Document Type

Honors Project


With the Western invasion and colonization during the 20th Century, China began its internalization of the Western Enlightenment values, leading the country to an identity crisis that paved the way for its race to modernity. Attempting to understand the world and itself, China developed a new racial order largely shaped by the Western discourse and distinctly different from its ancient understanding. Based on 18 semi-structured interviews, this study explores contemporary racialization in China and its application in the racial project of immigration. I found that racial understanding in China is based on a racial/cultural hierarchy. The hierarchical top, Whites/Europeans, represents development and modernity. The hierarchical bottom, Blacks/Africans, symbolize backwardness, poverty, and cultural threats. In radicalizing the foreigners, the Chinese itself is simultaneously racialized by being located in the middle of the hierarchy, in a constant quest to seek validation from the West. Nevertheless, China’s cultural/racial understanding is an unfinished project, shaped by the diverse discourse of natives and subject to the consequence of the social remittance of foreign-socialized individuals.



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