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Examining racialization, inequality, and professional socialization

Incidental Racialization

Performative Assimilation in Law School

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Yung-Yi Diana Pan

"Incidental Racialization is a significant contribution to the still scant literature on the experiences of Asian Americans and Latina/os. Along with providing crucial analysis on the multiple forms of racialization in higher education, it incorporates powerful testimonies from students highlighting how inequality is maintained by the persistence of whiteness in law. This is a must-read book for all those committed to racial and educational justice."
Gilda L. Ochoa, Professor of Sociology and Chicana/o Studies at Pomona College and author of Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans and the Achievement Gap

Despite the growing number of Asian American and Latino/a law students, many panethnic students still feel as if they do not belong in this elite microcosm, which reflects the racial inequalities in mainstream American society. While in law school, these students—often from immigrant families, and often the first to go to college—have to fight against racialized and gendered stereotypes. In Incidental Racialization, Diana Pan rigorously explores how systemic inequalities are produced and sustained in law schools.

Through interviews with more than 100 law students and participant observations at two law schools, Pan examines how racialization happens alongside professional socialization. She investigates how panethnic students negotiate their identities, race, and gender in an institutional context. She also considers how their lived experiences factor into their student organization association choices and career paths.

Incidental Racialization sheds light on how race operates in a law school setting for both students of color and in the minds of white students. It also provides broader insights regarding racial inequalities in society in general.

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Excerpt

Read the Introduction (pdf).


Reviews

"In Incidental Racialization, Pan identifies the roles of race, class, and/or gender as a key component in the power dynamics at play in professional socialization in the United States. By looking at panethnicity and the racial dynamics experienced by Latinos and Asian Americans, she adds an important institutional and structural analysis that takes racial hierarchy into account. Her shrewd intersectional analyses explicates the experiences members of these groups have, paying attention to their institutional positionality as well as their identity negotiations."
Wendy Leo Moore, Associate Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University and author of Reproducing Racism: White Space, Elite Law Schools, and Racial Inequality

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Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Law School, Panethnicity, and Confessions of an Imposter
1. Prestige, Justice, and Everything in Between: Why Pursue Law?
2. “The Skin of a Foreigner”: Asian Americans and Latinos in Liminality
3. Diversity Is Good in a Globalized World, and It’s Neat: White Students, Diverse Peers, and Privilege
4. The Set and Stagehands: Challenges of Being Nonwhite in Law School
5. Blocking the Backstage: Panethnic Student Organizations and Racialized Affiliations
6. Between “Martyr” and “Sellout”: Managing Professional and (Pan)Ethnic Identities
7. Typecasting in Law School: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Immigrant Background
Conclusion: Learning to Become a Successful Racialized Lawyer

Appendix: Respondent Characteristics
Notes
Reference
Index

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About the Author(s)

Yung-Yi Diana Pan is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

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Subject Categories

Sociology
Race and Ethnicity
Law and Criminology

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