As one might have gleaned from the title of this post, today’s readings deal America’s involvement in the post WWII wars along the Pacific, but not directly. No, the two pieces don’t talk about the carnage on the ground; they talk about how America’s strategic interests at the time facilitated a different kind of racial formation for Asians that America would seek to propagate and the effects of all that had ensued upon Asian Americans’ lives and people’s perception of them.
Robert Lee’s piece Cold War Construction of the Model Minority Myth deals with the seeming effort to bolster people’s perception of Asians, in an effort to win the war against Communism. He digs up some stuff politicians were saying at the time to try and galvanize the forces of inclusivity, for the “race problem” had by then taken on a national security dimension. But the only evidence I’m finding in his piece for the genesis of the “model minority myth” is the portrayal of Japanese women in some films. It should come as no surprise that popular American films are prone to simplification, so I’d like to see some stronger evidence. That said, media portrayals can have a strong influence on what people carry around in their heads, but I’d still like to see a stronger causal relationship established.
David Palumbo-Liu’s “War, the Homeland, and the Traces of Memory” delves more into this notion of “the politics of space”, which deals with people’s placement psychically and physically in America, whatever that means, and how this spacial phenomenon informs ideology and stuff. He talk about the refugees of the Pacific wars and how they often get trapped in poverty and rely on public assistance, thus not adhering to the model minority thing and garnering much hostility from other Americans in an economic downturn. He also analyzes some films, I guess, to illustrate some perceptions and whathaveyou.