Study compares the racial consciousness of black and Asian-Americans

December 19, 2008

Washington, DC--Asian Americans are less attached to their racial identity than black Americans. This finding confirms that minority politics in the United States today is more complex than generally realized and that understanding the increasingly multicultural nature of the U.S. requires perspectives that incorporate, but go beyond, the black historical experience.

The study which led this finding was conducted by political scientists Jane Junn (Rutgers University) and Natalie Masuoka (Tufts University). It is entitled "Asian American Identity: Shared Racial Status and Political Context," and appears in the December issue of Perspectives on Politics, a journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA). The article is available online at http://www.apsanet.org/media/pdfs/POPDec08Junn.pdf.

Asian Americans exhibit relatively high levels of economic and residential integration with mainstream white America, leading to predictions that they are assimilating more rapidly than black Americans and other minority or immigrant groups. They are also among the fastest growing minorities in the United States, having grown from less than 1 million people in 1960 to 14 million today. In political terms this growth has made Asian Americans a decisive swing vote in states such as California, New York, and Washington. Yet, despite their differences with black Americans, Asian Americans do exhibit racial consciousness in politics.

The study explores this phenomenon. It employs data drawn from the 2004 Ethnic Politics Survey, which included comparison groups of 354 Asian and 416 black Americans. The survey further divided the respondents into two groups, one of which was exposed to questions crafted to accentuate racial identification and measure the resulting sense of group identity. The outcome was that while the overall proportion of Asian Americans who say race is important in their racial consciousness is smaller than for blacks, in the experiment "Asian Americans showed strong results from the experimental manipulation, demonstrating substantial malleability."

In their analysis, the authors identify three factors that drive Asian American group identity: state-sponsored racial classification, immigration policy, and racial stereotypes. They then assess how these factors structure the ways in which Asian Americans identify with their group: "We argue that racial identity for Asian Americans exists as a more latent identity compared to blacks, and we find Asian American group racial consciousness much more susceptible to the surrounding context," state the authors. "In the multi-racial U.S. polity today," they conclude, "we now have the opportunity to consider racial dynamics beyond the binary of black and white."
-end-
For more data on the Asian American electorate in the 2008 election containing additional work by these authors and other researchers, visit the National Asian American Survey: http://www.naasurvey.com/.

The American Political Science Association (est. 1903) is the leading professional organization for the study of politics and has over 14,000 members in 80 countries. For more news and information about political science research visit the APSA media website, www.politicalsciencenews.org.

American Political Science Association

Related Politics Articles from Brightsurf:

Fashion's underappreciated role in presidential politics
New research reveals style plays an underappreciated role in presidential politics and has meaningful consequences for presidential power.

'Lazy use' of term populist has helped to legitimize far-right politics
New analysis from academics at the University of Bath into the media's use of the term 'populism' highlights how its overuse has clouded important debates about nationalism, racism, and xenophobia.

Justice for all: How race and American identity may affect politics
New Penn State research examined whether feeling like you belong in America -- or not -- affected how members of different races and ethnicities participated in politics.

Women quotas in politics have unintended consequences
Women continue to be scarce in the halls of power.

The use of jargon kills people's interest in science, politics
When scientists and others use their specialized jargon terms while communicating with the general public, the effects are much worse than just making what they're saying hard to understand.

Stressed out: Americans making themselves sick over politics
Nearly 40% of Americans surveyed for a new study said politics is stressing them out, and 4% -- the equivalent of 10 million US adults -- reported suicidal thoughts related to politics.

Study: Children are interested in politics but need better education from parents and schools
The 2020 election is approaching -- how should we talk with children about this election and about politics more broadly?

Forget 'Obamageddon', 'prepping' is now part of mainstream US politics and culture
Criminologist Dr. Michael Mills challenges the traditional view that US 'preppers' are motivated by extreme right-wing or apocalyptic views.

Study examines how picture books introduce kids to politics
Meagan Patterson of the University of Kansas has authored a study in which she analyzed political messages in some of the most popular picture books of the last several years to see how political topics are introduced to children.

US abortion politics: How did we get here and where are we headed?
After Roe v. Wade, the pro-life movement accelerated rapidly, describes Munson in a new paper, 'Protest and Religion: The US Pro-Life Movement,' published last week in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics.

Read More: Politics News and Politics Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.