Performative Assimilation in Law School
Publication: Jun 17
Publication: Jun 17
Publication: Jun 17
6 x 9
11 tables, 6 line drawings
Examining racialization, inequality, and professional socializationRead 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.
"Incidental Racialization is a significant contribution to the still scant literature on the experiences of Asian Americans and Latina/os. Along with providing crucial analysis on the multiple forms of racialization in higher education, it incorporates powerful testimonies from students highlighting how inequality is maintained by the persistence of whiteness in law. This is a must-read book for all those committed to racial and educational justice."
—Gilda L. Ochoa, Professor of Sociology and Chicana/o Studies at Pomona College and author of Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans and the Achievement Gap
"In Incidental Racialization , Pan identifies the roles of race, class, and/or gender as a key component in the power dynamics at play in professional socialization in the United States. By looking at panethnicity and the racial dynamics experienced by Latinos and Asian Americans, she adds an important institutional and structural analysis that takes racial hierarchy into account. Her shrewd intersectional analyses explicates the experiences members of these groups have, paying attention to their institutional positionality as well as their identity negotiations."
—Wendy Leo Moore, Associate Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University and author of Reproducing Racism: White Space, Elite Law Schools, and Racial Inequality
"In a highly accessible text with implications for educators across a range of professions, Yung-Yi Diana Pan offers a nuanced study of the lived experiences of about 100 individuals preparing to become lawyers.... Pan provides multiple vivid examples from the lives of participants that speak to the ways in which law school experiences are microcosms of U.S. society as a whole, and the ways race relations and the ongoing racialization of individuals and communities continues to be propagated today."
—Teachers College Record
"The focus on Latino and Asian American students is fresh, opening space for the analysis of immigrant experiences and identities within the book’s broader task of understanding racialization within a particular professional context.... Pan’s socialization story is one with nuance, capturing subtleties of Asian American and Latino experiences in relation to immigration, mobility, and, to a lesser degree, gender.... The work reiterates messages that bear repeating for both theory and practice: racial diversity is not the same as inclusion, nor visibility sufficient for integration or assimilation for full belonging." — American Journal of Sociology
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