americans as whites in the early 1900s and as non-whites a century later.”
-Mehdi Bozorgmehr,co-author of Backlash 9/11: Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans Respond

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Product Details

  • Series: Critical America
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814783066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814783061
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,796,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was quite fascinating to read. For a long time, I have wondered how Arab Americans are considered "white/Caucasian" on the US Census, but are perceived as racially and/or ethnically different by most Americans. The history of that issue provided by Tehranian is thoughtful and eye-opening, and he creates a bridge from the past to the present to help you understand the situation today.
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Format: Hardcover
John Tehranian has written a book that everybody in the USA should read. Unfortunately, his language tends to be stilted and will not serve his purpose well ... too bad, as this book is important.

We have become too complacent about our liberties and rights as citizens. He points out how our society has selectively denied human rights (even to citizens) on whimsical/racial/current-topic bases.

It's sad that the wonderful country that we enjoy is far from truly honoring the individual human spirit and giving credit to folks from other cultures who have come here and contributed to our society.

The USA is an on-going experiment for human dignity and freedom. The vast majority of the folks coming into our country bring us the diversity and the work ethic and the skills that we need.

God bless America, as it is still the best hope for the advancement of true freedom. A work in progress!

A message to the author: Don't write in a style appropriate for the Yale Law Review, if you want to talk to most of us.
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Format: Hardcover
This book addresses one of the most relevant and timely issues for Middle Easterners today, bringing attention to the conflict they face between their racial classification as "white," and the increased discrimination they now experience in a post 9/11 world. It also makes one rethink the entire notion of "race." John Tehranian traces the history and development of race and the idea of "whiteness," arriving at the conclusion that it is ultimately a social construct based on everything but skin color. By citing fascinating US court cases regarding the racial classification of various individuals, John Tehranian illuminates the arbitrary nature of race, especially as it pertains to the Middle Eastern community in the US. Living in a post 9/11 world, this book is highly relevant not only to individuals of Middle Eastern descent, but to the population as a whole as we address the issue of discrimination against Middle Easterners. Mr. Tehranian has taken a very complex issue and presented it in an accessible and engaging manner, making it one of the most enjoyable and informative books I have ever come accross.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I received the book in just a couple of days and I did not even reques prompt mailing. The book was in great condition. It looked like new.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To say I was severely disappointed by this book would be a major understatement. I was extremely excited to purchase this book because I feel the topic and the light it shines on it is extremely important and ignored. Tehranian had a golden opportunity to write a book on important topic and get the word out. He could have done so in a book that was easy to read and would appeal to the masses. Instead, in typical blowhard law professor style, he essentially wrote a glorified law review piece that could appeal only to his fellow blowhard law professors. He squandered his chance to write a readable book and really do justice to the neglected truths in his book. I was sorely disappointed and dismayed.
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