Unformatted text preview: Are Asian Americans a Minority Group? Lessons Learned from the Legal System Stanley Stanley Sue, Ph.D. University of California, Davis Issue
n Over 30 years ago, 1975 American Psychologist article argued that Asian Americans were a minority group Still contentious issue Not trivial Legal system (use public information)
n n n n n Underrepresentation Judge’s rulings
n n n Too diverse (e.g., Asian Indians not like Chinese; cultures differ) Don’t look the same Grouping is arbitrary (Pacific Island Americans now excluded) n Asian Americans not a minority group Criteria Criteria for Cognizable Class
In the Rubio case, the criteria for cognizable class: “…a common thread running through the excluded group —a group— basic similarity of attitudes, values, ideas or experience among its members so that the exclusion prevents juries from reflecting a cross-section of the community” cross“….its members must share a common perspective gained precisely because they are members of that group.” “The characteristics common to the group’s members “must also impart to its possessors a common social or psychological outlook on human events.” 1 “Cognizable Classes” (Minority Groups)
African Americans American Indians and Alaska Natives n Hispanic Americans n Women
n n Asian American Definition
The ‘Asian’ category will be defined as “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.” (OMB, 1997). Office of Management and Budget Lines Lines of Evidence
Do Asian Americans share historical experiences? n Are South Asians similar to other Asian Americans? n Do others perceive AAs to be a class? n Do AAs have similarity of values and behaviors and are they distinct? n Do similarities and differences among AAs match those of cognizable groups?
n 2 Do AAs Share Historical Experiences?
n n Antimiscegenation laws 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act which effectively halted the immigration of Chinese to this country. The Gentleman’s Agreement of 1908 was enacted to severely reduce Japanese immigration. Various administrative regulations and procedures were used to limit immigration, and in 1917 the Immigration Act established the Barred Zone, a zone from which immigration was barred or severely restricted. India and surrounding countries were included in the Barred Zone. n n Are Are South Asians Really Asian Americans?
n Kitano and Daniels (1995), South Asians “…experienced the same kinds of legal and extralegal discriminations as did other Asians.” Could not become citizens, testify against whites, marry whites, and own land. While a few racist Californians saw the East Indians, as they were usually called, as superior to other Asians, others saw them as ‘the least desirable race of immigrants thus far admitted to the United States’” (p. 97). n Are Are South Asians Really Asian Americans?
Characteristics of Asian Americans (Kim, Atkinson, & Umemoto, 2001) vs. Characteristics of South Asians (Prathikanti, 1997; Ranganath & Ranganath, 1997; Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003)
Ability to resolve psychological problems without help from others -Avoid use of mental health services (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Don’t discuss problems outside of family (Prathikanti, 1997) -Solve family problems in privacy (Ranganath & Ranganath, 1997) Avoidance of family shame -Protection of face and honor especially concerning family (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Failure to sacrifice for family brings shame and guilt (Prathikanti, 1997) -Failure to succeed results in shame and reflects on entire family (Ranganath & Ranganath, 1997) Collectivism -Interdependence and devaluation of individualism (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Interdependence rather than independence (Ranganath & Ranganath, 1997) Maintenance of interpersonal harmony -Harmony in hierarchical roles (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Accommodation and tolerance in face of conflict (Prathikanti, 1997) -Harmony encouraged (Ranganath & Ranganath, 1997) Placing other’s needs ahead of one’s own -Value family over individual (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Sacrifice own needs for good of group (Ranganath & Ranganath, 1997) 3 Conformity to family and social norms and expectations -Children expected to be obedient (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Self-sacrifice for good of family (Prathikanti, 1997) -Children expected to be obedient, not to ask questions, and not rebellious (Ranganath & Ranganath, 1997) Deference to authority -Hierarchical roles (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Authoritarian and hierarchical decision making (Prathikanti, 1997) -Children not allowed to question authority (Ranganath & Ranganath, 1997) Educational and occupational achievement -Strong work ethic and value on higher education (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Emphasis on achievement and professional career (Prathikanti, 1997) -Parents stress education and achievements (Ranganath & Ranganath, 1997) Filial piety -Filial piety (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Filial piety and obedience (Prathikanti, 