Incidental Racialization

Performative Assimilation in Law School

Yung-Yi Diana Pan
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1385-7
Publication: Jun 17

HC: $92.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1384-0
Publication: Jun 17

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1386-4
Publication: Jun 17

230 pages
6 x 9
11 tables, 6 line drawings

Examining racialization, inequality, and professional socialization

Read the Introduction (pdf).


Despite the growing number of Asian American and Latino/a law students, many panethnic students still feel as if they do not belong in this elite microcosm, which reflects the racial inequalities in mainstream American society. While in law school, these students—often from immigrant families, and often the first to go to college—have to fight against racialized and gendered stereotypes. In Incidental Racialization, Diana Pan rigorously explores how systemic inequalities are produced and sustained in law schools .

Through interviews with more than 100 law students and participant observations at two law schools, Pan examines how racialization happens alongside professional socialization. She investigates how panethnic students negotiate their identities, race, and gender in an institutional context. She also considers how their lived experiences factor into their student organization association choices and career paths.

Incidental Racialization sheds light on how race operates in a law school setting for both students of color and in the minds of white students. It also provides broader insights regarding racial inequalities in society in general.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Law School, Panethnicity, and Confessions of an Imposter
1. Prestige, Justice, and Everything in Between: Why Pursue Law?
2. “The Skin of a Foreigner”: Asian Americans and Latinos in Liminality
3. Diversity Is Good in a Globalized World, and It’s Neat: White Students, Diverse Peers, and Privilege
4. The Set and Stagehands: Challenges of Being Nonwhite in Law School
5. Blocking the Backstage: Panethnic Student Organizations and Racialized Affiliations
6. Between “Martyr” and “Sellout”: Managing Professional and (Pan)Ethnic Identities
7. Typecasting in Law School: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Immigrant Background
Conclusion: Learning to Become a Successful Racialized Lawyer

Appendix: Respondent Characteristics

About the Author(s)

Yung-Yi Diana Pan is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.