Study Finds Asian Americans Are More Prejudiced

July 8, 2009

The Times article focused mostly on black-white relationships but this paragraph caught my eye:

Several studies have shown that living with a roommate of a different race changes students’ attitudes. One, from the University of California at Los Angeles, generally found decreased prejudice among students with different-race roommates -- but those who roomed with Asian-Americans, the group that scored the highest on measures of prejudice, became more prejudiced themselves.  [emphasis added]

Wow, that's offhandedly saying Asian Americans are more racist than other groups. Are we absorbing our parents' and grandparents' stereotypical views about other races (if they have them), even on a subconscious level? Or, are the stereotypes about Asian Americans affecting how other groups view us?

I have to admit, many of my friends are Asian American. Do we cocoon ourselves too much, the way the Times story says students do on campuses? How diverse is your social network?


Harry Mok

Editor in chief

Editor in Chief Harry Mok wrote about growing up on a Chinese vegetable farm for the second issue of Hyphen and has been a volunteer editor since 2004. As a board member of the San Francisco and New York chapters of the Asian American Journalists Association, Harry has recruited and organized events for student members. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was also a graduate student instructor in the Asian American Studies Department.



I agree with taking reports like this with a grain of salt (or several). But it sure didn't help that I read this shortly after my daughter complained about an Asian-American girl spouting off stereotypes about blacks this afternoon.
You know, people who have been made to see color (i.e. people of color) all their lives are very aware of perceptions and stereotypes and acceptable/unacceptable ways of being and behaviors. But it doesn't always mean they have the right vocabulary for expressing those early impressions. And sometimes, a nascent vocabulary about race makes one sound racist. An Asian American girl spouting stereotypes about blacks... yes, it is racist. But she is SEEING race as opposed to not seeing difference at all, which is also not a solution, which is generally a "solution" that hides actual problems. Why isn't anyone teaching this Asian American girl how to see race differently?
The study itself provides the answer: it says that only 5% of the Asian American incoming class immigrated from the US more than 5 years ago. It speculates that homogeneity in Asian countries (in terms of race) to be the cause.
Joy, I think it goes back to insularity, as Harry suggested. But it's a problem every human being deals with: We all view others through our personal filters. We know what the result is if the filter is narrow because of whom we grew up around, with whom we attended school, with whom we socialize. And parents and family often are responsible for that — they determine where we go to school, in what neighborhood we live, in what social circles we travel. If that cycle perpetuates itself generation after generation, it's no wonder that no one is teaching the girl at the skating rink to see race differently. (We certainly know the *other* messages she would be getting about race from the broader media.)
If my 11-year-old daughter's experience is any indication, it's not just a college phenomenon. She's had similar experiences in school (her school is about 85% Asian). Parents tend to be split about 50-50, recent immigrants/native born US citizens.
In my own personal experience, my Asian friends are, by far, more racist than my friends of any other ethnicity. Is it racist to say that? Haha, from what I can tell, its the Asian-American sub-culture that is more accepting of racism.
If human beings were all color blind, we would still have things to bicker and dislike about each other.
Pin, it's not racist to say that, but my personal experience is the exact opposite.All the analysis of why this study came to this conclusion assumes the conclusion is correct. The methodology is shoddy at best. I mean, it's social sciences, so it's fairly difficult to come up with failproof methods.But if you allow a bunch of white people to come up with a test on how to measure racism, damn sure they will not find that white people are the most racist. I'm sure it was not intentional, but the way it's put together is based on their own assumptions about themselves. "Well I'm not racist, so X behavior is also not racist" when who really knows?For white people, being against dating other races is mad racist. But for POC, being against dating your own race - that's mad racist (and self-hating). But an Asian person who has dated only non-Asians will be counted as less racist in that area, even if his/her reason is "I don't date Asians because they smell like fish and are too short and can't drive."Let me put a study together with access to the same resources and I can come to the conclusion that Asians are the least racist. I'm sure of it.
They probably came to this conclusion because white people who roomed with Asians thought they were same as whites in intellectual capacity. However, when they found out that that their Asian room mates dated whites, these white room mates became more racist...the study probably does not want to say this out loud! For example a white woman from the suburb probably does not mind rooming with an Asian or Asian American..the model minority stereotype, and probably she did not think of the dating angle. But, when she finds out that her room mate is a competition for her regarding potential white boyfriends, the white woman probably becomes more racist.
Everyone carry their own prejudice, some knows how to cope with it and not allow themselves to become intolerant while others .. not so much.But to label a certain group to be the most racist? How the heck can you truly measure that? I have a group of Asian American friends and we have been through enough to KNOW that it's not right.I wonder if this article is meant to be an evil plan to cause more tensions between racial groups.Let's not make any more stereotypes because of some "study".
Aloha, let me start out by stating that I am poster child for the Aryan nation i.e. white male with blond hair (getting darker with age) and blue eyes, but, that is not to say that I cannot look at things objectively or from another perspective. I am very attracted to women with darker skin and dark hair and as such I married a woman of Chinese decent born and raised in Malaysia. Now do not get me wrong with the little bit I am about to say about racism between her and I, I know that I am racist, I try very hard not to be but wow, my wife takes the cake, her friends take the cake. I mean to have such animosity between different subgroups of Chinese cultures is amazing to me. I hear the Taiwanese slander those from mainland China. I hear the Singaporeans slander those from Hong Kong and it just goes on and on as if each geographical group is actually that much different from one another. In Hawaii it is a huge melting pot, but believe me please when I say that the truth is only bean curd skin thickness from being out in the open that there is so much animosity. I sit at the table at any of the diners we go to and just laugh inside so as not to offend those that are complaining about one group or the other. It is like going to an all white community and listening to them gawk about “them colored folk” that just moved in to the area. I mean, really, is there that much difference between you and I or them? I can’t for the life of me see it. Unfortunately as they say, the Devil is in the details and that is what most people are looking at instead of standing back and looking at the picture as a whole. The best part about my wife though, whenever we travel, people have no clue what her ethnical background is as she has no sharp stereotypical features except that she is a very attractive woman.
