Chick sexing---the work of separating baby pullets from cockerels---was an important mode of employment for second-generation Japanese Americans (Nisei), who dominated the trade between the late 1930s and 1950s. Since their wartime internment experience symbolized the denial of their national belonging on racial grounds, the Nisei politics of identity has been characterized in terms of single-minded assimilation into white America. Yet, instead of suppressing their ancestry, Nisei "chick sexors" took advantage of it to preserve control of the trade during and after the war. Drawing on notions of "science," "professionalism," and "citizenship," these Nisei manipulated their corporate identity, replaced negative connotations with contrived ideas of racial desirability, and made their race acceptable to white America and to themselves. This article examines the complex strategies behind the process of Japanese American integration and identity formation---one that entailed a constant reformulation of racial meanings and boundaries.
Race, Citizenship, and the "Science of Chick Sexing": The Politics of Racial Identity among Japanese Americans
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Eiichiro Azuma; Race, Citizenship, and the "Science of Chick Sexing": The Politics of Racial Identity among Japanese Americans. Pacific Historical Review 1 May 2009; 78 (2): 242–275. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/phr.2009.78.2.242
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