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The Intersection of Race and Gender: Asian American Men’s Experience of Discrimination.


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Asian American men’s experience of discrimination, based on the intersection of their gender and race, has gained research attention in past decades. However, the application of an intersectionality perspective in this area of research has been somewhat inconsistent. Therefore, this article presents 3 intersectionality conceptual paradigms that can be applied to the study of Asian American men’s experience of discrimination based on race and gender: (a) the Cumulative Disadvantage Paradigm, (b) the Subordinate Male Target Hypothesis Paradigm, and (c) the Intersectional Fusion Paradigm. In this article, we provide a description of these paradigms, a review of the empirical research supporting these paradigms, and an evaluation of the extent to which these paradigms are applicable to Asian American men’s experience of discrimination. We hope that this article can provide theoretical guidance to researchers and assist them in generating new study questions to address Asian American men’s experience of discrimination.
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Psychology of Men & Masculinity
The Intersection of Race and Gender: Asian American Men’s
Experience of Discrimination
Tao Liu and Y. Joel Wong
Online First Publication, November 10, 2016.
Liu, T., & Wong, Y. J. (2016, November 10). The Intersection of Race and Gender: Asian
American Men’s Experience of Discrimination. Psychology of Men & Masculinity. Advance online
The Intersection of Race and Gender: Asian American Men’s Experience
of Discrimination
Tao Liu and Y. Joel Wong
Indiana University Bloomington
Asian American men’s experience of discrimination, based on the intersection of their gender and race,
has gained research attention in past decades. However, the application of an intersectionality perspective
in this area of research has been somewhat inconsistent. Therefore, this article presents 3 intersectionality
conceptual paradigms that can be applied to the study of Asian American men’s experience of
discrimination based on race and gender: (a) the Cumulative Disadvantage Paradigm, (b) the Subordinate
Male Target Hypothesis Paradigm, and (c) the Intersectional Fusion Paradigm. In this article, we provide
a description of these paradigms, a review of the empirical research supporting these paradigms, and an
evaluation of the extent to which these paradigms are applicable to Asian American men’s experience of
discrimination. We hope that this article can provide theoretical guidance to researchers and assist them
in generating new study questions to address Asian American men’s experience of discrimination.
Keywords: Asian American men, intersectionality, conceptual paradigms
Since its first appearance in academic research, intersectionality
has gained increasing attention in the fields of law, public health,
sociology, psychology, and other disciplines. Grounded in femi-
nism and critical race theory, “intersectionality” was coined by
Kimberle Crenshaw (1991) to refer to women of color’s experi-
ences of multiple marginalizations in the feminist and antiracist
movements. Crenshaw critiqued identity politics by arguing that
because of Black women’s experiences of multiple forms of sub-
ordination based on both race and gender, violence against them
was marginalized in both feminist (primarily White) and antiracist
(primarily male) movements. As gender and race are the most
visible social identities by which human groups segregate and
oppress others (Alcoff, 2006), the first generation of intersection-
ality studies focused on the interface of racism and sexism
women of color’s experiences of oppression.
Subsequent studies on intersectionality focused on foreground-
ing multiple forms of oppression (e.g., racism, sexism, classism,
and homophobia). With the advancement of intersectionality re-
search, the definition of intersectionality has evolved. McCall
(2005) defined intersectionality as “the relationships among mul-
tiple dimensions and modalities of social relations and subject
formations” (p. 1771). In contemporary research, intersectionality
not only refers to a content area that describes intersecting iden-
tities, but also as a research paradigm to examine the interplay of
multiple categories of difference (Hancock, 2007; Wong, Liu, &
Klann, in press). For example, Cole observed that as a result of the
intersection of multiple identities, people often experience oppres-
sion and prejudice in one way, and privilege and advantage in
another; for example, middle-class women and Black men (Cole,
2009). Reflecting this interest, Bowleg (2012) defined intersec-
tionality as
a theoretical framework that posits that multiple social categories
(e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status)
intersect at the micro level of individual experience to reflect multiple
interlocking systems of privilege and oppression at the macro, social-
structural level (e.g., racism, sexism, heterosexism). (p. 1267)
Consistent with this emphasis on women of color’s experiences,
applications of intersectionality research to Asian American people
initially focused on understanding Asian American women’s experi-
ence of discrimination (e.g., Chan, 1988; Kim, Anderson, Hall, &
Willingham, 2010; Patel, 2007). In contrast, Asian American men
have, until recently, been at the margins of intersectionality research.
