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Stereotype threat on Asian American college students



The concept of stereotype threat has been routinely applied to the study of African American students to measure their academic performance when faced with the potential of confirming negative stereotype of their population (Mosley & Rosenberg 2007). However, it can also be used effectively when applied to the study of Asian American population. For a number of Asian Americans living in the United States, the "model minority" myth has resulted in empirically unsubstantiated opinions and misconceptions about the population (Orsuwan 2011). Therefore, there is a current lack of literature on the struggles that many Asian American students face due to a pervasive belief that they are the excelling group in American higher education. This study is aimed to identify some of the perceived stereotypes about Asian American college students and examine their influence on students' college experience.
Printed in the Philippi nes
ASIA LIFE SCIENCES Supplement 10: 1-11, 2014
The Asian International Journal of Life Sciences
Received 20 September 2014; Accepted 22 October 2014
©Rushing Water Publishers Ltd. 2014
Stereotype threat on Asian American college students
The concept of stereotype threat has been routinely applied to the study of African
American students to measure their academic performance when faced with the potential of
conr ming negative stereotype of their population (Mosley & Rosenberg 2007). However,
it can also be used effectively when applied to the study of Asian American population. For
a number of Asian Americans living in the United States, the “model minority” myth has
resulted in empirically unsubstantiated opinions and misconceptions about the population
(Orsuwan 2011). Therefore, there is a cur rent lack of literat ure on the struggles that many
Asian American students face due to a per vasive belief that they are the excelling group in
American higher education. This study aimed to identify some of the perceived stereotypes
about Asian American college students and examine their inuence on students’ college
Keywords: stereotype threat, Asian American. college students, model minority, American
higher education
1University of Michigan School of Education, 610 East University Avenue. Ann Arbor, MI 48104,
Kwon, Kwon & Overton-Adkins 2014
Asia Life Sciences Supplement 10, 2014
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). The 2010 U.S. Census classifies
Asian Americans as those who have origins in any of the original peoples of the Far
East, Southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent including Cambodia, China, India,
Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand and Vietnam
(Hoeffel, Rastogi, Kim & Shahid 2012). Pacific Islanders, on the other hand, are
defined as people whose origins are from Polynesia, Micronesia or Melanesia and
are grouped with Asian Americans (National Commission on Asian American and
Pacific Islander Research in Education 2011). According to the 2010 U.S. Census
data, out of the total U.S. population, 308.7 million, Asian population accounted
for 14.7 million, or 4.8% (Hoeffel, Rastogi, Kim & Shahid 2012). Also, with the
total U.S. population increased by 9.7%, Asian Americans experienced 43% growth
between 2000 and 2010, which amounts to 17.3 million, 5.6% when Asian in
combination with one or more other races (e.g. Asian and White; Asian and White
and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander) are included (Hoeffel, Rastogi,
Kim & Shahid 2012, Humes, Jones & Ramirez 2011). This Asian American and
Pacific Islander (AAPI) population grew more than any other major race group
and the growth is expected to continue at a considerable rate based on projections
to 2050 (Humes, Jones & Ramirez 2011, National Commission on Asian American
and Pacific Islander Research in Education 2011). Therefore, AAPI as significant
contributors to the growth of the U.S. as a whole (National Commission on Asian
American and Pacific Islander Research in Education 2011) need special recognition
as constituents in U.S. higher education.
AAPIs in U. S. Higher Education. AAPI college enrollment has shown considerable
growth i n American higher education as well. CARE report by National Com mission
on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (2011) indicates
that between 1979 and 2009, the AAPI college enrollment increased five-fold
from 235,000 to 1.3 million. With this current trend, a 30% additional increase
in AAPI college enrollment is anticipated between 2009 and 2019 while college
enrollment is projected to increase for all racial groups (National Commission on
Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education 2011, Teranishi 2012).
Regarding college completion rate, AAPIs reached 52.4% in 2010, which is higher
than other races; Whites 30.3%, Blacks 19.8% and Hispanics 13.9% (U.S. Census
Bureau 2009). It is thus commonly believed from the aggregated statistics that
AAPIs are a well-adjusted and high-achieving group in American higher education
(Yeh 2004).
