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Los Angeles has attracted intense attention as a "world city" characterized by multiculturalism and globalization. Yet, little is known about the historical transformation of a place whose leaders proudly proclaimed themselves white supremacists less than a century ago. In The Shifting Grounds of Race, Scott Kurashige highlights the role African Americans and Japanese AmerLos Angeles has attracted intense attention as a "world city" characterized by multiculturalism and globalization. Yet, little is known about the historical transformation of a place whose leaders proudly proclaimed themselves white supremacists less than a century ago. In The Shifting Grounds of Race, Scott Kurashige highlights the role African Americans and Japanese Americans played in the social and political struggles that remade twentieth-century Los Angeles.Linking paradigmatic events like Japanese American internment and the Black civil rights movement, Kurashige transcends the usual "black/white" dichotomy to explore the multiethnic dimensions of segregation and integration. Racism and sprawl shaped the dominant image of Los Angeles as a "white city." But they simultaneously fostered a shared oppositional consciousness among Black and Japanese Americans living as neighbors within diverse urban communities.Kurashige demonstrates why African Americans and Japanese Americans joined forces in the battle against discrimination and why the trajectories of the two groups diverged. Connecting local developments to national and international concerns, he reveals how critical shifts in postwar politics were shaped by a multiracial discourse that promoted the acceptance of Japanese Americans as a "model minority" while binding African Americans to the social ills underlying the 1965 Watts Rebellion. Multicultural Los Angeles ultimately encompassed both the new prosperity arising from transpacific commerce and the enduring problem of race and class divisions.This extraordinarily ambitious book adds new depth and complexity to our understanding of the "urban crisis" and offers a window into America's multiethnic future....

Title : The Shifting Grounds of Race: Black and Japanese Americans in the Making of Multiethnic Los Angeles
Author :
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ISBN : 9780691146188
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 346 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Shifting Grounds of Race: Black and Japanese Americans in the Making of Multiethnic Los Angeles Reviews