Including Asian American men in intersectionality research is impor-
tant for several reasons. First, researchers can study the complex
interface of power, privilege, and oppression (Cole, 2009), since
Asian American men potentially occupy dual positions of privilege
and marginalization as men and racial minority, respectively. Second,
intersectionality research can help turn the spotlight on Asian Amer-
ican men’s distinct experiences of gendered racism, arising from the
interface of gender and race (Essed, 1990), a phenomenon we discuss
in greater detail later in this article. Third, intersectionality research
Following Sue (2003), we use the term racial discrimination to refer
broadly to any form of race-based discrimination, regardless of the race of
the perpetuator, and the term racism to refer only to racial discrimination
perpetuated by Whites against people of color on the basis of the former’s
societal power and privileges. Similarly, we use the term, gender discrim-
ination to refer broadly to any form of gender discrimination, regardless of
the sex of the perpetuator, and the term sexism to refer only to gender
discrimination perpetuated by men against women on the basis of the
former’s societal power and privileges.
Tao Liu and Y. Joel Wong, Department of Counseling and Educational
Psychology, Indiana University Bloomington.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tao Liu,
Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, Indiana Univer-
sity Bloomington, 201 North Rose Avenue, Rm 4052 Bloomington, IN
47405-1005. E-mail:
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Psychology of Men & Masculinity © 2016 American Psychological Association
2016, Vol. 18, No. 1, 000 1524-9220/16/$12.00
helps us understand how Asian American men negotiate their mas-
culinity in relation to hegemonic masculinity, defined as “a culturally
idealized form of masculine character” that includes the dominance of
men over women and of privileged men over marginalized men
(Demetriou, 2001).
Against this backdrop, several scholars have called for more
research on Asian American men’s experiences of discrimina-
tion from an intersectionality perspective (Iwamoto & Liu,
2009; Lewis & Grzanka, 2016; Liang, Rivera, Nathwani, Dang,
& Douroux, 2010). Nevertheless, recent psychological studies
on Asian American men were characterized by two limitations:
they either did not explicitly state the guiding theoretical per-
spective (e.g., Cheng, McDermott, Wong, & La, 2016), or were
not specific about the type of intersectionality perspective when
it was applied (Wong, Owen, Tran, Collins, & Higgins, 2012).
As will be shown in our review of the literature below, the
intersectionality perspective is not a unitary viewpoint but can
be categorized into at least three conceptual paradigms, each
with differing emphases. Some of these conceptual paradigms
have been used as theoretical frameworks in empirical research
on men and women of color, although, with only a few excep-
tions (Ghavami & Peplau, 2013), they have not been explicitly
applied to empirical research on Asian American men.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to advance research
by presenting conceptual paradigms
that can be applied to
understand Asian American men’s experience of discrimination
at the intersection of race and gender. The experience of dis-
crimination is an important topic for Asian American individ-
uals because of its deleterious impact on well-being (Iwamoto,
Liao, & Liu, 2010) and its prevalence (about one in five report
being treated unfairly in the past year because of their race; Pew
Research Center, 2013). We identify three conceptual para-
digms that investigate the intersection of Asian American men’s
gender and race: (a) the Cumulative Disadvantage Paradigm,
(b) the Subordinate Male Target Hypothesis Paradigm, and (c)
the Intersectional Fusion Paradigm. We want to clarify that our
categorization of the conceptual paradigms is not exhaustive,
and thus some studies may not be accounted by any of the
paradigms (see Table 1 for illustrations of research foci and
questions for each conceptual paradigm). Also, although we
review three intersectionality paradigms, we intent to critique
the first two paradigms and encourage researchers to utilize the
Intersectional Fusion Paradigm to design conceptually strong
intersectionality studies.
A review of literature in the three paradigms could serve a few
purposes for research on Asian American men. First, our review
will reveal gaps in the literature on Asian American men and assist
scholars in generating new research questions. Second, our dis-
cussion of the three conceptual paradigms can help researchers
better articulate and strengthen their conceptual basis of future
research on Asian American men. In addition, our review can
enhance the visibility of research on Asian American men in
psychology and related disciplines. Accordingly, what follows is a
description of these paradigms, a review of the empirical research
supporting these paradigms, and an evaluation of the extent to
which these paradigms are applicable to Asian American men’s
experience of discrimination.
