Shanshan LAN

Learning race and class: Chinese Americans in multiracial Bridgeport (2007)


This research explores how Chinese Americans from different social stratum negotiate the ideological and material impacts of race and racism in Bridgeport, a multiracial working class immigrant community adjacent to Chicago’s Chinatown. Specifically, I observe that Chinese Americans in Bridgeport are subjected to various and even contradictory experiences of racialization: they are often racialized together with Latinos as “foreigners” who are taking over the nation; as people of color side by side with African Americans; and/or as a model minority in opposition to both Latinos and African Americans. My research further documents that the Chinese American effort to navigate shifting racial hierarchies in Bridgeport is marked by class distinctions: middle class Chinese Americans often act as cultural brokers initiating new immigrants into the dominant American race and class system.