Triangulated threat: A model of Black and Asian race-relations in a context of White dominance
(from the chapter): By 2050, social scientists predict that racial minorities collectively will constitute more than half of the entire U.S. population (Bobo & Hutchings, 1996; Yancy, 2003). Complex interactions between minority groups are inevitable and raise questions about the relations between groups and groups’ members. In this chapter, we (a) integrate theory from political science and psychology to develop a model of “triangulated threat” for understanding Black and Asian relations outside of a Black–White paradigm, (b) review research on Blacks’ and Asians’ intergroup perceptions to support triangulated threat, (c) consider the implications of triangulated threat for social distance between Blacks and Asians, and (d) position triangulated threat within a context of White/European American dominance. Our chapter responds to recent calls in the literature for a paradigm shift in the ways in which we understand race relations (Alcoff, 2003; Perea, 1997). We offer “triangulated threat” as one model for community activists, theorists and researchers, and educators to move “beyond Black and White” in the ways in which they think, talk, teach, and write about race relations. Moreover, we position this model within a broader context of White/European American dominance, recognizing the ways in which the dominant White group’s constructions of racialized minority groups (i.e., the social constructions of the meanings of “Black” and “Asian”) promotes a “divide and conquer” strategy that maintains White power and privilege.