Cumulative Disadvantage Paradigm
The Cumulative Disadvantage Paradigm examines individuals’
social marginalization based on the cumulative effects of their
multiple social identities (Beale, 1979; Crenshaw, 1993). Although
scholars disagree on whether the Cumulative Disadvantage Para-
digm is best characterized as an intersectionality approach (Han-
cock, 2007), we follow Cole’s (2009) and Crenshaw’s (1989)
classification of intersectionality as encompassing individuals’ ex-
perience of cumulative disadvantage arising from their multiple
identities. Within this paradigm, there are two different models
that examine multiple forms of oppression and multiple margin-
alized identities: the additive model and the multiplicative/inter-
active model.
Additive Model
The additive model was developed by earlier scholars who
coined the term “double jeopardy” (Beale, 1979) to examine the
added experiences of gender prejudice beyond the racial prejudice
experienced by African American women. Later the term “triple
jeopardy” (Greene, 1994) was used to examine oppression based
on sexual orientation as the third dimension of jeopardy and
classism as the fourth (Smith, 1983). The additive model draws
parallels between racism and sexism. Scholars adopting this model
argued that because individuals experience parallel oppression
associated with each of their subordinate identities, the total ex-
periences of subordination based on different social identities
could be summed together (Grollman, 2012, 2014).
Quantitative studies based on the additive model have produced
conflicting results. Some studies reported corroborating results for
this model— compared to more privileged counterparts, adults
with multiple disadvantaged identities experienced more forms of
as well as more frequent and chronic discrimination and in turn,
appraised these experiences as more distressing (Grollman, 2012,
2014). These studies demonstrated that the accumulation of forms
and chronicity of discrimination compromises individuals’ well-
being. In contrast, other studies found no difference in health or
mental health status between those who have multiple disadvan-
taged identities and their privileged counterparts (e.g., Consola-
cion, Russell, & Sue, 2004; Ferraro & Farmer, 1996; McLeod &
Owens, 2004).
Applied to the study of Asian American individuals’ experience
of discrimination based on gender and race, the additive model
predicts that Asian American men would experience lower levels
of overall discrimination than Asian American women because the
latter occupy two subordinate identities on the basis of race and
gender, whereas Asian American men’s gender reflects a privi-
leged status in society. Additionally, the model proposes that the
mental health and health outcomes of Asian American women
would be worse than Asian American men.
To date, very few studies on Asian American psychological
research were grounded in the Additive Model because gender
differences in overall perceived discrimination have not been a key
focus. The only quantitative study that we found examining overall
The focus of this article is on intersectionality conceptual paradigms
rather than on methodological paradigms. For a review of intersectionality
methodological paradigms, refer to Wong, Liu, and Klann (in press).
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discrimination among Asian American men and women reported
that the effects of discrimination on chronic health conditions did
not differ between Asian American men and women (Gee, Spen-
cer, Chen, Yip, & Takeuchi, 2007).
In general, support for the Additive Model is weak, and studies
focusing on Asian American people’s overall experience of dis-
crimination, rather than on racism alone, are limited. Studies that
focus only on gender differences in Asian American people’s
experiences of racism cannot provide support for the Additive
Model since the model is premised on the cumulative effects of
multiple forms of discrimination (e.g., sexism and racism). Thus,
the effects of multiple subordinate social identities on perceived
discrimination and well-being is largely unknown among Asian
American individuals.
Multiplicative/Interactive Model
Alternatively, scholars who adopt the Multiplicative/Interactive
Model argue that the relationship between social identities are
interactive and multiplicative (King, 1988; Settles, 2006). The
term multiplicative refers to the phenomenon that not only do
individuals experience multiple types of oppression simultane-
ously, but also that the effects of multiple identities depend on their
interactions with each other. Translating this model to empirical
research, studies have examined how an outcome is predicted by
the interaction effects between two or more forms of social iden-
tities or discrimination, in addition to the main effects of various
types of discrimination alone. For example, if poor Asian Amer-
ican men experience two types of oppression based on race and
socioeconomic status, the effects of racism on their well-being
may be moderated by or conditional on their experiences of
The Multiplicative/Interactive Model has been applied to sev-
eral people of color groups, especially women of color. With
regard to African American women, two quantitative studies have
shown that the interactive effect of racism and sexism on mental
health was not significant. Moradi and Subich (2003) examined the
effects of racism and sexism, as well as their interaction on
psychological distress among African American women, but found
that only the experience of sexism contributed to the outcome, not
the interaction between the two forms of discrimination. Buchanan
and Fitzgerald (2008) examined the effects of sexual and racial
harassment experienced by African American women at the work-
place, and found that the interaction between these two types of
harassment significantly predicted supervisor satisfaction and per-
ceived organizational tolerance of harassment, but not psycholog-
ical well-being.