1997) Importance of family -Duty to family, commitment to family (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Powerful affection and loyalty in family (Prathikanti, 1997) Reciprocity -Interpersonal obligations (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Harmony and interdependence (Ranganath & Ranganath, 1997) Respect for elders and ancestors -Respect for wisdom of elders (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Obedience to elders (Prathikanti, 1997) Self-control and restraint -Self-control, self-discipline, and moderation in behaviors and nonconfrontational value (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Modest self-effacing personality and self-control encouraged (Prathikanti, 1997) -children expected to be obedient and respectful (Ranganath & Ranganath, 1997) Self-effacement -Humility in one’s actions (Tewari, Inman, & Sandhu, 2003) -Humble attitude (Prathikanti, 1997) South Asians
n Lien, Conway, and Wong (2003) report on the nation’s first multiethnic, multilingual, and multicity study on the political opinion of adults of the six largest Asian American. Given a choice between identifying oneself as American, Asian American, Asian, ethnic American (e.g., as Chinese American), or simply in terms of one’s ethnic origin (e.g., as Chinese), respondents were most apt to indicate an ethnic-specific ethnicidentity as their preferred identity. (This is similar to the case among Hispanics who prefer ethnic-specific identification.) South Asians were ethnicthe most likely of all Asian American groups to identify with being Asian American. In the San Francisco Bay area, a community organization sponsored an essay contest entitled, “Growing Up Asian American.” Publicized in newspapers and schools, Asian American teenagers were encouraged to enter the contest. Over 200 Asian American teens submitted essays. A significant number of South Asians entered a contest for Asian Americans (Ying, Coombs, & Lee, 1999). South Asians most liekly to identify as "asian American" other asians think of them as Chinese American, or Japanese America, etc. n 4 Do Others Perceive Aas To Be A Class?
n Americans perceive and treat Asian Americans in a similar fashion. A landmark study, using both focus groups (qualitative) and survey (quantitative) methodologies, was sponsored by the Committee of 100 (2001) with the assistance of the Anti-Defamation AntiLeague and conducted by Marttila Communications Group and Yankelovich and Colleagues. The national survey of a representative sample of 1,216 Americans found that the majority of non- Asian Americans could not make meaningful distinctions between nonAsian Americans of different national origins. Respondents felt that Asian Americans had positive characteristics such as genuine regard for hard work, family focus, ambition, commitment to education and the intellectual gifts of Asian Americans. However, they also felt that Asian Americans keep to themselves, had too much influence on the U.S. technology sector, and were arrogant, aloof, not approachable, clannish, etc. In a study of beliefs about Asian Americans university students, Wong, Lai, Nagasawa, & Lin (1999) found that African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Whites perceived Asian Americans as being more motivated, most likely to succeed in careers and in college, and most likely to do better compared to Whites. However, they perceived the other ethnic minority groups as performing poorer than Whites. Thus Whites and other ethnic minority groups have the same beliefs concerning Asian Americans. Asian American respondents perceived themselves to perform better than Whites, which indicates that they also have such beliefs. In actuality, university grades and Scholastic Aptitude Test scores of Asian Americans and Whites were not different. n n Do AAs Have Similarity Of Values And Behaviors And Are They Distinct?
n Asian Americans as a class show similarities in attitudes, values, behaviors, and experiences that are distinguished from non-Asian Americans in cultural nonvalues, attitudes, and behaviors: Reactions to stereotypes (Shih, Pittinsky, & Ambady, 1999; Cheryan & Bodenhausen, 2000), loss of face and shame (Zane & Yeh, 2002); utilization of health services (Matsuoka, Breaux, & Ryujin, 1997; Sue et al, 1991); help-seeking behaviors (U.S. Surgeon General, 2001; Zhang, helpSnowden, & Sue, 1998); adjustment (Abe & Zane, 1990); career goals (Leong, 1998), and behaviors in counseling (Kim, Atkinson, & Umemoto, 2001). There is widespread consensus that Asian Americans have cultural values that include: Filial piety, importance of family, interpersonal harmony, avoidance of shame, collectivism, conformity to family and social norms and expectations, deference to authority, educational and occupational achievement, maintaining interpersonal harmony, placing other’s need ahead of one’s own, reciprocity, respect for elders and ancestors, self -control and restraint, self -effacement (Kim, Atkinson, Umemoto, 2001; Sodowsky, Kwan, & Pannu, 1995; Sue & Morishima, 1981; Ying, Coombs, & Lee, 1999; Tsai, Knutson, & Fung, 2006). n Do Do Similarities And Differences Among AAs Match Those Of Cognizable Groups?
