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Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White Paperback – March 25, 2003
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Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Instead of the lawyer, raconteur, social critic, and historian I had thought I knew, however, I met a philosopher poet on par with an Emerson or Thoreau. Weaving back and forth between legal decisions, Shakespearean dramas, SAT scores, and recollections from his childhood, he has produced a masterwork that will shape discussions of race for years to come.
Right from the first chapter, Professor Wu lays out the dilemma of being Asian in America in terms that are spare but evocative: "I remain not only a stranger in a familiar land, but also a sojourner through my own life....I alternate between being conspicuous and vanishing, being stared at or looked through. Although the conditions may seem contradictory, they have in common the loss of control. I am who others perceive me to be rather than how I perceive myself to be."
Not content to be an idle observer or a pawn in someone else's social drama, however, he draws on a lifetime of involvement in the great issues of our times to write thought-provoking and well-researched analyses of affirmative action, racial profiling, immigration restrictions, anti-Asian violence, interracial marriage, and much more. The beauty of Wu's writing, like Stephen Jay Gould's celebrated "This View of Life" column in Natural History magazine, is that a person who is at once a leader in his field and a person with a strong point of view can take the time to explain how he got to his position by bringing in history, statistics, biography, current events, and popular culture.Read more ›
As a group, Asian Americans have done better than some others, but not without significant barriers, and in a country where the fire of national debate on black and white issues is stoked routinely by self-serving pundits, politicians, and pop stars, the tribulations of Asian Americans are considered trivial. The irony, of course, is that worldwide, Asians are the majority, and despite NASA's assertion on the Voyager probe that Earth men look like the da Vinci drawing, the reality is that most men look like Wu. Or me, half-Asian though I am.
So, while there is a place for books like Wu's, I'm just not sure where it is. Wu is a good writer, even if many of his points are the same ones I've heard since entering college in 1986. His premise that Asian Americans historically and routinely face discrimination, even violence, is an important and all too real one. But I don't know who he's writing to. Is it other Asian Americans? Unless we're in denial or brain dead, we already know the score. Is it non-Asian Americans? Oddly enough, there's a similar problem. Those people thoughtful enough to care have probably heard the issues before. Those who aren't don't want to.Read more ›
1. Wu argues that Asian-Americans ought to support affirmative action for underrepresented minority groups even if they themselves are not included, saying that this will put the needs of the nation at large ahead of self-centered gain. (Contrast this with the writings of K. Anthony Appiah, Dinesh D'Souza and Shelby Steele, for example, for 4 incredibly disparate views of affirmative action by 4 people of color).
2. Wu also presents a case against racial profiling in spite of the fact that he thinks it is sometimes both rational and non-racist (!)
3. Wu dissects the question "Where are you really from?" and explains how it reflects the "perpetual foreigner" stereotype of people of Asian descent.
Overall, this book was a thought-provoking, sometimes troubling, always interesting read.
There is, of course, an accounting of the most egregious cases of racial bias and outright bigotry in the history of our country. But even more importantly, Professor Wu effectively summarizes the history of Asians and Asian-Americans in the US to help explain how the model minority stereotype is a two-edged sword that actually in many ways exacerbates the problem and in some ways enables the problem to proliferate, particularly by playing such a stereotype off against the stereotype of Afro-Americans. Make no mistake, Professor Wu strongly espouses coalitions among not only Asian-Americans, not only all minorities, but all peoples. It is, he argues, the only way to bring resolution. But the conundrum of racism, as he effectively describes it, is truly one of color and the perception of color. Being white in America is perceived by many as the ideal, the epitome.
For example, when the issue of my ethnicity came up in my office, recently, one of my staff, attempting to be gracious, remarked: "I never noticed you weren't white.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wu provides information on how racism affects Asians as well as Blacks in the U.S. in a way that many who write about anti-racism and racial issues do not. Read morePublished 3 months ago by GK
For my counseling class I was required to read an excerpt from this book. Frank's illustrative way of speaking really paints a picture of what most of us take for granted-our race. Read morePublished 7 months ago by renate m braddy
Great book. As an educator people often ask for books that are easy to read & comprehend around social justice. I would recommend this for sure. I've referred to it many times.Published 10 months ago by Ben Falter
I greatly enjoy this author, I heard his story during the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity a few years back. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Thao Thao
Normally, when I finish a book and/or no longer want to keep it, I would donate it to the local Goodwill store. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Ken