Educational risk factors on campus. As mentioned earlier, AAPI students have
been perceived as a population achieving educational success in American higher
education. Thus, the concept of educational risk (i.e. incompletion of degree, academic
underachievement, graduation gap, etc.) has been something not associated with the
AAPI student population, rather with African American and Latino students (Yeh
2002). However, studies found that AAPI students suffer from a variety of issues
on campus including a lack of English proficiency, cultural barriers, prejudice and
discrimination (Hune 2002, Iwamoto & Liu 2010, Kawaguchi 2003, Lagdameo et
al. 2002, Yeh 2002, 2004). Lagdameo et al. (2002) suggest that AAPI students often
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Asia Life Sciences Supplement 10, 2014
feel marginalized, misunderstood and disconnected from their college campus.
It is important to note the challenges AAPI students experience in that they can
negatively affect college persistence and completion (Teranishi 2012).
The most prominent challenge AAPI students confront is the language issue.
Yeh (2004) argues that English proficiency is a critical factor that is neglected when
examining the success of AAPI students. She indicates that “since most Southeast
Asians and some Pacific Islanders do not speak English as a primary language,
they struggle with language issues when they arrive in the mainland U.S.,” (Yeh
2004) (p. 87) thus placed at a disadvantage as second language users (Yeh 2002).
Students with limited English skill or speaking with an accent experience language
bias and discrimination as well as academic impairment (Hune 2002). In addition,
racism and discrimination against AAPI students are common issues AAPIs
experience on their college campuses (Iwamoto and Liu 2010; Kawaguchi 2003;
Yeh 2004). Iwamoto and Liu (2010) and Kawaguchi (2003) report that a majority
of participants in their studies encountered prejudice and discrimination related
to racism which affected their college experiences to a varying degree. Such
experiences include feeling the pressure to educate their non-AAPI peers about
their racial group, feeling like an outsider in class and other campus settings and
feeling stigmatized as an AAPI with perceived racial biases. This race-related stress
is salient in the experiences of the lives of AAPI students especially in historically
white organizations (Iwamoto and Liu 2010; Lagdameo, Lee, Nguyen, Liang,
Lee, Kodama, and McEwen 2002). Finally, AAPI students are exposed to cultural
barriers. The cultural differences AAPI students feel between their cultures of
origin and American mainstream culture can create barriers which hinder their
integration into the culture of predominantly white colleges (Yeh 2002; Yeh 2004).
This cultural barrier is reported as a negative impact on the academic performance
and psychosocial adjustment of AAPI students (Yeh 2004).
Theoretical Framework
Model Minority Stereotype. A model minority stereotype constitutes the dominant
narrative about AAPIs in higher education – “a racial group with disproportionately
high enrollment in highly selective, four-year institutions and such academic fields
as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)” (Hune 2002, p.
3). This conventional wisdom that AAPI students are conscientious, brainy and
successful is reinforced by the aggregated statistics demonstrating high enrollment
and completion rates in American higher education (Bryolf 2009). However, these
positive images of AAPI students provide a misleading impression that they are not
experiencing great difficulties, thus overlooking the challenges that at-risk students
confront (Kawaguchi 2003, Kim & Valadez 1995, Yeh 2002). Thus, “the myth
of AAPI success has camouf laged the institutional disadvantages and inequities
experienced by AAPIs in need and has resulted in a lack of care and attention they
deserve” (Kim & Valadez 1995, p. 22). As an example, services and resources
available for African American and Latino students (e.g. peer mentor programs for
minority students) are not reachable for AAPI students in their colleges (Yeh 2002).
There are numerous reasons why the model minority stereotype is an
inaccurate, misleading and damaging myth rather than a reality for the AAPI
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Asia Life Sciences Supplement 10, 2014
population (Hune 2002). Primarily, the positive characteristics of the general AAPIs
demonstrated in the statistics are not shared by all AAPI students (Kim & Valadez
1995). For example, 55 to 65% of Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander adults have
never enrolled in higher education let alone having very little formal education
(Gloria & Ho 2003, Teranishi 2012). Furthermore, whereas more than four out of
five East Asians (Chinese, Japanese & Korean) and South Asians (Asian Indian &
Pakistani) who enrolled in college acquired a bachelor’s degree with a likelihood to
achieve an advanced degree, large proportions of other AAPI subgroups attending
college did not earn a degree (National Commission on Asian American and Pacific
Islander Research in Education 2011). In addition, AAPI students themselves feel
pressured by the model minority stereotype and develop unfavorable sentiment
against it. Kawaguchi (2003) for instance reported that AAPI students feel that their
struggles are overlooked and dismissed because of the stereotype, which assumes
that AAPIs are able to cope with a new society or new culture while still being
successful (Kawaguchi 2003). The stereotype also prohibits AAPI students “from
admitting their emotional and academic problems, thus preventing them from
seeking assistance” (Yeh 2004, p. 90). In short, the model minority stereotype does
not portray a true picture of AAPI students in U.S. higher education nor does it
properly address the challenges of AAPI students on campus.
