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Face the Nation: Race, Immigration, and the Rise of Nativism in Late Twentieth Century America

George J. Sanchez
The International Migration Review
Vol. 31, No. 4, Special Issue: Immigrant Adaptation and Native-Born Responses in the Making of Americans (Winter, 1997), pp. 1009-1030
DOI: 10.2307/2547422
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2547422
Page Count: 22
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Face the Nation: Race, Immigration, and the Rise of Nativism in Late Twentieth Century America
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Abstract

This article examines the rise of nativism directed at Asian and Latino immigrants to the United States in contemporary American society. By focusing on the Los Angeles riots and other evidence of the rise of anti-immigrant feelings among the population, this study reveals that a racial nativism has arisen which intertwines a new American racism with traditional hostility towards new immigrants in a variety of ways. Both recent scholarship on race and John Higham's classic work on nativism are utilized to provide a conceptual framework for understanding our multiracial contemporary setting. Tellingly, this new racial nativism emerges from both sides of the political spectrum, and is evident in attempts to keep discussions of race focused on solely white/black national construction. Finally, the study explores how immigrants themselves have responded to these attacks by increasing naturalization rates and political activity, forming a newfound ambivalent Americanism.

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