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Lecture 9

AAS 201 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Wen Ho Lee, Industrial Espionage, Alien Land Laws

Asian American Studies
Course Code
AAS 201
Kelly Fong

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Foreigner Racialization
- Looking Like the Enemy
o Foreigner Racialization racializing certain groups as perpetual foreigners or outsiders
through discourse and institutional structures.
o Discourse assumes non-citizen status, can use race-neutral terms.
Illegal alie = Latio
terrorist = Ara
foreig opetitor = Asia
o Structure uses restrictions on immigration and naturalization; uses laws and policy to
deny rights and perpetuating foreignness.
Exclusion Laws
Court decisions banning citizenship
o Cannot distinguish Asian from Asian American or ethnic groups.
o Foreigner racialization strong during times of economic uncertainty when immigrants or
foreigners are scapegoated.
- Contemporary Examples
o 2013 Miss America pageant and social media reaction to Nina Davuluri.
o Wen Ho Lee (1999)
o Scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory accused of leaking nuclear secrets to China.
o Lee was Taiwanese-born, a US naturalized citizen, and lab employee for 25 years.
o Imprisoned for almost a year before trial, including solitary confinement.
o Racial profiling, presumed foreignness; assumed allegiances to China.
o Sherry Chen (2014)
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Government hydrologist in Ohio, accused of economic espionage.
o Xi Xiaoxing (2015)
Physics professor at Temple University, accused of sharing technology with
o Murder of Vincent Chin (1982)
Beaten to death by two unemployed white automakers in Detroit, MI, who
mistook Chin for Japanese.
Japanese car manufacturing booming, blamed for deterioration of US auto
Court did not consider a hate crime despite racial slurs; men served no jail time.
All Asian Americans seen as the same and foreign; Chin presumed to be
- Historic Examples
o Ozawa (1922) and Thind (1923)
o Alien Land Laws
o Cable Act
o Japanese American Internment
- Alien Land Laws
o Passed i ay states iludig CA i 9 to a alies ieligile to itizeship fro
owning property.
Largely geared at Japanese immigrant farmers.
o Limited length of leases to 3 years.
o Terrace v. Thomson (1923)
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