I find that this article rings true as I have seen firsthand the effect of an Asian roommate on building and sustaining racist views in a close friend of mine after only a few months. It seems as if homogeneity within Asian cultures is to blame as well as the reliance on stereotypical information as fact (maybe for some evolutionary reason). Also, indifference toward those of other races and the insular nature of many Asian subgroups may be to blame.
Which came first Asian prejudices or American stereotypical profiling?Presently, when you read about China's persecution of Uighers by "Hans", who are the Hans? Is this to distinguish between Northern Mandarins vs Southern Cantonese by news media? Go figure who is inflaming who?When I was in China, the Muslims (Uighers) were very quiet humble people. The only aggression I saw were the young soldiers pushing bound feet old ladies who were selling teas, out of tourist buses or off the road.My social network is to minimize my Asian contacts and defeat a racist system which always makes me look racist from both sides. As an artist, I can only help the downtrodden friends and pick up only the few crumbs given.
East Asians and Indians are the most racist people.
From classes AP and IB filled with Asians to college, it rings true. Asians are THE most stereotypical people in schools. And will actually have the nerve to say things utterly demeaning, and then cover it up with a laugh... it's not so innocent. And someone needs to call them out on pretending that their intimations about other races is not funny... it's offensive. And above all, it's annoying.
The only reason I searched for this blog in the middle of the night is because I find Asian racism so disturbing. I grew up with a large Asian-American (I'm talking East Asian, mostly FIlipino and Chinese) minority at my schools and in my social groups-- great people-- and saw that the girls faced almost no social barriers in the white community (unlike equally bright and beautiful African-American girls, who faced serious struggles). I thought this was great-- no big deal when my girlfriends dated blond boys or Asian boys-- and I thought racial barriers for Asian-American men would probably just dissipate with time and increased tolerance/better depictions in the media. But after living in Japan for two years and working at a Japanese company where I am the only person who is not of East Asian racial background: I have to say I have developed I lot of hatred and fear towards people of East Asian descent, IN PARTICULAR MEN, that I am struggling to overcome, despite having good friends and ex-boyfriends of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese background. A lot of the hateful language and stereotyping that white, African-American, and Latino people are more resistant to, perhaps because of our shared history with regards to slavery and Native Americans- is totally okay for Asian people, even in a public setting. Some Asians and A-As will go on and on about how they are exempt from feeling an obligation to use better language because they are not guilty of the same crimes that white people are: but when you look at how Asians have treated each other in their homelands, for example Japanese enslaving the Koreans in the early 20th century, you see they are probably not AS guilty but certainly not SO innocent either. I do see people being openly racist towards people of Asian descent on occasion, in a way they might not feel comfortable doing so to another group, probably because people of Asian descent usually don't speak out in this venue-- but victims should respond to these occasions by calling the perpetrator a racist ignorant punk-- instead of perpetuating the kind of grossly stereotypical and hateful language that educated people should avoid altogether if we ever want to make this world a better place. I know Asians in America feel a lot of pain as minorities but they are actually better behaved than Asian people in their homelands: the way Korean were treated in Japan, and the way black people were treated throughout Asia, was truly shocking. There is such a thing as psychological violence.
I'm not sure how to make of this. But I use to be an RA and I can tell you a lot of the racism does happened between Asians and non-asians and the problem lies on the faults of both. Some asian residents would make no attempt to know their roommate and thus become friends with people of their own culture. While the non-asian roommate would know nothing about his/her roommate and make assumptions about their culture. (I can't tell you how many times a roommate has complained about a rice cooker with rice in there for 2 days.)
Oh, big surprise. A study by non-Asians claims that Asian Americans are more prejudiced. Come on people! The fact that there were no Asian American men and women on the study says enough.
I haven't had a chance to read through the article, although that particularly finding does not shock me (sadly).While I and a lot of others may not have adopted some of the stereotypical stereotyping of our parents and grandparents, I find myself encountering some semi-outrageous and essentially-racist comments coming out of my Asian American friends' mouths.Most recently: "I feel sorry for someone who is white because they don't have any culture."WOW! that's pretty bad.
my parents aren't racist.i don't know if my life has been drastically different than everybody else's but this does not strike me as true AT ALL.i've been belittled and called chink and ching chong and had "CHINESE FOOD!" yelled after me and "HAI!" karate sounds made at me for my entire life (30 years!) by people of every other race. this has happened recently, i'm saying within the past 2 weeks. and i expect it to keep this because i absorbed my parents and grandparents racist tendencies? is it because i am the one with the problem?i'll bet the people who conducted this study were white people. and since when do we trust white people's analysis of what's prejudiced?
I haven't read the article yet either, but I don't buy it. Rating someone or a group's prejudice is too complicated of a subject to conclude who's more prejudice than who I think. Plus, studies like these, the one bias you have is that the only people you can study are the ones you have available. It still doesn't represent the group as a whole. I'd take this with a grain of salt. And I mean a tiny one.