BOOK in process

Killing Us Softly: Immigrant Women Activists on Race, Class, Emotions & the Body (under advance contract, Stanford University Press)

This book under review at Stanford Press examines undocumented Latin@ and marginalized Asian immigrants, the majority of whom are women, who mobilize collectively for clean air, immigration reform, and school reform in the industrial-port belt of Los Angeles. It is in this uncelebrated corner of La La Land that most of the goods all of us Americans buy are shipped and carted through and a disproportionate number of oil refineries are sited, much to the health and political detriment of the activists Kim studies. She finds that these groups work on these issues namely by redefining their notions of politics, community, and citizenship, in part, as a challenge to America’s nativist racist citizenship regime and its system of class injustice. As they prioritize in this process the body and emotions, Kim finds that the immigrants perceive the disproportionate environmental pollution in their communities, the surveillance and deportation of their unauthorized Latin@ brothers and sisters, the political marginalization of Asian Americans, and all of their neglected schools as the products of a racism and classism that are embodied and emotionally unjust; by extension, an embodied racism and classism grant elites bodily and emotional privilege over “us.” To render this argument, Kim draws on several years of ethnographic fieldwork (as a participant & observer), in-depth interviews, and documents analysis concerning these Asian and Latin@ immigrant activists who, in various ways, are being “killed softly.”