Chang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker probes how ethnicity can operate as a commodity to fuel corporatized cultural difference in US liberal democracy. The normalization of “ethnic informants” in Native Speaker creates specific individuals whose existence function as cultural capital, or “brands” of human difference, conducive for both state management and market exploitation of ethnic humans. Lee’s Native Speaker thinks through what I call the humanization of capital, whereby capital is “humanized” and personified as human and ethnic to challenge the hegemony of global capital and political liberalism and offer a concept of belonging through the perpetual substitution of figurations.


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