Applying the Multiplicative/Interactive Model to the study of
Asian American individuals, the theory would predict that not only
do gender and race impact Asian American individuals’ experi-
ences of subordination independently and separately, but also that
the interaction effects between race and gender, as well as with
other social identities, would shape their experiences of discrimi-
nation. To our knowledge, no published articles have studied the
interaction effects of race- and gender-based discrimination among
Asian American men.
Evaluation of the Cumulative Disadvantage Paradigm
Despite the differences in quantifying intersectional oppression,
both the Additive and Interactive Models focus on the cumulative
effects of constructs associated with multiple identities. The Cu-
mulative Disadvantage Paradigm has drawn attention to experi-
ences of discrimination by those with multiple oppressed identi-
ties. However, as shown in the abovementioned literature review,
studies based on this paradigm have produced conflicting results or
null effects (Consolacion et al., 2004; Ferraro & Farmer, 1996;
Grollman, 2012, 2014; McLeod & Owens, 2004).
In contrast to the large volume of literature on discrimination
based on multiple identities in other people of color groups,
especially African Americans (e.g., Buchanan & Fitzgerald, 2008),
there are limited studies centering on Asian American individuals’
The Gee et al. (2007) study did not report gender differences in the
experience of discrimination.
Table 1
Intersectionality Conceptual Paradigms for Studying Asian American Men’s Experiences of Discrimination Based on Race and
Gender: Illustrative Research Questions and Methods
Research paradigm Focus Illustrative research questions
Cumulative disadvantage paradigm
Additive model Group comparison in discrimination
based on cumulative marginalized
Do Asian American men experience lower levels of
overall discrimination than Asian American women?
Multiplicative/Interactive model Multiplicative effects of different types of
discrimination based on multiple social
Does the interaction effect between racism and gender
discrimination uniquely and significantly influence
Asian American men’s well-being?
Subordinate male target hypothesis
Group comparison in discrimination
based on men’s prototypically of their
racial group
Do Asian American men experience higher levels of racial
discrimination than Asian American women?
Intersectional fusion paradigm
Racist-gender stress model Stressful impact of racism on gender-
related variables
How does the experience of racism affect Asian American
men’s experience of masculinity threat, gender role
stress, and gender role conflict?
Gendered racism model Fused and unique discriminatory
experiences arising from the interface
of gender and race
What are the specific dimensions of Asian American
men’s experience of gendered racism?
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experiences of marginalization based on their social identities.
Within Asian American psychology, studies have either focused
on racism among Asian American people in general or sexism
among Asian American women alone, but have not examined the
two types of discrimination and their interaction.
Overall, we argue that the Cumulative Disadvantage Paradigm
is limited in its conceptualization of Asian American men’s expe-
riences of discrimination. In this paradigm, experiences related to
different social identities (e.g., race and gender) are compartmen-
talized. Although the Multiplicative/Interactive Model includes a
focus on the relationship between different types of oppression
associated with corresponding identities, it focuses on the added
contribution of the interaction between gender and racial variables,
rather than unpacking how experiences associated with several
social groups are inherently intertwined. Focusing on the interac-
tion effect between racism and gender discrimination does not
provide insight into understanding the unique experiences arising
from the interface of these two experiences of discrimination.
Thus, Dill and Kohlman (2012) referred to this conceptualization
as “weak intersectionality.”
Subordinate Male Target Hypothesis Paradigm
The Subordinate Male Target Hypothesis (SMTH), grounded in
the Social Dominance Theory, argues that subordinate men, rather
than women, are the main target of oppression because of their
social identity of men as the dominant gender (Sidanius & Pratto,
1999). According to the SMTH, because racism tends to be con-
ceptualized in terms of prototypical group members, intergroup
oppression is directed more at subordinate men rather than subor-
dinate women (Sidanius & Pratto, 2003). Due to androcentrism,
men are represented as prototypes of their social group and thus
bear the brunt of discrimination and prejudice (Purdie-Vaughns &
Eibach, 2008). In contrast, subordinate women with two or more
subordinate identities are rendered invisible, and this invisibility
partially protects them from bearing the brunt of prejudice and
oppression. For this reason, it is hypothesized that the deleterious
impact of racism would likely be greater for men of color versus
women of color (Sidanius & Pratto, 2003).
