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Excerpt from The New Immigrant Whiteness: Race, Neoliberalism, and Post-Soviet Migration to the United States

  • Author(s): Sadowski-Smith, Claudia
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License
Abstract

Mapping representations of post-1980s immigration from the former Soviet Union to the United States in interviews, reality TV shows, fiction, and memoirs, Claudia Sadowski-Smith shows how this nationally and ethnically diverse group is associated with idealized accounts of the assimilation and upward mobility of early twentieth-century arrivals from Europe. As it traces the contributions of historical Eastern European migration to the emergence of a white racial identity that continues to provide privileges to many post-Soviet migrants, the book places the post-USSR diaspora into larger discussions about the racialization of contemporary US immigrants under neoliberal conditions. "The New Immigrant Whiteness" argues that legal status on arrival — as participants in refugee, marriage, labor, and adoptive migration — impacts post-Soviet immigrants’ encounters with growing socioeconomic inequalities and tightened immigration restrictions, as well as their attempts to construct transnational identities. The book examines how their perceived whiteness exposes post-Soviet family migrants to heightened expectations of assimilation, explores undocumented migration from the former Soviet Union, analyzes post-USSR immigrants’ attitudes toward anti-immigration laws that target Latina/os, and considers similarities between post-Soviet and Asian immigrants in their association with notions of upward immigrant mobility. A compelling and timely volume, "The New Immigrant Whiteness" offers a fresh perspective on race and immigration in the United States today.

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