WEek 3 Reflection post

This week’s readings reflected how the state can define race and nation and its larger effect on societies views of its people.
The use of law by the state to define groups and help create group identities plays out differently throughout the world. While some laws prohibit certain people from entering a country or marrying others outside of their legally defined group, other countries define national groups and allow people opt into which they belong to. Those who do not belong to a state-sanctioned community may find their rights under threat and their identity delegitimized.
In the first instance, (the readings on the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Defining Whiteness) we see the US government using its legal power to assimilate some groups of people from Europe it had initially considered non-white to white, while also excluding people by continually redefining those who are non-white, as they did starting with the Chinese and over time, adding new groups of people to the definition of Asian (Japanese, Sikhs).
The evolution of the idea of whiteness mirrors that of the growing number of migrants from southern and eastern Europe. Most likely, as these communities assimilated, it was seen as politically expedient to include these non WASP peoples into ‘whiteness’ as they had become economically and politically important parts of the nation. They also provided an opportunity to grow the ‘white voting block’ after the enfranchisement of women, native Americans and African Americans threatened to radically change the political landscape.
On the other hand, the Bringa article discusses the creation of ‘ethnic’ and ‘nations’ in the context of 20st century socialist regimes in Eastern Europe. Where the state defined what was a nation, and people were allowed to pick what they were on a census. However, there were a number of levels defining race and their legal status. While Serbs and Croats were provided ‘homelands’, Bosnia was the one state that was defined by one ethno-religious group. This lack of equity allowed for Serbs and Croats to challenge the idea of Bosnian Muslims as being a separate group in an effort to increase their own population’s numbers within the region, creating a dominant majority and thus creating leverage as to politically controlling the region.
The Bringa article was really interesting but do not have the space to discuss further. I would have liked to discuss more deeply.

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