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June 1, 2024

Research articles about Asian American, 2023-2024

 

The other day, I went online in search of new – or at least, newish material – about Asian America. Along the way, I also visited some of my favorite online sites. The links below are a collection of articles that I found interesting. There’s a lot to think about.

AAPI Heritage Month matters more than ever

“Nearly 50 years later, Asian American and Pacific Islander month features revelry and racial justice” (Associated Press, 2024) What started as Asian Pacific Heritage Week in 1977 became AAPI Heritage Month in 2009. The last few years of anti-Asian hate have been rough, starting with the pandemic at the end of 2019. There was also the 2021 spa massacre in Atlanta, Ga., which left eight dead, including four Korean and two Chinese immigrant women.

 

Growing political clout

“Key facts about Asian American eligible voters in 2024” (Pew Research 2024). For the past 20 years, Asian Americans have been the fastest growing group of voters. A total of 2 million new voters (15% growth) have registered since 2020. In November 2024, 15 million Asian Americans will be able to vote, with 55% of them concentrated in five states: California, New York, Texas, Hawai’i and New Jersey. Asian Americans are the only major racial/ethnic group in the country with more naturalized citizens than American-born (56% vs. 44%). More than half of all Asian Americans (58%) are eligible to vote compared to the general population (72%); 62% identify as Democrats. This link also has key 2024 facts about Black and Hispanic eligible voters.

 

Let’s start with some general demographics

“Key facts about Asian Americans, a diverse and growing population” (Pew Research 2021) Fact: 85% of all Asian Americans come from six heritage groups: Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese. Chinese-origin Asians account for a total of 24% out of the 85%. Fifteen additional origin groups each contribute up to 2% of the overall Asian American population: Pakistani, Thai, Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, Taiwanese, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Burmese, Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Mongolian, Bhutanese, Okinawan. This article has lots of population details, including a U.S. map that shows where the largest Asian origin groups live.

 

Big, breakthrough study lots of details

The next batch of links are all based on nuggets of data from the same comprehensive 2023 report by Pew Research Center: “Diverse Cultures and Shared Experiences Shape Asian American Identities.” This in-depth survey about Asian Americans is based on 7,006 interviews. While I sometimes disagree with how the Pew folks interpret their findings, they do good work. 

“The Asian American Experience” (Pew Research 2023) Lots of demographics: 23 million Asian Americans live in the U.S. From 2000-2019, this was the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the country.  Only 9% say that they share a common culture; 90% say that Asian Americans,  come from many diverse cultures.

“Discrimination Experiences Shape Most Asian Americans’ Lives” (Pew Research 2023) Throughout history, Asian Americans, including the U.S.-born, have been treated as perpetual foreigners. Most folks have experienced stereotyping as the Model Minority. Backlash has grown against South Asians and Muslims since Sept. 11, 2011. Going back in time: The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act limited immigration and denied the right of U.S. citizenship until the 1940s. During World War II, Japanese Americans were incarcerated in concentration camps.

 

“Relatively few Asian Americans say they’re well-informed about Asian history in the U.S” (Pew Research 2023)” Only 24% of Asian Americans consider themselves “extremely or very informed about their history” in the U.S.

 

“Among Asian Americans, U.S.-born children of immigrants are most likely to have hidden part of their heritage” (Pew Research 2023) The pressures are greatest on the U.S.-born children of immigrants as they try to fit in assimilate. They were the most likely to hide out of a fear of embarrassment related to revealing cultural practices related to customs, food, traditional clothing and/or religion. One out of five Asian Americans has hidden some part of their heritage from non-Asians. The most educated Asian Americans hid themselves the most.

 

And, two final thoughts from me

Thought #1: One of my pet peeves is that most people use “first-generation American” to describe the American-born children of immigrants. Wrong!

I hate this because:

  • What does this attitude say about immigrants? Are they zero-generation Americans? This stinking thinking is an insult. The immigrant’s journey is the foundation of the immigrant experience. Immigrants are the first generation.
  • Calling the American-born children “first-generation American” is racist and and insulting to immigrants. This mindset says that you’re only a “real” American if you’re born here. And, if you speak English with an accent, you’re definitely NOT an American.
  • Solution: Own the fact that if you are an immigrant family with American-born children, you have been here for TWO GENERATIONS. You have roots. Do not let the haters treat you like a perpetual foreigner.
  • I’ve been ranting about this for nearly 10 years. Here’s my 2015 blog post: “Are you first- or second-generation American?” 

Thought #2: In terms of learning more about Asian American history, I’d like to share a post: “The historic trauma of Asian American women, since Day 1.” I wrote it in 2017 and learned so much about the ancestors, this country’s disempowering beliefs about my body, and, my own ability to overcome.