The Political Branding of Us and Them: The Branding of Asian Immigrants in the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms and Supreme Court Opinions 1876-1924 Article
Date of Publication:
Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, The Political Branding of Us and Them: The Branding of Asian Immigrants in the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms and Supreme Court Opinions 1876-1924, 96 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1214 (2021)Clicking on the button will copy the full recommended citation.
In this piece, I examine the political branding of Asian immigrants by comparing the rhetoric used in the political platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties from 1876 to 1924 to the language deployed in U.S. Supreme Court opinions during the same time period. The negative verbiage repeated at national political conventions branded the Chinese is a threat to labor, immoral, unassimilable, diseased, and invaders. Interestingly, the Republican authors of their political platforms were multiracial, and yet they produced rhetoric as harshly anti-Asian as their Democratic counterparts, who included ex-Confederate soldiers and even KKK members. And disappointingly, the Supreme Court picked up this derogatory language found in both parties’ political platforms and continued to echo it in cases that diminished the rights of Chinese and other Asian immigrants. This history is then linked to the present day through the example of the negative impact of politicians’ calling the contemporary COVID-19 pandemic “Kung Flu.”