The fear of alien attacks, the need to violently exclude Others seen as dangerous or polluting has formed a critical component of the United States’ national identity from the Alien and Sedition Acts of the 1790s through Joseph McCarthy’s war on domestic Communists to the present. To fear and dehumanize alien Others, to ruthlessly hunt them down, is truly American.
The complex ties Mexicans and Chinese formed in northern Mexico during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the integration of Chinese men into local communities led to racial and cultural fusion and over time to the formation of a new cultural identity—Chinese Mexican. Racially and culturally hybrid families straddled the boundaries of identity and nation. They made alternating claims on Chineseness and Mexicanness during their quest to belong somewhere, especially as social and political uproar erupted in Mexico, the United States, and China.