Positive and Negative Stereotypes. In addition to a pervasive model minority
stereotype, there are also other stereotypes and biases toward the group that may
also harm AAPI students on campus. A study by Lin et al. (2005) identified some
anti-Asian American stereotypes held by undergraduate students of other racial
groups which viewed AAPIs as being excessively competent and having deficient
sociability. AAPI students also discussed their own experiences of such stereotypes
and expressed discomfort. They stated that when they heard certain stereotypical
or discriminating statements, they felt belittled, angry, frustrated, alienated and
unrecognized (Sue et al. 2007). Negative stereotypes are harmful in that they are
often used as the rationale for rejecting or attacking the stereotyped group (Lin
et al. 2005). For example, AAPIs’ inability to gain social approval, which is one
of the negative stereotypes held by others, is used as an excuse to discriminate
against AAPI students and to express one’s dislike of the group as a whole (Lin et
al. 2005). Moreover, Asian cultural values and communication styles of reservation
and silence are often considered as less desirable than the mainstream values of
individualism and assertiveness (Sue et al. 2007). A stereotype of AAPIs as
thriving in professions that require limited communication and language skills (e.g.
engineering and sciences) also shows that there is a common belief that Asians
are not skilled communicators, but rather are silent “nerds” (Zhang 2010). Such
stereotypical images of AAPI students in the classroom may also pose pressure
upon them to violate their cultural upbringing and conform to the Western norms
in the classroom, where grades are often based upon students’ verbal participation
(Sue et al. 2007).
While negative stereotypes limit AAPI students’ ability as students and
individuals, seemingly positive stereotypes like model minority stereotype could
also be harmful. In a focus group conducted by Sue et al. (2007), students expressed
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Asia Life Sciences Supplement 10, 2014
that whenever they heard any comments about their English skills being good
and lack of any exotic accents, they felt like they were viewed as not belonging.
Although such comments may have been made with intentions of compliments,
students rather saw them as disturbing and uncomfortable (Sue et al. 2007). They
also argued that their experiences of racism and discrimination as a minority were
often dismissed, as some people outside the group believed that “Asians are the
new Whites” (Sue et al., p. 76). This is related to the model minority stereotype,
which views AAPIs as privileged and accomplished. A stereotype of Asians’
math skills also posed great pressure on AAPIs, rather than generating positive
outcomes (Cheryan & Bodenhausen 2000, Sue et al. 2007). Students in the focus
group expressed that they felt “pressured to conform to a stereotype they did not
endorse,” and AAPI women exhibited impaired math skills and concentration when
the stereotype was salient. (Cheryan & Bodenhausen 2000, Sue et al. 2007, p. 76).
Such findings show that not only do negative stereotypes threaten one’s ability and
psychological well-being, but seemingly positive stereotypes also can be burdening
to members of the stereotyped group.
Stereotype threat on Asian American students. As briefly explained earlier, a
phenomenon in which people underperform as a result of the fear of confirming
stereotypes about their groups as self-characteristics is called stereotype threat.
Found by Steele and Aronson (1995), the concept was used to explain African
American college students’ underperformance on the standardized test when
they faced salient racial stereotypes about their intellectual ability. When African
American students became aware of the existing stereotype about their group, they
performed poorly compared to when there was no salient stereotype; even mere
salience of the stereotype inf luenced these students’ academic performance (Steele
& Aronson 1995). Students felt pressured when they were at risk of confirming
their racial stereotype as their personal characteristics, which eventually led to
underperformance influenced by their vulnerability in the context (Steele & Aronson
1995). This prominent experiment shows that social context and group identity
together hold great influence on ones behavior and that a group’s underachievement
is not rooted in the group itself or societal conditions (Steele & Aronson 1995). It
is an important finding in that African American and Blacks are often stereotyped
to have lower intellectual ability than other groups; by understanding how negative
stereotypes impair one’s actual ability, it can be proved as false.
