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The Color of Success

Ellen D. Wu. The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press (2015).

“Unlike the progeny of turn-of-the-century southern and eastern European immigrants, who melted into unambiguous whiteness in the crucibles of mass consumption, industrial unionism, New Deal ethnic pluralism, and military service, Japanese and Chinese did not disappear into whiteness after the end of exclusion….” Thus writes author Ellen D. Wu in this seminal work on two Asian American groups. As the quotation suggests, she skillfully draws on the scholarship relating to the emigration from Europe of contemporaneous groups. She also makes insightful comparisons of the two groups themselves; for example, comparing and contrasting what happened during World War II (when the Japan was the enemy and China was the ally) and the Cold War, when the roles essentially were reversed.

In his Author! Author! blog series, Museum president Gary T. Johnson highlights works that draw on our collection.

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