expatriated women: gender, citizenship, and the internment

In a recent post about Japanese American internment as a precedent for Muslim registries, I mentioned expatriated women, women who lost their citizenship through marriage. It’s a subject that not many people know about and one that I’ve been researching the last several years as part of a book on race, denaturalization, and expatriation. Here’s one woman’s story, one of many that still need to be told. Continue reading “expatriated women: gender, citizenship, and the internment”

George Ozawa

Doing further research on Takao Ozawa, I found out that his only son, George, (he had four daughters as well) died in World War II fighting for the 100th Combat Battalion.

future: portland

The deed to the house I mostly grew up in Portland (in the Hollywood district of NE) had a clause that stated if any owner sold it to an African American or Chinese (paraphrasing the original language), the property was supposed to revert back to the previous owner. The clause wasn′t enforced because such restrictive covenants are no longer constitutional (luckily!), but learning about it in high school was revelatory, an eye-opening experience that helped explain the feeling we had, both of being the only Asian household in our neighborhood and of living next to the only Black household in our neighborhood. That past informs Portland′s present and its future. Here’s a documentary that raises questions about that future:

(as does this Washington Post article)

yet more on “chink”

In a previous post, I wrote about my searches on Google’s ngram viewer on the relative historical use of the terms “chink” and “Chink.” Ngram viewer’s dataset only goes to 2008/9, but another Google web tool, trends, tracks the text of web searches (at Google, obviously) since 2004 – yes, trends is a text search of text searches, so for those folks who love self-referentiality, it is in effect a meta-search engine. Since they draw on different data, actual print usage versus web search text, the two tools aren’t directly comparable. Nevertheless, a quick check on Google trends for the term “chink” was interesting.

Continue reading “yet more on “chink””

more on “chink”

[Classes ended yesterday so I’m in the process of updating and publishing posts I wrote this fall.]

In May, in the aftermath of the controversy over the use of the phrase “chink in the armor” as a ESPN headline for an article about Jeremy Lin, I wrote a post about the term “chink” and its historical use and origin. This fall I’ve been thinking about the digital humanities and data visualization for my courses and I remembered Google’s ngram viewer. It’s an online tool that draws on the digitalization of books and other print materials that are the basis for Google Books. It allows you to can chart the frequency with which a word (or words) occurs in that database. Because the database includes historical works, in effect the ngram viewer charts the historical use of words in print. I decided to use it to check the arguments I made in my previous post.

Continue reading “more on “chink””

segregation’s space: Lakeshore revisited

I posted this summer about Lakeshore Drive’s commemoration of Chicago’s 1919 race riot. This fall, preparing to lecture about the events of the riot for one of my courses, I read a new book, Red Summer, about the several race riots in the United States in 1919 whose broader context inform the Chicago riot.

Following its detailed narrative account, I realized that I had made a mistaken assumption about the geography of the beach’s, as opposed to Chicago’s, segregation. Historically the city’s predominantly African American communities have developed south of its original urban and commercial center. The association is strong enough that the expression “South Side” is sometimes used  synonymously with what University of Chicago sociologists called the “Black Belt.”

In imagining the events on the beach on July 27, 1919, I had always thought the line marking its segregation followed the same north-south distinction. Accounts I had read recounted a group of African American teenagers unwittingly crossing an extension of Chicago’s color line into Lake Michigan’s waters without specifying direction. Generalizing the city’s racial geography to the specific incident, I assumed they swam north from the south. Cameron McWhirter, Red Summer’s author, makes clear instead that they went south from the north.

Continue reading “segregation’s space: Lakeshore revisited”