The concept of stereotype threat has been routinely applied to the study of
African American students to measure their academic performance when faced
with the potential of confirming negative stereotypes of their population (Mosley
& Rosenberg 2007). On the other hand, because AAPIs are commonly believed
to be well-performing and high-achieving, especially in terms of their access to
higher education and further in their professions, there is a current lack of research
regarding the relationship between stereotype and AAPI students’ college experience
and academic performance. However, a study by Cheryan and Bodenhausen
(2000) found that when Asian American women’s identity as Asian female and
expectations of high performance on math skills were salient at the time of testing,
their concentration was hindered and thus the test results were lower (Cheryan &
Kwon, Kwon & Overton-Adkins 2014
Asia Life Sciences Supplement 10, 2014
Bodenhausen 2000). While this experiment is slightly different from Steele and
Aronson’s experiment of the stereotype threat on African American students, it
is quite similar in that both groups of participants showed impaired ability when
the stereotype (i.e. Asians’ exceptional math skills) was salient. Asian Americans’
stereotyped identity as “math experts” put a burden on them and eventually affected
their stereotyped domain (i.e., math skills) adversely. Understanding the influence
of stereotype and its risk on AAPI students, we aim to examine Asian American
students’ college experiences and the impact of stereotype threat on them. This
study will recruit two AAPI students enrolled at the research universities. The
students will individually participate in an interview to talk about their experiences
on campus. The interview protocol adopted for this study is a modified version of
Mosley and Rosenberg’s (2007) used in their study of stereotype threat on African
American female students at a predominantly white southern university. This
conversation will be recorded and coded in order to identify common themes in
their conversations and analyzed to examine how perceived stereotype inf luences
their college experience. Analysis of the results will suggest possible interventions
and future research directions to improve AAPI students’ experience on campus.
Participants and procedure. We found two AAPI students who were interested in
the study. They were one female student in her senior year and one male student
in his junior year at a 4-year, private institution in the East Coast region, both who
identified themselves as Korean American. They have both lived in the United
States for more than f ifteen years and were first generation immigrants with
American citizenship. They were bilingual in English and Korean, but reported
that they felt more comfortable in English. For confidentiality, we gave each of them
alias: Tom and Jane.
They agreed to participate in a phone interview. Each interview lasted for
45 and 30 minutes, respectively. They were first asked by an interviewer to identify
any stereotypes of Asian American people as they perceived. Then, they engaged
in a semi-structured interview with an interviewer about their experience as Asian
American college student on campus.
We also found two additional AAPI students that were born and raised in
the United States. One of them was a female senior student who identif ied herself
as Vietnamese American. She currently attends a 4-year, public institution in the
Midwest region. Another student was a male junior student at a 4-year, private
institution in the East Coast region. He identified himself as Chinese American.
Both students were also bilingual, but felt more comfortable speaking in English.
They both participated in the research following the same procedure and protocol
through 30 minutes of phone interviews. Their aliases are Mary and John.
Although the interviewer provided them with some level of guidance with
questions from Mosley and Rosenberg’s (2007) study, they actively elaborated on
their responses to the questions. The modified version of protocol for interview
questions extracted from Mosley and Rosenberg’s (2007) study can be found in
Appendix 1.
After the interview with students, two of the authors of this current study
gathered to listen to the recorded phone interviews. Each person took charge of
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Asia Life Sciences Supplement 10, 2014
transcribing one interview. They shared their transcription with each other and
listened to the interview recordings again to confirm if they were transcribed
appropriately. After reading through both transcripts, authors identified common
themes that arose in the interviews. They highlighted the themes on which they both
agreed and discarded the ones that they did not. Through an in-depth discussion
of the interview contents and themes, the authors made final decisions on what
they found to be common and notable in the interviews. After the two additional
interviews, authors followed the same steps to identify common themes and notable
statements that arose in the interviews.
