The history of “assimilation” as a racist code word

For Trump, “assimilation” is a particularly loaded code word. If his goal were truly to promote social cohesion, an immigration policy which privileges those with strong familial ties to current residents would seem an optimal tack. In speaking of assimilation as the ultimate virtue, though, the Trump administration is referring to something else entirely, harkening back to a time when citizenship was contingent upon whiteness. A series of cases from the early 1920s demonstrates what has happened when America has formalized “assimilation” as a legal concept, rather than a loose social construction—it is used to codify special privileges for whites and legitimize abuse toward people of color.
Source: The history of “assimilation” as a racist code word.

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