Homicide Victimization in California: An Asian and Non-Asian Comparison by ProQuest


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									Violence and Victims, Volume 23, Number 6, 2008

                  Homicide Victimization in
                  California: An Asian and
                   Non-Asian Comparison
                                     Bohsiu Wu, PhD
                           California State University, Sacramento

     Previous literature has not specified the contextual differences that adequately explain
     Asian Americans’ underinvolvement in homicide. This study examines the social contexts
     within which homicide takes place. Homicide data from 1991 to 1999 in California are
     analyzed, and the results show that, compared to other groups, Asian homicide victims are
     more likely to be killed by family members, to be female, and to be married. Results of a
     negative binomial regression analysis also show that an acculturation factor that weakens
     the institution of family tends to affect general homicide more for Asian Americans than
     non-Asians but does not affect Asian family homicide. Social disadvantage factors affect
     non-Asian homicide more than Asian homicide.

Keywords: Asian; homicide; victimization; family; acculturation

         sian Americans in the United States, once a small minority, now are becom-
         ing an integral part of American society. According to the 2000 census, Asian
         Americans accounted for 3.6% of the U.S. population, and the percentage is
likely to increase as more immigrants arrive from Asia. In 2000, about three in four of
all foreign-born Asians had immigrated to the United States in the previous two decades.
Among all 50 states, California is the largest Asian immigrant–receiving state. Asians and
Pacific Islanders account for 11.2% of the population in California according to the 2000
census, compared to 9.6% from the previous census. The pace of the population growth is
also increasing in that Asians and Pacific Islanders will account for 12.8% of California’s
population according to a 2005 forecast by the Census Bureau (2005). As a result of the
aggregate size of Asian Americans, their presence in the United States is ever increasing.
    As the controversial term model minority implies, Asian Americans are overachiev-
ers compared to other racial and ethnic minorities. They are perceived as less likely to
commit crime, less likely to receive public assistance, and less likely to be alienated from
mainstream society (Takaki, 1994). Despite the backlash against this perception and the
stereotype that it reinforces, mainly from academics and community leaders who are of
Asian descent, the fact that Asian Americans are underinvolved in the crime scene is
beyond dispute. According to various official statistics, compared to other groups, Asian
Americans are less likely to be arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated (Bureau of Justice
Statistics, 2004; Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2005).
    The popular explanation of Asian Americans’ underinvolvement in crime focuses
on Asian Americans’ cultural emphasis on conformity, the strength of family, and the

© 2008 Springer Publishing Company                                                               743
DOI: 10.1891/0886-6708.23.6.743
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