Asian Americans are those Americans whose families came mainly from Asia within the past 300 years (not counting Siberians, Jews, Armenians, Georgians and Lebanese Christians). They account for 4% of all Americans – more people than in Ohio.
By metropolitan area:
- more than a million: Los Angeles (1.88m), New York (1.88m), San Francisco (1.01m)
- more than 20%: Honolulu (44%), San Jose (31%), San Francisco (23%)
The four main kinds:
- Brain-drain: like those from India, South Korea and the Philippines, particularly doctors, nurses, engineers and university students who stay on, filling a vacuum created by America’s terrible public schools (23rd worldwide in mathematics, 31st in science). They do well since they are voluntary immigrants and have better educations than most whites. They still experience racism, like glass ceilings, university admission quotas, stereotyping and higher rates of unemployment. Their families mainly came since the 1960s. Their children gave rise to the model minority stereotype.
- Refugee: like those from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia who fled American wars. Their families mainly came in the 1970s and 1980s. Many are stuck in poverty. Among these are Vietnamese Amerasians, the largely disowned children of American soldiers.
- “Muslim”: quote-unquote because some are Sikhs or Christians who “look Muslim” to those brainwashed by American television. Despite many being “Caucasian” they have been racialized, particularly since 9/11, suffering hate crimes and civil rights abuses. They are stereotyped as dangerous and violent.
- Old-school: Those whose families came before the 1960s, mostly in the 1800s from Japan and China. They were shut out of many fields. White American culture stereotyped them mercilessly: Charlie Chan, Dragon Ladies, China Dolls, the Yellow Peril, etc. Before the Asian brain drain whites saw them not as intelligent but as “inscrutable”.
There are others who are none of the above, like Korean adoptees and hapas (mixed-race).
On the White American Real Person Scale, most are, as of 2012, Almost Real, with “Muslims” seen as Despised Others.
The civil rights of all are at the mercy of white authorities, especially when said authorities feel threatened by a foreign Asian power. You saw that with the Japanese American internment in the 1940s and you see it now with civil rights abuses against “Muslims”. It is a good example of the perpetual foreigner stereotype - where Asian Americans only become “American” when they win the Nobel Prize or an Olympic medal.
The model minority stereotype: Whites love to point to the success of brain-drain Asians to bash blacks, Latinos and Native Americans and to prove how wonderfully unracist America is. But if you take into account things like parents’s education, most Asian Americans are not a particularly good example of the Bootstrap Myth. Or even studiousness.
“Asian American” as a term came out of activist circles in the 1970s, becoming common by the 1980s. Before then most saw themselves in ethnic terms (Japanese American, etc). The murder of Vincent Chin in 1982 was a wake-up call: it showed that they were all in the same boat, that “playing by the rules” was not enough.
- Frank Wu: “Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White” (2002) – Excellent! The single best book on Asian Americans that I know of.
- Ronald Takaki: “Different Mirror” (1993) – great on Asian American history and American history in general
- Real Person Scale
- Vincent Chin
- Japanese American internment
- The perpetual foreigner stereotype
- The model minority stereotype
- bootstrap myth
- Jehanzeb: The Hate I Will Never Forget: A Decade After 9/11 - post by a Muslim American
- Three Bears Effect
- growing up Asian American
- Gene Yang: American Born Chinese
- Tips on writing about Asian America
- Stereotypes about East Asian women
- David Carradine - a good example of yellowface
- “Too Asian”
- Korean adoptees
- Vietnamese Amerasians
- Asian double eyelid surgery
- Half white, half Asian
- “How can it be racist if Asians do better?”
- The intelligence of Asians: a brief history: 1840-2010
- “Asian Americans have a higher median family income”
- Asian American IQ and income
- Asian fetish
- Black men, Asian women
- Adrian Tomine: Shortcomings