The SMTH also contends that both men and women participate
in prejudice primarily targeted at outgroup men based on different
underlying motivations. For men, the fundamental purpose is to
maintain their dominant status by impeding subordinate men from
obtaining material and symbolic resources. For females, their
motivation is to avoid danger by outgroup men, especially per-
ceived vulnerability to sexual coercion. For this reason, intergroup
oppression is directed more at minority men rather than at minority
women (Pratto, Sidanius, & Levin, 2006; Sidanius & Pratto, 2003).
We consider the SMTH an intersectionality paradigm because it
examines the interplay of privilege and oppression based on ad-
vantaged and disadvantaged social identities experienced by men
of color, a core concept recognized in intersectionality scholarship
(Derous, Ryan, & Nguyen, 2012; Goff & Kahn, 2013). The SMTH
paradigm is unique in that it goes beyond a gender comparative
approach (Lewis & Grzanka, 2016) to provide specific hypotheses
on men of color’s experiences of oppression; in so doing, it
foregrounds the social mechanisms of men of color’s experiences
of oppression and privilege. Moreover, we are not the first scholars
to classify the SMTH as an intersectional perspective. A number of
other scholars have also cited Sidanius and Pratto’s (1999) SMTH
and framed it as an intersectional perspective (Derous et al., 2012;
Goff & Kahn, 2013).
Empirical Evidence for the SMTH
Various types of empirical evidence showing that men of color
are the primary targets of intergroup discrimination support the
SMTH. For example, a study found that national stereotypes
resemble more stereotypes of men than of women (Eagly & Kite,
1987). A nationally representative sample of adults found that men
of color experience double the frequency of discrimination based
on race than women of color (Puhl, Andreyeva, & Brownell,
2008). A similar result was found in another study using a college
sample (Landrine, Klonoff, Corral, Fernandez, & Roesch, 2006).
Additionally, compared to their female counterparts, Asian Amer-
ican men are less preferred by women of all racial groups in
romantic partner selections (Fisman, Iyengar, Kamenica, & Si-
monson, 2008).
Applying the SMTH to research on the intersection of race and
gender among Asian American individuals, this paradigm would
hypothesize that (a) Asian American men experience higher levels
of racism than Asian American women; and that (b) the negative
impact of racism is greater for Asian American men than for Asian
American women. Regarding the first hypothesis, research has
produced inconsistent results. Thus far, two measures have been
developed to assess Asian American individuals’ experiences of
racism—the Subtle and Blatant Racism Scale for Asian Americans
; Yoo, Steger, & Lee, 2010) and the Asian American
Racism Related Stress Inventory (AARRSI; Liang, Alvarez,
Juang, & Liang, 2007). In the SABR-A
, blatant racism refers to
explicit forms of racism and is measured by items such as being
called names, questioned about English skills, physically as-
saulted, and made fun of. In contrast, subtle racism addresses more
implicit forms of racism and is measured by items such as being
treated differently, viewed suspiciously, overlooked, and facing
barriers in society. Three separate studies using the SABR-A
produced different results; results demonstrated that either Asian
American men experienced higher levels of subtle and overall
racism (Yoo et al., 2010) or higher levels of blatant racism than
Asian American women (Burrola, 2012), or no gender difference
(Yoo et al., 2010). Similarly, research on the AARRSI also found
different results in different samples. While one study using the
AARRSI in a sample of Asian American college students from two
West and East Coast universities reported higher levels of racism-
related stress among men than women (Liang et al., 2007), another
study using a sample of college students in a mid-Atlantic univer-
sity (Liang & Fassinger, 2008) reported no gender differences.
In addition, studies using general racism measures that are
applicable to all racial minorities also reported conflicting find-
ings. Some studies found that Asian American men experienced
higher levels of racism measured by the Perceived Discrimination
Scale (Lee, 2005) and direct racism (but not vicarious or collective
racism) and microaggression, as measured by the Racial and Life
Experiences Scale (Alvarez, Juang, & Liang, 2006). Another
group of studies found that Asian American men and women did
not differ in their perceived structural racism as measured by the
Color-Blind Racial Attitude Scale (Tawa, Suyemoto, & Roemer,
2012), past and lifetime racism assessed by the Schedule of Racist
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Events (Concepcion, personal communication, April 8, 2015; Con-
cepcion, Kohatsu, & Yeh, 2013), general discrimination as mea-
sured by the General Ethnic Discrimination Scale (Hwang & Goto,
2009), a single question (Goto, Gee, & Takeuchi, 2002; Lam,
2007), and an author-developed multiitem measure (Greene, Way,
& Pahl, 2006). These studies also varied in their choices of sample,
with diversity in age, student status, and geographical location.
