race and citizenship

Questions/Goals for this Week:

  1. What obstacles have Asian Americans faced in trying to attain citizenship?
  2. How has race been defined through legal and political processes?

Required Reading:

For your discussion this week, you should consider a couple of issues: First, what seems to be the legal definition of race, based on your reading of the Ozawa and Thind cases? Is race defined by phenotype (e.g., external genetic signifiers like color), genotype (genetric ancestry), behavior (culture, traditions), ideology (religion, political beliefs), or some combination of all of these?

Secondly, in both cases, the Court concludes with a declaration that its decisions are not meant to be taken as a sign of disrespect. From Ozawa:

“Of course there is not implied — either in the legislation or in our interpretation of it — any suggestion of individual unworthiness or racial inferiority. These considerations are in manner involved.”

And in Thind:

“It is very far from our thought to suggest the slightest question of racial superiority or inferiority. What we suggest is merely racial difference, and it is of such character and extent that the great body of our people instinctively recognize and reject the thought of assimilation.”

Is the Court sincere? If so, is the Court deluded? If not, then why does the Court include these disclaimers. Would these justices, if they were legislators voting on a similar policy feel compelled to make the same disclaimers? What does this say about the role and functioning of these two branches of government?

Or, if there are other original thoughts or reflections that you would like to share in your response, please do so. I ask that you do make specific references to your readings while avoiding mere summarization of the texts.

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* Make sure you read the articles.

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