ChapterPDF Available

Triangulated threat: A model of Black and Asian race-relations in a context of White dominance

Authors:

Abstract

(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.
... The triangulated racialization index (TRI) is based on the notion that racial group stereotypes are schematically constructed in relation to one another (Stangor & Schaller, 2000); thus, when a person cognitively accesses (i.e., recalls) one groupspecific stereotype they simultaneously tacitly access comparative referent group stereotypes (Kim, 1999;Tawa et al., 2013;Tawa & Tauriac, 2017;Xu & Lee, 2013;Zou & Cheryan, 2017). A clear example of this is when a person invokes the "model minority" stereotype of Asian Americans (i.e., the perception that Asian people are intelligent and hardworking), tacitly, what is also being referenced is the notion that other minority groups (e.g., Black Americans) are not the model minority (i.e., the perception that Black people are unintelligent and lazy). ...
... A clear example of this is when a person invokes the "model minority" stereotype of Asian Americans (i.e., the perception that Asian people are intelligent and hardworking), tacitly, what is also being referenced is the notion that other minority groups (e.g., Black Americans) are not the model minority (i.e., the perception that Black people are unintelligent and lazy). Kim's (1999) racial triangulation theory is a particularly influential model that has encouraged scholars (Tawa et al., 2013;Xu & Lee, 2013;Zou & Cheryan, 2017) to think about how Black and Asian racial groups in particular are given social meaning in relation to one another and in relation to the dominant White group. Kim (1999) suggested that Black and Asian racial groups are evaluated on two dimensions: racial valorization and civic ostracism. ...
... Although mean differences on stereotyped dimensions were not hypothesized, participants did triangulate Asian, Black, and White racial groups (see Figure 1) in a manner partially consistent with triangulation theory on the inferiority dimension (Kim, 1999;Tawa et al., 2013), and also consistent with past research suggesting Black racial groups are stereotyped more positively than Asian racial groups on attributes related to the physical body (Czopp & Monteith, 2006;Chang & Demyan, 2007;Tawa & Tauriac, 2017). Perceptions of Asian and Black racial groups did not differ on self-interest scores, which deviates from theory that suggests that Asians would be more likely to score high on this dimension (Kim, 1999;Tawa et al., 2013). ...
Article
A new stereotype metric is proposed, computed as the geometric area of a triangle determined by stereotype endorsement in reference to three racialized groups (i.e., Asian, Black, and White) mapped onto a three-dimensional (i.e., body, mind, and self-interest) field. Conceptually, this measure determines the extent to which these racial groups are triangulated in relation to one another; operationally, this is represented by greater distances between vertices in the three-dimensional field. Among a sample of Asian (n = 64), Black (n = 73), and White (n = 165) adults, regression analyses partially supported predictions that the triangulation-based metric would be a stronger predictor of prejudice than single-group referenced stereotypes. Mediation analyses supported the theoretical perspective that triangulation relates to prejudice because people who simultaneously endorse stereotypes of Black and Asian people at extreme ends of bipolar continuums have relatively fixed views about the nature of race (i.e., racial essentialism).
... More recent theoretical advancements encourage researchers to specify contexts and the related type of resource at stake, recognizing that different racial groups will be more or less perceived as threats in these specific domains (Tawa et al., 2013;Zou & Cheryan, 2017). Thus far, GTT's explanatory power seems contingent on specification of a perpetrator group (i.e., the subject of prejudice), a target group (i.e., the object of prejudice), and a specific resource at stake. ...
... I am particularly interested in the application of PPR for furthering understanding of relations between Black and Asian Americans. Although Blumer's theory was originally applied to explain White Americans' prejudice toward Black Americans, Tawa et al. (2013) have argued that dominant discourses such as racializing Asian Americans as "model minorities" but also "perpetual foreigners" engender minority group members' perceptions of proprietary right to resources over one another. ...
... To review, GTT suggests that prejudice is a function of group positioning and specifically accounts for dominant group members' prejudice toward minority group members. Thus, one challenge with applying group threat theory to Black and Asian reciprocal prejudices is that it is not always clear which group is the dominant group (Tawa et al., 2013). When examining inter-minority group relations, the value of Blumer's tenet regarding "feelings of proprietary claim" become stark; Black and Asian reciprocal prejudices arise from group members' feelings or beliefs that their group is the more rightful proprietor of resources. ...
Article
Full-text available
I offer a new measure of perceived proprietary right (PPR) to resources as an operationalization of one critical aspect of Harold Blumer’s group threat theory. Black (n = 82), Asian (n = 72), and White (n = 176) participants completed PPR items in the context of a residential resource allocation task designed to evoke competitive threat. A four-factor model of PPR was established through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. For Black participants, competitive threat was directly related to anti-Asian prejudice. For Asian participants, competitive threat was related to anti-Black prejudice indirectly, through belief in merit as a source of PPR. Moderated parallel mediation models also uncovered PPR beliefs – on the basis of past oppression and outsider status – as possible sources of allyship between Black and Asian community members. Findings are discussed in relation to Black and Asian relations specifically and the contribution of PPR to intergroup relations more generally.
