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The C-Word of Asian American Studies?
The word “coolie” denigrated and racialized Chinese and Indian labor in the Americas in the late 19th and early 20th century. While recent Asian American scholarship has explored the origins of this word and its impact on the history of Asian Americans, we need to consider the problems and power of the word today. By exploring how the word persists in the United States and the Caribbean, we should think about referring to “coolie” as the c-word of Asian American Studies.