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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"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
“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's book covers fresh legal and social territory . . . consistently informative and casts off the cloak of invisibility.”
“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
“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