Document Sample
    SOC/ANTH 315
Kimberly P. Martin, Ph.D.
            Asian Americans
• Diverse group that is one of the fastest
  growing segments of U.S. population
• Includes Chinese Americans and Filipinos
• Includes the Hmong who do not
  correspond to any one nation
• See “race and ethnicity” in America
  framed as a Black-White issue
  – “Tri-racial”
    • Hispanics that are now added to Black-White
      racial issue
 The “Model Minority” Image
• General image people in U.S. hold
  of Asian Americans as a group
• Despite prejudice and
  discrimination, succeeded
  – Economically, socially, and
    educationally without political or
    violent confrontations with Whites
• Variation of blaming the victim –
 “praising the victim”
• Impressive school enrollment compared
  to the total population
• 2004
  – 48.2% Asian Americans, 25 or older had Bachelor
    degrees compares with 29.7% of Whites
• Often viewed as successful
  overachievers, but
  –   Have unrecognized and overlooked needs
  –   Experience discomfort and harassment on campus
  –   Under-represented on college campuses
  –   Experience stress and alienation on campus
• Asian Americans as group have more
  formal schooling than Whites
• Occupationally Asian Americans
  occupy mid-level occupations and are
  under-represented in top management
  positions in corporate America
• Glass ceiling and glass wall impact on
  upward mobility
• Do well in small family owned and
  operated businesses
• Agriculture
       Blaming the Victim

• Portraying the problems of racial and
  ethnic minorities as their fault rather
  than recognizing society’s
• Another misleading sign of success is
  high income as a group
  – Approach parity with Whites because of greater
    achievement than Whites in formal schooling
  – Whites earn more than their Asian counterparts
    of the same age
  – If educated overseas, they are devalued by U.S.
• “Model Minority” stereotype is a
  – Excludes Asians from social programs and
    conceals unemployment and other social ills
  – Local governments are eliminating Asian
    Americans from the definition of minority
           The Door Half Open
• Anti-Asian American feeling built on long
  cultural tradition
• Yellow Peril
  – Refers to the generalized prejudice toward Asian
      people and their customs
• Asian Americans are often stereotyped and
  ignored or described in negative ways in the
  –   Overgeneralizations
  –   Ethnic slurs
  –   Inflammatory reporting
  –   Japan bashing
  –   Media invisibility
  –   Model minority
• Subject to institutional discrimination
• Marginal status of Asian Pacific
  Islanders leaves them vulnerable to
  selective and collective oppression
  – 1999 Wen Ho Lee
    • Resulted in Asian Americans now viewed as
      security risks
    • 32% of Whites feel that Chinese Americans
      more loyal to China than US
  – Asian Americans avoid top-secret science
    employment because of subjection to racial
    profiling at high security levels
• Young Asians in U.S. struggle for
  identity because their heritage is
  devalued by those in positions of
  Political Activity & Pan-Asian Identity
• Politically Asian Americans tend to be
  less active than other subordinate
• Function of
  – historical influences
  – cultural influences
  – demographic influences
• Immigrants come from nations where
  political participation was unheard of or
  looked upon with skepticism and
  sometimes fear
• Six factors why Asian Americans not more
  active in politics
  – Traits needed to become a candidate are alien
    to Chinese culture
  – Older people remember blatant discrimination
    and tell others to be quiet and not attract
  – Recent immigrants have no experience with
    democracy and have distrust of government
  – Concentration on getting ahead economically
    and education of their children
  – Careers of the brightest are in business and
    science, not law or public administration
  – Asian American groups are dispersed and
    cannot control election of even local candidates
Diversity Among Asian Americans
• Census Bureau enumerates 47 groups
• Diverse historically, culturally,
  politically, and economically
• Asian Indians:
  – Pattern of immigration
    • Between 1820 and 1965 approximately 17,000
    • Many came under the 1965 Immigration and
      Naturalization Act
  – Tended to be better educated, urban
    and English speaking
– Religious diversity
  •   Hindu
  •   Sikhs
  •   Muslims
  •   Zoroastrians
– Religious traditions remain strong
  among new arrivals
– Concern about erosion of traditional family
   • Desi pronounced (“DAY-see”)
       – Colloquial name for people who trace their
        ancestry to South Asia, especially India
  • Arranged marriages
– Cultural conflicts between national
  traditions and American culture
• Filipino Americans
  – Third largest Asian American group in U.S.