Some of the stereotypes that participants identified included other people’s
perception on Asian people’s English ability, cultural understanding, exceptional
math skills, bad driving skills and social ability. In this process, Jane and John
shared that she had many people telling her that her English sounded perfect and
asking her where she was really from when she told them she was an American
citizen. Tom also shared similar experience; he expressed how uncomfortable he
felt when people complimented on his English and lack of accents. In Tom’s social
interactions, some people tried to explain to him what their jokes were about,
assuming that he would not be culturally capable of understanding them. However,
because Tom grew up in the U.S., he said he did not have any trouble understanding
such social and cultural cues. Out of all stereotypes that they identif ied, three of
four participants spoke most strongly about cultural and language ability.
Common themes that arose in the interviews included: having to fulfill other
people’s expectation, experiencing difficulty speaking up in class, feeling like
excluded minority on campus, feeling intimidated and being seen as not sociable.
Fulfilling expectation was greatly related to how they perceived other people’s
high expectation of their math skills. Tom shared his experience in his calculus
class, where his peers simply assumed that he would be one of the top students
in the class. Tom expressed that he felt pressured to pretend like he understood
everything or try to really get good grades to fit those standards,” and when he did
not do well on his exam, his peers seemed confused as to why his grades were not
nearly as perfect. Jane also had a similar experience. She was aware that her peers
and professor expected highly of her in her statistics course, and she felt ashamed
of not meeting their expectation when she performed lower than her classmates.
Jane said that she was particularly sensitive to the statements like “you can do
better than this,” coming from her instructor, and “I thought you would ace this
exam,” from her classmates. Whenever Jane heard them say such things, she felt
like they were posing a stereotypical image on her. John’s experience regarding
his math skills also related to Tom and Jane’s experiences. When he came back to
the U.S. after spending a year in China, an administrator had mistaken him for a
transfer international student, not knowing that he had previously attended the same
school. When the administrator placed him in a higher level math course without
any consent, he thought the administrator was simply assuming that he would be
good at math simply because he was Asian. Mary had felt frustrated because of one
Kwon, Kwon & Overton-Adkins 2014
Asia Life Sciences Supplement 10, 2014
of her friends’ comment made about her good scores in a math course: “Are Asian
people born with a part in brain that takes care of all the numbers?” Although she
tried to take it as a joke at the moment, she felt upset that even her close friends had
such stereotypes.
Jane’s experience in class discussions also frustrated her. She felt like people
were taking her as shy in class discussions, and thus would never ask her for her
opinion. She said that whenever she spoke up in class, her classmates seemed
surprised or taken aback that she voiced her opinion. Although Jane did not
consider herself as shy, she expressed that having felt belittled and unimportant by
such reaction, she actually began to slowly lose her confidence to speak up in class
discussions. Tom also shared a frustrating incident when his instructor warned him
that his participation grades will be low if he did not speak up in discussions. While
Tom believed that he was contributing to the class in various ways, he felt belittled
for not being able to speak up. He said that he wished “instructors would be more
considerate of why students do not or do speak up in class, because we all come from
different background.” When asked how his background influenced him, Tom stated
that he was never taught to actively voice his opinion in his family. He concluded by
saying, “I think it may be the cultural values that Asian students were raised with.
Speaking too much or active engagement in conversation was not the value that
seemed important in my family, at least.” In a similar vein, Mary described herself
as having shy personality and thus, she felt uneasy to speak in public. She felt more
comfortable in small breakout sessions during class; however, there was an incident
in which classmates in her small group dismissed her chance to share her opinion,
while all other members went around to do so. She felt sad because it made her feel
like she was “automatically taken as someone who just never talks,” simply because
her classmates observed her silence in a large discussion.
Tom explained that his major was not a really “popular major for Asian people”
at his institution, and therefore, he was often one of only few Asian American
students in his classes. Though Tom did not feel as isolated or intimidated, Jane
expressed her feeling of being left out in small group discussions in particular. She
was scared to approach other students that have already formed a group, because
she was the only Asian and did not have other Asian American classmates to be in
a same group. Because Jane was not sure if other people wanted her in their group,
she often felt isolated whenever the instructor wanted them to form small groups for
discussions. Jane pointed out that if she had “more Asian people in the classroom,”
she would “have been more confident and start a conversation more easily” without
a fear of being not wanted by peers of other races. When Tom was asked how he
would feel if he was the only Asian student in class, he responded that he would
“stand out too much and definitely stereotyped,” being the only one to represent
Asian people. Jane responded that in situations like that, she felt “intimidated and
conscious” of her race. She elaborated that as an only Asian girl in the room, she
often becomes overly conscious of the way she spoke and behaved, so that she
would avoid the risks of being stereotyped as a typical Asian girl.