n Is similarity or dissimilarity of appearance is not a criterion in the determination of a cognizable class. In addition, Hispanic Americans, who are a cognizable class, can be of any race. Is having a common language, such as Spanish among Hispanic Americans, a necessary condition for a cognizable class? Common language is not a necessary condition, even among Hispanics. Also, it should be noted that many fourth and fifth generation Hispanic Americans, who are well acculturated, speak English and are unable to speak Spanish. In the case of American Indians, the U.S. Surgeon General (2001) indicates that: “…the marked heterogeneity that characterizes the social and cultural ecologies of Native people. There are 561 federally recognized tribes, with over 200 indigenous languages spoken …. Differences between some of these languages are as distinct as those between English and Chinese Language dissimilarity within a group does not disqualify that group from cognizable status. n 5 Do Asian Americans Look the Same? NO Do Hispanics Look the Same? 6 No Are Definitions of Asian American too Abitrary? Abitrary?
n n n n Which groups included? Drop Pacific Island Americans Yes, but if arbitrary what about other cognizable groups? American Indians: Blood quantum to be defined as AI. How much blood? According to BIA, generally ¼ but from federally recognized tribe and/or tribal membership.
n n n n What if not federally recognized? Sorry. What if tribe uses different definition for quantum (i.e., 1/16). OK. What if grew up and lived on reservation but only 1/16 blood? Maybe. What if ¼ blood parents from two different tribes marry? You ¼ AI blood but only 1/8 from one tribe. Sorry, unless tribal recognition. Cognizable Groups Of African Americans, Hispanics, And Native Americans Are Considerably Diverse But Not Less So Than Asian Americans
For Native Americans: As noted earlier: “…the marked heterogeneity that characterizes the social and cultural of Native people. There are 561 federally recognized tribes, with over 200 indigenous languages spoken …. “
n For African Americans: “The African American population is increasing in diversity as greater numbers of immigrants arrive from Africa and the Caribbean. Indeed, 6 percent of all blacks in the United States today are foreign- born. In addition, since 1983, over 100,000 refugees have foreignCome to the United States from African nations.”
n For Hispanics: “The Spanish language and culture are common bonds for many Hispanic Americans, regardless of whether they trace their ancestry to Africa, Asia, Europe, or the Americas. The immigrant experience is another common bond. Nevertheless, Hispanic Americans are very heterogeneous in the circumstances of their migration and in other characteristics.
n U.S. Surgeon General (2001) 7 Rulings
n n n Court denial of seeing Asian Americans as cognizable class Appealed Dr. Sue: I wanted to share some good news with you. After the denial of our motion, including the trial court's finding that Asian-Americans are not a Asiancognizable class, we filed a petition for extraordinary writ relief with the state's Third District Court of Appeal, asking that the appellate court order the trial court to reverse it's finding regarding Asian-Americans, allow additional Asianstatistical evidence on the exclusion of Asian-Americans from grand jury Asianservice, and also to find that we made a sufficient statistical showing regarding Hispanics to require additional rebuttal evidence from the prosecution. We won!!!!! Thank you so much for your help!! This has been such an incredible experience. I know it isn't over yet, but I do know we can claim victory with respect to our combined efforts to establish Asian-Americans as a class. Thank Asianyou again, it was a pleasure to work with you and I could not have achieved this victory without the aid of your scholarship. Emily E. Doringer, Blackmon & Associates Doringer, Reflections
n n n Asian Americans still largely misunderstood
n Public lacks knowledge about Asian Americans Draw the line against ethnics No consequence so can get away with it; would not do the same against other groups Anger toward ethnics taken out on Asian American
n Perceived as not fighting back or ineffective
n n n Images (oppressed group, model minority, samesamedifferent to other groups) shift according to whims, needs, and convenience We must define who Asian Americans are or others will do it for us 8 ...
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- Fall '08