  – Considered Asian because of geography, but
    physically and culturally, reflect centuries of
    Spanish colonial rule and recent colonial
    occupation of U.S.
  – Immigration divided into four distinct periods
    • First group in the 1920’s; male and employed in
    • Second group as contract workers in Hawaiian sugar
      cane plantations
    • Third group after World War II included veterans and
      wives of U.S. soldiers
    • Newest immigrants arrived under 1965 Immigration
      Act and included many professionals (physicians and
– American born Filipinos tend to be
  educationally and economically
  disadvantaged in comparison to new
– Lack significant ethnic organizations-
  function of
  • Strong loyalty to family and church
  • Diversity among Filipinos make forming ties
  • Organizations are club-like or fraternal and
    largely invisible
  • Show signs of seeking involvement in broader
• Southeast Asian Americans
  – Came largely from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos
  – Many arrived as political refugees after the
    Communist take over in their respective
  – Many experienced adjustment problems
    culturally, and economically
  – Crime among this ethnic group has two ugly
    • Reprisals for the war
    • Emergence of gangs
  – 1995 US initiated normal diplomatic relations
    with Vietnam
    • More movement between the nations
• Case Study: A Hmong Community
  – Sizable population in Wausau, Wisconsin
  – Come from rural areas of Laos and Vietnam
    • Recruited to work for the CIA during the war
    • Life difficult after US pulled out, many
      immigrated because US policy open to their
  – Faced major issues of assimilation especially
    in language and education
  – Conflict over contemporary US policies
    • Recruited to gather information about
      communists during the war
    • Continued disputes over whether US may lift
      trade barriers with communist-run government of
• Korean Americans
  – Community is result of three waves of
    • First group of 7,000 immigrants came between 1903
      and 1910 and settled and worked as laborers in
    • Second group of 14,000 came after the Korean War
      from 1951-1964
    • Third group and largest group came under the 1965
      Immigration Act
  – Face cultural and economic adjustment
    • Stress, loneliness, alcoholism, family strife, and
      mental disorders
  – Ilchomose
    • “1.5 generation” – Korean immigrants that
      accompanied parents to US when young and now
      occupy middle marginal positions between Korean
      and US culture
– Church is the most visible and important
  organization outside of the family
  • Provides a sense of community
  • In the early 1990s, nationwide attention was
    given to the friction between Korean
    Americans and other subordinate groups,
    primarily African Americans, but also
– Kye (pronounced “kay”)
  • Special form of development capital used to
   subsidize businesses and is not protected by
   laws or insurance
– Conflict with other minority groups
  gained national attention during 1992
  South LA riots – Middle Man Minority
• Hawaii and its People
  – Effect of White arrival on the Hawaiians was
    • Civil war and disease reduced number to 30,000 by
      1900 and is probably 10,000 now
  – 1900 Organic Act
    • Guaranteed racial equality but foreign rule was
      psychologically devastating
  – Japanese and Haoles (Wealthy Whites)
    dominate the economy
    • Japanese especially important in education – 58% of
      teachers and also dominate politics on the island
  – Hawaii has always been more racially
    harmonious than mainland
    • Never had segregation, Jim Crow, slavery, or laws
      against interracial marriage
– Sovereignty Movement
  • Effort by indigenous people of Hawaii to secure a
    measure of self-government and restoration of
    their lands
  • Similar to the sovereignty efforts of Native
– Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization
 Act or the Akaka Bill
  • Provide people of Hawaiian ancestry more say over
     – provide affordable housing, take steps to preserve
       culture, and create a means by which they could
       better express their grievances
– Hawaii is no way a racial paradise
  • Certain occupations and social classes are
    dominated by a single racial group
  • Relative to the mainland, race relations
    characterized more by harmony than discord

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