American racial politics during the long Korean War formed what this essay terms Afro-Asian antagonism, a racial hate between African Americans and Asians (and Asian Americans). When the Truman administration issued Executive Order 9981 and proclaimed its commitment to military racial integration in 1948, two years before the outbreak of the Korean War, it seemed to signal a significant step of racial progress. Black servicemen who enlisted in the “liberalized” military, however, were strategically deployed to represent American national violence, especially to the eyes of Asians who were internalizing antiblack racism imported from the United States through the military apparatus. In the face of decolonization and an upsurge in civil rights movements, this article argues, the executive order molded Black Korean War veterans into an instrument to abort Afro-Asian connections while promoting racial liberalism to a global audience. The Korean War inaugurated the American Cold War racial formation that endures into the twenty-first century. Contrasting two Korean War novels written by Asian American and African American authors—Nora Okja Keller’s Fox Girl (2002) and Toni Morrison’s Home (2012)—this article traces how Afro-Asian orphans and a Black veteran internalize and challenge the Afro-Asian antagonisms of the long Korean War.

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