Mary and John identified a new common theme. They both shared their
experiences of being stereotyped as not social. John’s experience was not directly
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Asia Life Sciences Supplement 10, 2014
his own, but he talked about his non-Asian friends who wanted him to help them
date Asian women. One of his friends told John that most Asian women are not
approachable, because they are socially awkward. When he heard his friend say
this, he felt offended. In the interview with Mary, she said she heard someone else
talk about how much of a “social outcast” she was, although she had her own groups
of friends that accepted her and liked her. Although she did not do anything about
it because she felt like the person simply did not know her that well, she said that if
she was not Asian, the person “would not have had such strong bias about my social
li fe.”
As observed in interviews with Asian American students, they are also under
risks of being stereotyped on campus. Although they are often considered as the
“model minority” students, potential threats to their well-being on campus still
exists. Therefore, it is important that we understand their difficulty as students
and help them navigate their college experience. Instead of quickly assuming that
they experience less difficulty than other students because they are often known
to be the successful group, we must be aware of existing risks and barriers to their
academic success and psychosocial adjustment.
In addition, as mentioned earlier in the review of the literature, other groups
within the AAPI population (e.g., Southeast Asian and Pacif ic Islanders) are still
challenged in their access, retention, persistence and completion of higher education.
Even in the current study, the students who were interviewed consisted of three
East Asian Americans and only one Southeast Asian American, whose experiences
may be greatly different from those of other ethnic backgrounds. We acknowledge
that our samples in the current study are not representative of the whole AAPI
population and that our participants’ region of residence and institutions they
are attending may create gaps in what other AAPI college students experience
at their own institutions and in their regions. Students’ experience may also vary
depending on their institutional types (i.e., private vs. public and 2-year vs. 4-year)
and demographics of the regions (e.g., California vs. Vermont). Therefore, we must
highly consider the variability and diversity within the group of AAPI college
students, rather than simply lumping them into a single group that share the same
background, value and experience.
Understanding such limitations in this study and also in many other literatures,
it is suggested that AAPI students of other groups, who have lower level of access
to American higher education, be included in research and practice. Because the
model minority myth often generalizes AAPI students as successful students, we
often dismiss the challenges they face. In order to fulfill the social justice aspect of
higher education, it is important that all groups of students be included in the study
of AAPIs in higher education. They are in need of better understanding as much
as other students of color receives in the field, and inclusion of AAPI population
in higher education research would greatly enhance the public’s knowledge on the
group and the education personnel’s awareness of the group-specific issues.
Kwon, Kwon & Overton-Adkins 2014
Asia Life Sciences Supplement 10, 2014
Appendix 1. Modified Interview Questions Protocol.
Are there common stereotypes of AAPIs? If so, what are they?
How does the existence of these stereotypes influence the way you behave in certain
situations? Or do they have any influence on you at all?
How often have you felt stigmatized as an AAPI at one point in your life?
If not, what has helped you not experience this?
When did you feel stigmatized or marginalized as an AAPI?
Where did you feel this way?
Have you ever felt stigmatized as an AAPI in some of your classes?
Did you bring this attitude to the university or did it emerge when you began taking
Have you been an only AAPI or among a few AAPI students in your classes?
If so, how does this make you feel?
How does this solo status affect your behavior?
How would you behave if the class was mostly people of color or mostly AAPIs?
Would you behave differently than if the class were all white?
If you were in a class in which you are the only AAPI student, would there be more
of a possibility of you being stereotyped as an AAPI?
Have you ever felt mistreated or discriminated against on campus as a result of your
ethnicity or race?
Have you ever felt intimidated or threatened on campus?
Are there any other issues that may relate to the subject of stereotypes and
experiences that are largely influenced by such stereotypes that I did not discuss
or touch on?
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... Among other minority groups, Asians or Asian Americans are consistently the majority of recipients of positive stereotyping and are often seen as a model minority (Dalisay & Tan, 2009;Chang & Demyan, 2007). Model minority is defined as those who disproportionally achieve higher education, "brainy and successful" (Kwon, Kwon, & Overton-Adkins, 2014;Yoo & Castro, 2011). In other words, Asian Americans are seen as a model minority because Asian Americans are able to succeed academically and climb the ladder to greater income even though Asians or Asian Americans are a minority in America. ...
