Racial Identity in Black and Yellow
The American Political Science Association released a study this week that said Asian Americans are less attached to racial identity than African American.
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 was conducted by political scientists Jane Junn (Rutgers University) and Natalie Masuoka (Tufts University) and appears in the December issue of Perspectives on Politics. The researchers used data from the 2004 Ethnic Politics Survey, which included comparison groups of 354 Asian and 416 black Americans. The survey divided respondents into two groups one that asked questions about group identity and a second about racial identification.
“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,” the authors said. “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