... colorism -the preference for lighter skin), and research indicates that racial minorities may endorse discriminatory bias toward their own or other racial minority groups, as well (M. Hughes, Kiecolt, Keith, & Demo, 2015;Jost, 2004;Tawa, Suyemoto, & Tauriac, 2013). Discriminatory bias and all forms of racism have significant effects on health and well-being (U.S. ...
... On the interpersonal and individual levels, race and racism affect relationships between people, reflected in such variables as social distance, prejudice, implicit attitudes or aversive racism (racism that is unintentional and perpetrated by those who see themselves as against racism, and that is therefore aversive to both the perpetrator and the target), expressed or experienced microaggressions, and internalized racism (e.g., Dovidio et al., 2002;Neville, Gallardo, & Sue, 2016;Tawa et al., 2013). Being the target of interpersonal discrimination affects mental and physical health outcomes (Krieger, 2014;Pascoe & Richman, 2009), including physiological arousal (Harrell, Hall, & Taliaferro, 2003) and specific psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety (D. ...
... R. Williams & Williams-Morris, 2000). It is also important to note that racially and ethnically diverse groups are not exempt from participating in discrimination against each other (e.g., see Halualani, Chitgopekar, Morrison, & Dodge, 2004;Tawa et al., 2013). An understanding of racial identity models and theories can also help psychologists better understand within-group prejudice among racially and ethnically diverse groups. ...
Article
Full-text available
https://www.apa.org/about/policy/guidelines-race-ethnicity.pdf
... colorism -the preference for lighter skin), and research indicates that racial minorities may endorse discriminatory bias toward their own or other racial minority groups, as well (M. Hughes, Kiecolt, Keith, & Demo, 2015;Jost, 2004;Tawa, Suyemoto, & Tauriac, 2013). Discriminatory bias and all forms of racism have significant effects on health and well-being (U.S. ...
... On the interpersonal and individual levels, race and racism affect relationships between people, reflected in such variables as social distance, prejudice, implicit attitudes or aversive racism (racism that is unintentional and perpetrated by those who see themselves as against racism, and that is therefore aversive to both the perpetrator and the target), expressed or experienced microaggressions, and internalized racism (e.g., Dovidio et al., 2002;Neville, Gallardo, & Sue, 2016;Tawa et al., 2013). Being the target of interpersonal discrimination affects mental and physical health outcomes (Krieger, 2014;Pascoe & Richman, 2009), including physiological arousal (Harrell, Hall, & Taliaferro, 2003) and specific psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety (D. ...
... R. Williams & Williams-Morris, 2000). It is also important to note that racially and ethnically diverse groups are not exempt from participating in discrimination against each other (e.g., see Halualani, Chitgopekar, Morrison, & Dodge, 2004;Tawa et al., 2013). An understanding of racial identity models and theories can also help psychologists better understand within-group prejudice among racially and ethnically diverse groups. ...
... Kim (1999) examines the relative privilege and oppression that the Asian and Black communities have in relation to one another and also to Whites, describing a triangulated structure to the racial hierarchy. Tawa et al. (2013) describe Kim's theory of racial triangulation as relative privilege and oppression in two dimensions: merit-based power and nativity-based power. Asians are "triangulated" such that they are racially valorized (as THE model minority) by Whites in relation to the subordinate group (Black people), while also perceived as inherently foreign and "civically ostracized" (Kim, 1999;Xu & Lee, 2013). ...
... The title given to Asians in America of being "honorary whites" is an illustration of their position in the racial hierarchy. This title implies that Asians hold relative power within the racial hierarchy compared to Black people (merit-based power), though Whites continue to hold absolute power within the system (Tawa et al., 2013). Thus, Asians are at the mercy of Whites, such that the higher positioning of Asians within society relative to the Black community is conditional on them accepting their role as model minorities (Kim, 1999). ...
... Similarly, awareness is necessary among PoC who seek to be allies across relative or ascribed racial privilege. Essential awareness includes recognizing the complicated ways that racial 4 SUYEMOTO ET AL. oppression and white supremacy differently impact each racialized group and acknowledging the ways that one may have relative privilege based on their racial affiliation (Tawa et al., 2013) or other intersectional statuses within groups (e.g., nativity privilege within racialized groups; Suyemoto & Donovan, 2015). Imperative to this awareness is an understanding of how the dominant group ascribes relative privilege to different groups of PoC to foster divide and conquer approaches. ...
