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Keywords:

  • [advertising;
  • Asian American;
  • class;
  • ethnicity;
  • language;
  • media;
  • race;
  • semiotics]

ABSTRACT

How does Asian American advertising contribute to the construction of race and ethnicity in the contemporary United States? In this article, I consider how executives write advertising copy and create original artwork for Asian American advertisements in ways that index brand identities. I introduce the analytic of “metaproduction,” a process of material and linguistic signification that uses metacultural and metalinguistic values to connect microlevel signification of language and culture with broader social meanings and values. Analysis of ethnographic data from New York City advertising agencies shows how racialization occurs through the transformation of Asian Americans from model minority producers into model minority consumers.