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This study examines the effect of race-consciousness upon the pronunciation of American English and upon the ideology of standardization in the twentieth century. It shows how the discourses of prescriptivist pronunciation, the xenophobic reaction against immigration to the eastern metropolises- especially New York - and the closing of the western frontier together constructed an image of the American West and Midwest as the locus of proper speech and ethnicity. This study is of interest to scholars and students in linguistics, American studies, cultural studies, Jewish studies, and studies in race, class, and gender.