... A support system of like-minded peers can help sustain continued engagement in action and provides individuals with a space to process mistakes so they may act as more effective allies in the future (Suyemoto & Hochman, 2020). Finally, building authentic relationships across difference is itself an action that resists the systemic oppression that inherently divides people to maintain power for some and not others (Reynolds, 2010;Tawa et al., 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
This reflective case study explores the ongoing process of developing and fostering allies and accomplices across privilege, considering how individual and systemic levels interact within interpersonal relationships. Using our longstanding relationships, we highlight key conceptual, relational, and emotional processes and strategies involved in ally and accomplice development. We consider the essential roles of self-reflection, cultural humility, action, and re-engagement after disconnections; and explore the rewards of building authentic relationships across difference, including the ability to work across difference to contribute to dismantling systems of oppression. Those of us who know the joy of being with folks from all walks of life, from all races, who are fundamentally anti-racist in their habits of being, need to give public testimony. We need to share not only what we have experienced but the conditions of change that made such an experience possible. (Hooks, 1995, p. 271). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15427609.2020.1825905
... However, racial minority students' experiences, particularly in diverse, urban contexts, are typically more complex than the dominant-minority binary that is addressed in these models. Instead, inter-minority dynamics are characterized by both the relationship between the racial minority groups (e.g., relations between Asians and Blacks; Kiang & Kaplan, 1994;Rosenbloom & Way, 2004) as well as both groups' relation with the dominant White majority (Kiang & Kaplan, 1994;Kim, 1999;Tawa, Suyemoto & Tauriac, 2013). ...
... Given the ever-present and absolute sociopolitical power of the dominant group, minority-minority interactions must be understood as existing within a context of the dominant group, comprising a "triangulated" racial dynamic. These triangulated dynamics are more complex than binary dominant-minority interactions and are frequently influenced by factors such as limited resources and the ways in which racial groups are racialized (Kim, 1999;Tawa, Suyemoto & Tauriac, 2013). For example, the racialization of Latinos and Asians as synonymous with "immigrants" (Armenta et al., 2013;Tuan, 1998) may set these groups apart from both Black and White student bodies who are more likely to be racialized as native to the U.S. Consequently, perceived nativity may serve as a basis for Black and White cooperation, to the marginalization of Latino/as and Asians. ...
... Legitimizing beliefs. Perceived legitimacy of Whites' dominant status was measured with six items-two adapted from Outten et al. (2018) and four self-developed items based on notions of nativity and meritocracy (Tawa et al., 2013;Zou & Cheryan, 2017; e.g., "White Americans deserve to have a better standing in society as they have worked hard to earn it"). Note. a Income distribution in Study 1 matches the most recent census data. ...
Article
Against the backdrop of significant social and political change in the US, dominant groups’ perceptions of discrimination against their group have increased. Previous research shows that group threat and legitimizing beliefs augment these perceptions. However, the concurrent role of individuals’ attitudes towards hierarchy in perceived discrimination has not been examined. In the present research, we investigate whether social dominance orientation (SDO) and group threat (status and moral image threat) interact to predict perceived discrimination among two dominant groups, White Americans and men. Furthermore, we test whether their perceived discrimination predicts less support for policies benefitting minorities and immigrants, and women, respectively. Across two correlational studies (Studies 1 and 2) and one experiment (Study 3), we found little support for the proposed interaction between SDO and group threat; instead, they were independent predictors of the outcomes. By testing SDO and perceived group threats simultaneously, these studies contribute to the literature by showing that group-based and hierarchy-based concerns play distinct roles in perceived discrimination among dominant groups.
... Despite a long history of racism towards Asian Americans in the U.S., little attention has been paid to prejudice and discrimination directed against this group. The history and complexity of anti-Asian racism, the problematic positioning of Asian Americans as the "model minority," and intersectional discrimination experiences beyond gender such as specific ethnicity, sexuality, disability, or faith-based discrimination are beyond the scope of this article and are addressed elsewhere (e.g., Hall et al., 2010;Kiang et al., 2017;Kim et al., 2011;Li & Beckett, 2006;Liou, 2018;Marsden, 2015;Sue et al., 2007;Tawa et al., 2013). See also the American Psychologist special issue focused on a synthesis of theory, research, and policy on Asian Americans (Yip et al., 2021). ...
... Asians have their own struggles with racism in this country. Some Asians also project stereotypes about Black people learned in their home countries and reinforced here, namely, that they are better than Black people but not quite as good as White people (Tawa, Suyemoto, & Tauriac, 2012). Asians have been overrepresented in STEM education and industry since World War II (Xie & Goyette, 2003). ...
Article
Full-text available
Asians are typically situated at the top of the STEM educational and career hierarchy and enjoy a host of material benefits as a result. Thus, their STEM lives are often considered problem-free. This article describes the role of race-based stereotypes in shaping the experiences of high-achieving Black and Asian STEM college students. Their experiences exposed the insidious presence of anti-Black and pro-Asian sentiment, operationalized through the frameworks of stereotype threat and stereotype lift. Stereotype threat and stereotype lift situate the racialized experiences of Black and Asian students as opposites, thereby ignoring their shared marginalization and responses to being stereotyped. I argue that both racial groups endure emotional distress because each group responds to its marginalization with an unrelenting motivation to succeed that imposes significant costs. I aim to demonstrate that Black and Asian college students are burdened with being stereotyped and judged unfairly, enduring sometimes debilitating consequences even while they are praised for fulfilling or defying stereotypes. Discussion includes coalition building among racial groups of color in STEM, serving in part to co-construct racialized psycho-social coping skills, and a strategy for more equitable material outcomes for Black STEMers.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.