Citizenship as Accumulated Racial Capital

Halewood, Peter

Despite persistent racial and economic inequality, many believe the United States is becoming a post-racial and classless society where race and class analysis are anachronisms. This Essay will contest that claim by way of a critical reading of citizenship as reflected in American law and culture and demonstrate the continuing relevance of race theory and Marxian analysis, notwithstanding their somewhat uneasy relationship. It examines how law and culture construct and reflect, on the one hand, xenophobic and racist popular images of aliens—particularly refugees and undocumented aliens—and, on the other hand, enable and assure the accumulation of racial capital and value in the notion of deserving, legitimate, and racialized (white) citizenship.

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Columbia Journal of Race and Law

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October 20, 2012