Cover image for Yellow : race in America beyond Black and white
Yellow : race in America beyond Black and white
Wu, Frank H., 1967-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
vii, 399 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.O6 W84 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In the tradition of W. E. B. Du Bois, Cornel West, and other public intellectuals who confronted the "color line" of the twentieth century, journalist, law professor, and activist Frank H. Wu offers a unique perspective on how changing ideas of racial identity will affect race relations in the new century.Often provocative and always thoughtful, this book addresses some of the most controversial contemporary issues: discrimination, immigration, diversity, globalization, and the mixed-race movement, introducing the example of Asian Americans to shed new light on the current debates. Combining personal anecdotes, social-science research, legal cases, history, and original journalistic reporting, Wu discusses damaging Asian American stereotypes such as "the model minority" and "the perpetual foreigner." By offering new ways of thinking about race in American society, Wu's work challenges us to make good on our great democratic experiment.

Author Notes

Frank H. Wu is the first Asian American to serve as a law professor at Howard University Law School. He has written for a range of publications including The Washington Post, The L.A. Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The Nation, and writes a regular column for Asian Week. Wu participated in a major debate against Dinesh D'Souza on affirmative action that was televised on C-Span and was the host of the syndicated talk show Asian America on PBS. He lives in Washington, DC

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Wu, an associate professor of law at Howard University School of Law, offers a provocative perspective on race relations in America. While many would look on Asian Americans as America's "model minority," Wu demonstrates how even positive references to Asians can have damaging effects on Asian American psyches. Indeed, he discusses at length "the model minority myth" (that Asians are "intelligent, gifted in math and science, polite, hard-working, family-oriented, law-abiding, and successfully entrepreneurial" ). Although Wu sometimes seems overly sensitive, he makes a valid point that while white Americans might have felt superior to poor, uneducated (if held back) blacks, "Asian-Americans are the first group that seems to jeopardize the dominance of white Americans." He calls for coalition building among Asian Americans, but one that does not selfishly seek political power. Rather, he proposes a principled coalition--what Cornel West has called the "ethics of ethnicity." Wu has contributed another chapter to the continuing saga of American democracy. --Allen Weakland

Publisher's Weekly Review

Beginning with a recap of his childhood bewilderment with the paltry selection of appealing Asian characters in 1970s American pop culture, Frank H. Wu, associate professor at the Howard University School of Law, describes the alienation experienced by Asian-Americans in the 20th-century in Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White. An activist and journalist (the Washington Post, the Nation, the L.A. Times, etc.), Wu discusses key moments and phenomena in Asian-American history: the WWII internment camps, the 1992 L.A. riots, the "model minority myth," the virulent anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. during the 1980s' recession (exemplified by the murder of a Chinese American engineer by two white auto workers, fined $3,780 for the crime) and periodic fads involving "Asian-ness" in American media. His sobering, astute, compelling investigation locates the particulars of Asian-American experience with racism in this country's spectrum of ethnic and cultural prejudice. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Most discussions of race and affirmative action focus on the relationship between Caucasian Americans and those of African descent. With this important book, Wu, an associate professor of law at Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC, and a columnist for A. Magazine, attempts to expand the discussion by including Americans of Asian descent. Starting with his own childhood experiences, Wu talks about the difficulties of being Asian in America, discussing the stereotypes associated with Asian Americans and the reasons why they are often blamed for discrimination. He then goes on to discuss crimes committed against Asian Americans because of their race and way of life, explaining that police investigations are often more thorough when Asian Americans are accused of criminal wrongdoing. This fascinating blend of Wu's personal experiences and his experiences as a lawyer, professor, and reporter provides a different and much-needed perspective on an important and often neglected subject. The only drawback is the lack of bibliography. Even so, this title belongs in all academic libraries. Danna Bell-Russel, Library of Congress (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Providing an informed Asian American perspective on race relations, Wu (law, Howard Univ.) addresses issues of concern to Asian Americans, such as stereotypes. Often viewed as the "yellow peril" or as perpetual foreigners, Asian Americans know that stereotypes can have harmful consequences. Whether Japanese Americans living on the West Coast or Chinese Americans offering political donations, Asian Americans are frequently seen as disloyal to the US. Even a positive stereotype of Asian Americans as a model minority can involve them in bitter affirmative action debates; it can also mislead policymakers and educators, causing them to overlook the struggles of the Southeast Asian refugee community and their children. Wu also discusses topics such as immigration, transnationalism, globalization, multiculturalism, diversity, intermarriage, mixed race identity, coalition building, and the prospects for realizing a civil society with racial justice and equality. A welcome surprise is the application of legal reasoning with reflections on moral and political philosophy. Thus, Wu makes reference to the ideas of Immanuel Kant, John Dewey, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Michael Walzer, and others. A fascinating and erudite study, suitable for a general readership. All collections. F. Ng California State University, Fresno

Table of Contents

1 East Is East, East Is West: Asians as Americansp. 1
2 The Model Minority: Asian American "Success" as a Race Relations Failurep. 39
3 The Perpetual Foreigner: Yellow Peril in the Pacific Centuryp. 79
4 Neither Black Nor White: Affirmative Action and Asian Americansp. 131
5 True But Wrong: New Arguments Against New Discriminationp. 173
6 The Best "Chink" Food: Dog-Eating and the Dilemma of Diversityp. 215
7 The Changing Face of America: Intermarriage and the Mixed Race Movementp. 261
8 The Power of Coalitions: Why I Teach at Howardp. 301
Epilogue: Deep Springsp. 343
Referencesp. 349
Notesp. 355
Acknowledgmentsp. 383
Indexp. 385
About the Authorp. 399