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“The Chinese? Better not to Do Anything Wrong”: How Chinese Working-Class Immigrant Women Negotiate Racial/Ethnic Identities and Inter-racial and Inter-ethnic Tensions

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Abstract:

As part of a larger project, which examines the racial/ethnic, gender, class, and cultural identities of Chinese immigrant working-class women, this paper focuses on how immigrant woman workers negotiate their racial/ethnic identities in particular. The researcher spent one year in the San Francisco Bay Area doing fieldwork among Chinese immigrant woman workers and found out that, upon migration, these women have gone through horrible experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination. In reaction, they have developed a strong Chinese nationalist sentiment and a collective ethnic identity. However, when they withdraw to their nationalist sentiment, the host society does not hesitate to use the withdrawal as a pretext to question their loyalty and to further deny their due rights as American citizens. With limited opportunities and life needs at the doorstep, the women often find it necessary to adopt certain white cultural norms. But they have never stopped negotiating with external racial oppressions and white supremacist ideas. In this process of negotiation, Chinese ethnic media messages have both liberating and paralyzing influences.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

chines (137), racial (90), ident (83), women (73), peopl (70), immigr (67), american (60), ethnic (56), media (52), class (48), social (48), white (47), work (44), cultur (41), one (41), societi (39), race (37), differ (34), live (32), also (30), group (30),

Author's Keywords:

Chinese immigrant woman workers, racial and ethnic identities, identity negotiation, Chinese ethnic media
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Name: International Communication Association
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MLA Citation:

Shi, Yu. "“The Chinese? Better not to Do Anything Wrong”: How Chinese Working-Class Immigrant Women Negotiate Racial/Ethnic Identities and Inter-racial and Inter-ethnic Tensions" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Sheraton New York, New York City, NY, <Not Available>. 2009-05-25 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p11982_index.html>

APA Citation:

Shi, Y. "“The Chinese? Better not to Do Anything Wrong”: How Chinese Working-Class Immigrant Women Negotiate Racial/Ethnic Identities and Inter-racial and Inter-ethnic Tensions" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Sheraton New York, New York City, NY Online <PDF>. 2009-05-25 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p11982_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: As part of a larger project, which examines the racial/ethnic, gender, class, and cultural identities of Chinese immigrant working-class women, this paper focuses on how immigrant woman workers negotiate their racial/ethnic identities in particular. The researcher spent one year in the San Francisco Bay Area doing fieldwork among Chinese immigrant woman workers and found out that, upon migration, these women have gone through horrible experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination. In reaction, they have developed a strong Chinese nationalist sentiment and a collective ethnic identity. However, when they withdraw to their nationalist sentiment, the host society does not hesitate to use the withdrawal as a pretext to question their loyalty and to further deny their due rights as American citizens. With limited opportunities and life needs at the doorstep, the women often find it necessary to adopt certain white cultural norms. But they have never stopped negotiating with external racial oppressions and white supremacist ideas. In this process of negotiation, Chinese ethnic media messages have both liberating and paralyzing influences.

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Document Type: PDF
Page count: 36
Word count: 13931
Text sample:
1 “The Chinese? Better not to Do Anything Wrong”: How Chinese Working-Class Immigrant Women in the San Francisco Bay Area Negotiate Racial/Ethnic Identities and Inter-racial and Inter-ethnic Tensions Introduction Friedman (2002) defines our current transnational world condition as characterized by a movement of culture and a globalization of meaning via media diaspora formation and movements of commodities. As Appadurai contends (1996) the world of the present witnesses “moving images meeting deterritorialized viewers” (p.4) which creates diasporic public spheres as
scope of the “Chinese people” is equally ambiguous a category that encompasses diverse groups of people with different places of origin and settlement languages religions political orientations social stratifications and more important with different views of what constitutes the essence of Chineseness. As Ang (2001) maintains “Chineseness is not a category with a fixed content—be it racial cultural or geographical—but operates as an open and indeterminate 36 signifier whose meanings are constantly renegotiated and rearticulated in different sections of


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