  • Andrea
    2019-02-24 07:42

    This is a fascinating book, and full of all kinds of wonderful history of race and struggle. The title is pretty self-explanatory of course, but Kurashige tries to get beyond simply recovering and writing this history (vital as that is) to look at a very complex process of racial construction in space. He nots the work of Mike Davis and how he is trying to go beyond itMost notably, City of Quartz by Mike Davis demonstrated the centrality of race and class to the operation of power in twentieth-century Los Angeles. Davis's groundbreaking work sparked a flurry of regional studies that have tended to focus on explaining the post-1848 ascendance of the "white city" or the post-1965 immigration r("shaping the "world city." But there remains a chronological and intellectual void waiting to filled. How did a city governed by white supremacy become a center of multiculturalism?as well as that of Sugrue on Detroit by moving beyond its focus on black/whiteWhile the urban crisis scholarship has enriched our understanding of the structural bases of poverty and racial oppression, it has yet to transcend the binary logic that has most informed scholarly and popular discourse on race in the United States. For example, the analysis Sugrue presents in the Origins of the Urban Crisis revolves around "the color line between black and white," which he characterizes as "America's most salient social division." But damn, look at this much question he is trying to answer: It is my contention that the urban crisis has spawned an equally menacing epistemological crisis. Viewing integration as an aborted process, we have become transfixed with changes that did not occur at the expense of fully comprehending those that actually did. We need to complement our intricate knowledge of what was lost in the past with an awareness of what has created the new problems and possibilities we are now facing. ... How and why did African Americans and the "Negro problem" become materlally and ideologically linked to the "urban crisis"? How and why did Japanese Americans and the "model minority" become materially and ideologically linked to the rise of the "world city"? I submit that these were mutually constitutive processes that are best understood when situated within a multiracial context that recognizes the interconnection of local, national, and transnational dynamics.I'm not sure anyone can answer that question...this outlines the process through which changing views of both Japanese- and African-Americans linked to the city in a very deep and insightful way. I still, when I sit and think about it (and for all I get how political economy is key to this question and understand how that works more or less), I am bewildered really about how and what takes root in the consciousness of white America and how quickly it can change -- or drag nastily through the decades. There seems to be things operating on another level, maybe one Lacan explores, or others looking more at psychology and society that I haven't yet really knuckled down and read. On another level, however, I think Kurashige starts to nail how race is operationalised and inscribed into physical and social space. He argues thatWhile racialized struggles over resources altered the status of groups and their relationship to power, they perhaps less obviously changed the rules by which racial politics operated. Beyond charting material relations between Black, Japanese, and white Americans, my research uncovers the ideological bases of these triangular relations. White elites played Black and Japanese Americans off against each other to solidify white hegemony. In turn, Black and Japanese Americans remained highly conscious of each other's image and status as they negotiated and renegotiated their position within a multiracial social order. Differences in racialization became a basis for an opportunistic form of triangulation. By actively distancing themselves from the other group or passively accepting the distance created by white denigration of the other group, both Black and Japanese Americans were at times able to promote a sense of national belonging and greater white acceptance. Yet, if triangulation represented a form of capitulation to a hegemonic multiracial discourse, progressive activists of all races repeatedly sought to develop a counterhegemonic vision of multiracial solidarity.And what I love about this book is that it never loses sight of counterhegemonic struggle and explores it in a meaningful way. On the ground in L.A. it is obviously more complex given the much greater diversity which complicates the triangulation, but this explores the dynamics at work nicely I think.Very broadly, it looks at three periods- 'two overlapping processes of exclusion during the interwar era' - WWII and 'the total exclusion of Japanese Americans and the integration of African Americans alongside other non-Japanese minorities' - Post war, and 'the two overlapping processes of integration that set the two groups apart and ultimately gave rise to multiculturalism.'There is a great deal on the early period of suburban formation and community builders, the role of the real estate and the state in this bizarre connection between race and property values that just won't seem to die. One of the more fascinating is about Leimert Park, now a beautiful primarily Black neighborhood and cultural center Realty interests fed both expectations of profitability and fears of loss. Announcing the opening of his eponymous subdivision, Leimert declared that purchasers of lots were assured "quick and certain profits." Promoting his association plan, he stated, "Detrimental changes in neighborhoods, through expiring short-term restrictions, which have robbed investors in Los Angeles and other cities of millions of dollars, can NEVER occur in Leimert Park." Ultimately, homeowners of every neighborhood in the city became highly concerned about property values, often to the point of obsession. Nearly inseparable from racist ideology, the "property values" argument was driven by circular logic, since it was primarily white prejudice that ostensibly rendered neighborhoods where the color line had been breached less marketable.31 State action facilitated the flight to newer suburbs. As much as white developers and residents espoused the virtues of private property, suburban development could not have occurred as it did without substantial public investment. Then there's the brilliant story of the admittedly bourgeouis Crenshaw neighbors, using their homeowners association to promote integration and the creation of a truly diverse community. I knew some of this history but not much, definitely didn't know that 'In a sea of segregation, the Westside's multiethnic Crenshaw district became the pivotal site of Black/Japanese intersection and an island of integrationist hope'. More I didn't know about the destruction of Little Tokyo/Bronzeville (as I never knew it came to be called Bronzeville during WWII as African-Americans desperate for housing moved into the places forcibly vacated as Japanese were moved into concentration camps)When the city condemned property near First and San Pedro in the spring of 1949 to develop new LAPD headquarters, it ordered the eviction of twenty-five hundred of the area's residents. Over half were African American; the rest were mainly Japanese American. A new formation, the Nisei Progressives, organized resistance to the evictions. There are also some really good discussions on the limitations of white liberalism, and how this shaped (and was fought against) by communities of colour. The below on the Committee for Interracial Progress is like a microcosm of larger, pervasive issues. While they supported remedial state action to varying degrees, white moderates and liberals involved with civil rights politics sought to exclude noted African American activists, whose presence they felt would discredit the CIP and other interracial committees. A pivotal white player in the moderate civil rights nexus, George Gleason was appointed executive secretary of the CIP. He secretly expressed concern that both Charlotta Bass and Clayton Russell were "radicals" and that J. Raymond Henderson was "very pro-Negro, anti-white." These prominent Negro Victory leaders were minimally involved in the CIP. At the same time, Gleason recognized that "Uncle Tom" figures like Floyd Covington would not make effective leaders either. Gleason described the Urban League official as a "southern type of Negro who 'kowtows' to the whites. Liked by them; not liked by his own race." As interracial bodies of all kinds arose throughout the nation, some Black leaders expressed serious reservations about the rising prominence afforded the self-proclaimed white experts on race relations. If white leaders of interracial relations work deemed "radicals" and "Uncle Toms" unbefitting allies, who among the Los Angeles Black community best fit the bill? Two types stood out. Regardless of whatever urgency to end racism these acceptable Blacks felt personally, their strategy of working with establishment figures often necessitated constraining their activism to the parameters of mainstream political discourse. Importantly, both types of African American leaders embraced the Cold War anticommunist imperative. The first was a moderate-to-liberal civil rights advocate, typically from a well-educated background, who believed in working within the system to combat racial discrimination. As Loren Miller demonstrated when he took charge of the Eagle and castigated Charlotta Bass's left-wing politics, such leaders also needed to prove they were willing to criticize "irresponsible" elements within communities of color. [223] ... The second type  of minority leader commonly found on race relations committees was the socially liberal but fiscally conservative representative of the Black bourgeoisie. There is so much more in here, I'll just end with my continued confusion about just what goes on in the minds of white people. This book is highly pursuasive, yet I still can't quite understand how do you get to the model minority myth and multiculural LA for the Japanese and not for African Americans? When this is what went on:In 1923, the Hollywood Protective Association formed to "Keep Hollywood white" and drive out the "yellow menace." One representative, Mrs. B. G. Miller, posed for a large picture in the Los Angeles Examiner's May 18, 1923, edition by pointing to a banner spanning the front of her house reading "JAPS KEEP MOVING-this is a white man's neighborhood." The exclusion committee mobilized hundreds of residents through mass meetings. When a lone white dissenter voiced reservations about the campaign, he was driven from one such meeting by cries of "White Jap" and "Lynch him." Through door-to-door outreach, agitators further inflamed white opinion. One flyer condemned an Issei proposal for a Presbyterian church in a white neighborhood:JAPSYou came to care for lawns,we stood for itYou came to work in truck gardens,we stood for itYou sent your children to public schools,we stood for itYou moved a few families in our midstwe stood for itYou proposed to build a church in our neighborhoodBUT We DIDN'T and WE WON'T STAND FOR ITYou impose more on us each day until you have gone your limitWE DON'T WANT YOU WITH USSO GET BUSY, JAPS, ANDGET OUT OF HOLLYWOOD