Racial Purges   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Introduction: "On the rainy morning of November 3, 1885, some 500 armed white men visited the home and business of every single Chinese person living in Tacoma, Washington. As the skies wept, the mob roused all 200 of them, including women, children, and the elderly, and marched them through the mud to the outskirts of town. [...] In 'The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America', historian Beth Lew-Williams recounts this horrific episode[.] [...] Lew-Williams's magisterial account of the injustices perpetrated against the Chinese [...] seeks to correct a national narrative that often leaves out the horrors instigated against the Chinese community[.] [...] Her account of Chinese 'resistance and flight in the face of white violence' [...] deepens our understanding of American constitutional law's development. In Part I of this Review, I emphasize that anti-Chinese violence was extremely effective as a political tool. Perpetrators faced almost no legal repercussions, and unlike for freed persons, racial violence didn't lead to significant legislation that benefited the Chinese. [...] In Part II, I assess this wave of anti-Chinese mobilization--from aggressive boycotts to lynchings to armed expulsions--which were justified by perpetrators and observers alike according to America's higher law tradition. Finally, in Part III, I use the local expulsions of Chinese migrants as a springboard to build a more complex portrait of inequality in America so that we might remedy it more effectively."

Open Access. Authors have granted unrestricted access.
Retrieved From:
University of Michigan Law School Scholarship Repository: https://repository.law.umich.edu/
Media Type:
Michigan Law Review (2020), v.118 issue 6, p.1127-1156
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