Lon Kurashige, author of “Two Faces of Exclusion: The Untold History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States” (University of North Carolina Press), will speak on Saturday, March 25, at 2 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.
From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the United States has a long history of anti-Asian policies. In his latest book, author and USC associate professor of history Kurashige demonstrates that despite widespread racism, Asian exclusion was not the product of an ongoing national consensus; it was a subject of fierce debate.
“Two Faces of Exclusion” examines the organized and well-funded opposition to discrimination that involved some of the most powerful public figures in American politics, business, religion, and academia. In recovering this opposition, Kurashige explains the rise and fall of exclusionist policies through an unstable and protracted political rivalry that began in the 1850s with the coming of Asian immigrants, extended to the age of exclusion from the 1880s until the 1960s, and since then has shaped the memory of past discrimination.
In this first book-length analysis of both sides of the debate, Kurashige argues that exclusion-era policies were more than just enactments of racism; they were also catalysts for U.S.-Asian cooperation and the basis for the 21st century’s tightly integrated Pacific world.
Free with museum admission. For more information, call (213) 625-0414 or visit www.janm.org.
(Cover illustration by Roger Shimomura)