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Racial Magnetism in Post–Civil Rights America

(p.3) Introduction
East Meets Black
Chong Chon-Smith
University Press of Mississippi

This introduction argues that the state, popular journalism, and university responded to economic and racial crises through pairing Asian and Black masculinity as oppositional humans, a structural design I call racial magnetism. In response to Black revolutionary critique and falling-profit rates for capitalism, the architects of racial magnetism rearticulated discourses of race and masculinity through a rigid and immutable framework of racial cannibalism. The bodies of Asian and Black men were profiled for markers of difference, at the phase when a new social contract in the post-civil rights era needed to be recalibrated because of a perfect storm of anti-systemic challenges. Theorizing Afro-Asian comparative racialization as a tool of crises management for market democracy—this chapter explores the ways in which Asian American incorporation into model minority citizenship, as obedient subjects over and against subversive Black subjects, mediated the crossfire between white capitalist reproduction and Black-led revolutionary critique. As such, this introduction intersects the projects of neoliberalism with the tenets of antiblackness.

Keywords:   Racial magnetism, Model minority, Black revolution, Afro-Asian racialization, Antiblackness

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