This closing essay to a symposium inaugurating UCLA Law School's Program in Critical Race Studies suggests that the racialized Asian American body can operate as a site for collective memory and thus serve as reminders of past mistakes in order to restrain current and future abuses of power. One of the lessons to be learned is from World War II when extreme subordination of one Asian American group, Japanese Americans, was accompanied by the elimination of certain barriers for another Asian American group, Chinese Americans. A similar dynamic may be happening now following September 11. With the increase in legal and extralegal discrimination against Middle Easterners and South Asians, other previously marginalized groups may experience an apparent lessening of discrimination directed against them. The essay argues that this is illusory or temporary and that discrimination directed against one group ultimately reinforces the system of racial stratification and discrimination that harms all racial minorities.
Robert S. Chang,
Closing Essay: Developing a Collective Memory to Imagine a Better Future, 49 UCLA L. REV. 1601