The Theme of Racism in Mae Ngai's 'Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of America'

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Racism is a term that has been used time and time again to describe dark moments in world history. Individuals and nations that have that tag associated with them have often found themselves on the receiving end of ridicule and condemnation for their blatant acts that denied sections of the population basic human rights. Some of the most famous historical events that are synonymous with racism include Segregation in the United States, Slave trade, the Holocaust and also Apartheid. These were instigated by people who can today be termed as Evil for lack of a better word.
According to Mae Ngai, Author of “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of America,” The United States as a nation is currently in the process of perpetuating one of the worst examples of institutionalized racism under the guise of anti-immigration policies that seek to deny individuals of specific races the chance to thrive in the United States. The victims of this according to the author are individuals who are of South American and Asian descent. In her discourse presented through the book, the line between race and a person’s status as an illegal immigrant is non-existent. Her publication demonstrates the different ways in which race and illegal immigrant status are closely related. The thing with racism is that it is manifested through a scenario of some races being more superior to others whether this is mentioned expressly or not. American society today is without a doubt defined by the immigration laws it has put in place (Ngai, 72).
The first example that the author uses to illustrate the existence of a strong link between the application of harsh immigration laws and racist tendencies is the John Reed Act that was ratified in 1924. This pie...

... middle of paper ... status as citizens is illustrated through a comparison of the border crossing laws that were put in place in the Southern border with Mexico and the Northern border in Canada. The Southern border was subject to harsher regulations that made it illegal to cross while the crossing of the Northern one was considered nothing more than an administrative mistake. This gradually lowered the status of Mexican-Americans who eventually lost the ‘American’ and became lumped together with Mexicans.
From the above it is quite evident that what the US Government has been doing through its application of immigration laws is the exclusion of specific races from its borders. Despite the reasons that may be given for these actions, it is clear that the author raises valid points regarding the disturbing similarity between immigration laws and institutionalized racism (Ngai, 78).

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that racism has been used to describe dark moments in world history, such as segregation in the united states, slave trade, the holocaust, and apartheid.
  • Analyzes how mae ngai, author of "impossible subjects: illegal aliens and the making of america," perpetuates institutionalized racism under the guise of anti-immigration policies.
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