With the current vogue of multiculturalism and cultural diversity requirements as panacea for systemic problems, scholars and teachers of Ethnic Studies need to reassess the principles and goals of their discipline. Los Angeles 1992, among other developments, has exposed the serious inadequacies of old paradigms. A review of the racialized history of Asians in U.S. society, a narrative of oppression and opposition now mystified by the model minority myth, allows us to grasp the flaws of the liberal pluralist focus on culture divorced from the political and economic contexts of unequal power relations. Ultimately, for whom is Ethnic Studies designed? By historicizing identity politics and validating the genealogy of resistance, we in the field of Ethnic Studies can refuse to be mere apologists for the status quo and revitalize the critical and emancipatory thrust of Ethnic Studies, a thrust inseparable from the struggle of people of color against white supremacy.

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