Discussion: Othering/Belonging-Asian Immigration Narratives/Policies
For much of the nation’s history the debates are around immigration and immigrants centrally point at the issue of identity–who is considered an American and how is not, and by extension, who belongs here and who does not. California has played an important role in these debates throughout its history. For this first activity on the history of Immigration we will look at two different historical eras and the narratives and immigration policies relating to Asian-American experience. More specifically, through this history we will learn about the systematic process of “othering” and “belonging”. Definition of othering from MacMillan dictionary:
“treating people from another group as essentially different from and generally inferior to the group you belong to”
Step 1: Matching Activity
Step 2: Synthesis Questions
Having completed the matching activity in step 1, Answer the following three questions:
- For each of your groupings, describe the image the narratives slides were trying convey about Asian & Asian Americans? In your response, include an example of a policy that may have used this narrative as justification.
- Look back at the context slide for each grouping: Explain the dominant groups self-interest(s) that might explain what shaped the narratives and policies for each era.
- As you can see the views regarding the racial characteristics of Asian and Asian Americans in the narrative slides change from one era to the next. What does this reveal to you regarding the social construction of race?
- How does each set of narratives ultimately “other” Asian and Asian Americans in their respective eraHs?