Lisa Lowe introduced the relationship between national culture and citizenship in the beginning. One becomes “American” if him or herself becomes, acts or speaks like one. She incorporated how Wars played critical roles in defining Asians as the “others”. I found it interesting when she mentioned how architect Maya Lin’s monument for the Vietnam War wasn’t one that could represent the American nation because American soldiers are the ideal citizen and representative of the nation, and since Lin is Asian and therefore, an “alien”, her monument wasn’t as valued. Even if Asian Americans are citizens of the U.S, they are excluded from the racial and cultural boundaries of the U.S. I like how she emphasizes how when we focus Asian Americans as “immigrants”, we have to see how the U.S state determines Asian Americans” life through immigration laws, the denial of enfranchisement, processes of citizenship etc. Also, how gender played a role in citizenship was interesting because if a female citizen marries a non citizen male, she loses her citizenship. Feminism did not step to part when it came to citizenship.
Leti Volpp’s article used some of Lowe’s points. She explains four/five types of citizenship; citizenship as legal status, as rights, as political activity , as identity and as solidarity. In citizenship as legal status, the inability to naturalize for Asian immigrants was because they did not or could not own land. Land meant a sense of power and it was important to obtain the property of it. The law that took away the citizenship of women when they marry non citizen men “primarily affected women who married Asian men” (74) was interesting to me. That means females back then would fear over the loss of their citizenship if they want to marry their true love. The 1943 Magnuson Act allowed Chinese to become citizens but only due to foreign policy reasons. (74). Citizenship as rights -to own civil rights, political rights and social rights. She mentions the discourses of colorblindness and liberal multiculturalism. Citizenship as political activity- that citizens had to be virtuous and be active in politics, also along the side of ownership of property. But Asian Americans were not eligible to even have ownership. Chinese apparently have no understanding of government but despotism (78.79). They are not assimilated due to lack of Republican understandings. Citizenship as identity basically tells if one ties to community and culture in the nation. The identity of Asian Americans were changed from “yellow peril” to “model minority”.