Full-text available
The author provides an overview of the Asian American population, its immigration patterns and trends, current demographics, and higher educational statistics and explains why student affairs professionals need to address the diversity of Asian American students if they are to be better served and supported.
The purpose of this study was to examine the ethnic identity development of Asian Pacific American college students in conjunction with their collegiate experience. The conceptual framework for this study was drawn from Weidman’s (1989) undergraduate socialization model and ethnic identity variables. Fifteen graduating Asian Pacific American seniors at a predominantly White, selective, and private university in the Southeast were interviewed for this cross-sectional qualitative inquiry. The findings showed that these students recognized their unique minority experience as Asian Pacific Americans. Another finding of this study was explicit and implicit connections between students’ academic and career aspirations and their ethnicity. Multi-institutional methods with a greater number of Asian Pacific American students are suggested for future research. Policy makers and practitioners need to become more knowledgeable about the complex nature of Asian Pacific American ethnic identity development in order to make informed decisions.
A total of 160 Asian Americans (55 Chinese, 13 Filipino, 27 Japanese, 32 Korean, 15 Pacific Islander, and 18 Vietnamese) completed a series of standardized instruments assessing their environmental, social, and psychological experiences as undergraduates. The purpose of this study was threefold: to provide a composite of student experiences; to investigate the interrelationships of comfort in the university environment, social support, and self‐beliefs; and to examine the influence of these constructs on the academic persistence decisions of Asian American undergraduates. Overall, social support variables were the strongest predictors of academic persistence. Research‐derived implications for university personnel and professional counselors are provided.
This article offers an exploration of the Asian Pacific American (APA) ethnic groups that show high rates of departure, and presents strategies and approaches to improving their persistence and graduation rates. A detailed examination of the APA population is presented to identify the subgroups that are underrepresented in higher education and who suffer from high dropout rates. Subsequently, several traditional retention theories are reviewed to determine how they apply to these APA subgroups. Specific barriers to college persistence for these students also are examined. Finally, the article presents strategies and programs designed to improve APA's persistence rates.
Conventional wisdom has long held that Asian American students are conscientious, brainy, and successful, and a look at the statistics makes it clear that many are. These students routinely post the highest scores on California's standardized tests, are most likely to graduate from high school, and have the highest rates of eligibility for admission to University of California (UC) for at least the last 20 years. Clearly, many Asian Americans have overcome tremendous obstacles in California and elsewhere to build successful lives in the United States. But these numbers don't tell the whole story, say Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) leaders. Advocates for the AAPI community released two national studies that highlight the huge disparities between the highest- and lowest-achieving members of the Asian Pacific Islander population and called for specific changes in national education policy and resource allocation to better address the needs of these students. Ronald Takaki, professor of ethnic studies at UC Berkeley, says "pundits and the media" bear some responsibility for perpetuating a myth that drives a wedge between different racial and ethnic groups. Ben Liao, an Asian Pacific Islander, is a school board member in the Cupertino Union School District--one of the highest-achieving districts in the state and one with a significant percentage of AAPI students. Liao says he is extremely concerned about the pressure some parents in his district are exerting on their children.
Most racial-ethnic stereotypes about Asian Americans are constructed, activated, and perpetuated by the media, but very few empirical studies have ever investigated the extent to which people accept the media stereotypes about Asians. This study applied cultivation theory to examine whether people's perceptions of Asian Americans are consistent with media stereotypes and whether the media activated racial-ethnic stereotypes affect people's interaction behaviors with Asians. Results demonstrate that people's perceptions and judgments about Asian Americans are largely aligned with the media representations, and these stereotypes impact people's intent to interact with Asians. Four specific findings were obtained. First, among racial-ethnic groups in the U.S., Asians are perceived as most likely to achieve academic success; second, Asians are most likely to be perceived as nerds; third, Asians are perceived as most likely to be left out; and last, people are least likely to initiate friendship with Asians and Hispanics.
Asian Americans are often thought of as high academic achievers. However, there is an overlooked and growing population of Asian American students who are educationally at risk and may need additional programs and services to help them succeed in college.