Omi And Winant Racial Formation Analysis

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In Omi and Winant’s “Racial Formation,” the authors argue that racial formation is the “sociohistorical process by which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed” (DOC Reader, 21) and that there are two components of racial formation: social structure and cultural representation. Social structure includes state activity and policies about race, like the economy, segregation, the criminal justice system, citizenship, or anything considered official. Cultural representation is how race is understood or expressed in society, including stereotypes, media representation, news outlets, and more. Throughout the 19th century, an increase of Chinese immigrants arrived in America after hearing about the “Gam Saan, ‘Gold Mountain,’” …show more content…
Due to the Jim Crow laws, African Americans were still subjected to segregation and racial violence. Thus, many left for the North, the “land of hope” (318), specifically Chicago. The lack of European immigrants, opened many jobs to African Americans. The Great Migration, however, caused many conflicts in housing and the workplace. White resistance and hostility increased as blacks began invading the North. “The workplace became a terrain of competition and conflict” (320) as black laborers were used as strikebreakers, which “added fuel to social antagonism in the neighborhoods” (322). Homes of African Americans were bombed in order to push them out of white communities, such as Hyde Park and Washington Park. White homeowners attempted to offset the “black ‘invasion’” by signing agreements that restricted the selling or leasing of their homes to people of color (324). The Great Depression triggered an increase in racial tension as whites, desperate and unemployed, competed with African Americans for work; “even the jobs once viewed as degrading were now coveted by whites” (333). Blacks were referred to “as ‘the surplus man, the last to be hired and the first to be fired’” and unemployment was “30 to 60 percent greater than whites” (333). Many were forced to live on the streets and scavenge the trash for food because federal relief …show more content…
In Chinatown, people began building their own program of resources and aids, from shipping “the bodies or bones of the deceased” to “finding employment” (197). When the San Francisco Earthquake hit, many Chinese took advantage of the destruction of records that “opened the way for a new Chinese immigration” (201) and citizenship despite previous laws preventing them to do so. The influx of newcomers led to an expansion of Chinatown throughout the two coasts, eventually becoming “residential communities for families, Chinese economic enclaves, and tourist centers (204). Meanwhile, in Harlem, African Americans began a black empowerment movement, promoting black pride and intellectualism. The Harlem Renaissance, a political and artistic movement, encouraged African Americans to pursue an education in the arts, such as literature or music. When the Great Depression occurred, African Americans established a “’cooperative and socialistic state’ within the black community” (334). They joined labor unions and together, the “white and black, skilled and unskilled, agricultural and industrial” (334) unified, gaining “union recognition and wage increases”

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