The SMTH’s prediction that Asian American men are worse off
than Asian American women has also received mixed support.
Some researchers found no significant gender difference in self-
reported depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, somatic symp-
toms among Asian American men and women (Chen, Szalacha, &
Menon, 2014). In another study (Yoo & Lee, 2005), gender was
not related to negative affect or life satisfaction among Asian
American individuals but was related to positive affect—Asian
American women reported higher levels of positive affect.
The SMTH’s proposal that men of color are more prototypical
of their racial group than women of color was challenged by
several recent studies that examined Asian male prototypicality in
the intersection of race and gender (Johnson, Freeman, & Pauker,
2012; Schug, Alt, & Klauer, 2015; Wilkins, Chan, & Kaiser,
2011). Schug et al. (2015) found that Asian American men were
perceived by participants in a White-dominated sample as less
prototypical of their race compared to Asian American women.
Through a Who-Said-What memory task and a free story writing
activity, the results showed that compared to Asian American
women, Asian American men’s speeches were less memorized or
less written about in a spontaneous writing exercise about Asian
American people. Thus, the authors concluded that unlike African
American men who are regarded as the prototype of their racial
group, Asian American men are not the representative gender of
their racial group. Similarly, Johnson and his colleagues (2012)
found that the combination of race and gender categories for Black
women and Asian men were experienced by college students as
atypical and less representative of their respective racial groups.
These results contradict the prototypicality hypothesis and suggest
that Asian American men bear more intersectional invisibility than
Asian American women; thus, they may be more likely overlooked
and ignored than Asian American women.
Evaluation of the SMTH Paradigm
In contrast to the Cumulative Disadvantage Paradigm’s focus on
cumulative negative effects associated with multiple subordinate
identities, the SMTH focuses on subordinate men’s role as primary
targets of oppression. This paradigm not only provides possible
explanation of Asian American men’s greater vulnerability to
outgroup discrimination, but also an interpretation of the differen-
tial underlying motivations that produce dominant men’s and
women’s outgroup discrimination. One contribution of this para-
digm is that it examines individuals’ privileges and disadvantages
simultaneously. The SMTH foregrounds the experiences of dis-
crimination among men of color based on the intersection of race
and gender: men are regarded as the major targets of discrimina-
tion because they belong to the privileged gender subgroup in their
racial group. Thus, the SMTH recognizes Asian American men’s
experiences of discrimination are not necessarily buffered by their
male privilege. However, when applied to Asian American men,
this paradigm suffers from several limitations.
As shown in the abovementioned literature review research, one
limitation is that the evidence for the SMTH’s applicability to
Asian American men has been mixed. Several assumptions within
the SMTH Paradigm have not been supported by studies on Asian
American men. For example, the SMTH argues that the underlying
motivation for women to engage in discrimination toward out-
group men is to avoid potential sexual coercion (Sidanius & Pratto,
2003). However, this hypothesis might be most relevant to African
American men (Goff & Kahn, 2013). The hypothesis that men of
color are perceived as sexual aggressors by White women were
mainly confined to studies involving samples of Black men (Ha-
ley, Sidanius, Lowery, & Malamuth, 2004; Navarrete, Fessler,
Fleischman, & Geyer, 2009; Navarrete, McDonald, Molina, &
Sidanius, 2010). There is no empirical evidence showing that this
stereotype is also applicable to Asian American men in contem-
porary American society. As shown in our literature review in the
next section, Asian American men are less preferred in romantic
partner selection because they are perceived as physically weak
and sexually unattractive (Fisman et al., 2008), rather than because
they are perceived as physically or sexually threatening.
In addition, the representative prototypicality hypothesis as ap-
plied to Asian American men for their race has not received
empirical support, as described in the abovementioned review of
research (Johnson et al., 2012; Schug et al., 2015; Wilkins et al.,
2011). Thus, the underlying assumption that subordinate men are
targets of racism due to their prototypicality may not apply to
Asian American men. Research findings conflict with the Social
Dominance Theory’s contention that arbitrary-set groups should
be viewed as male-gendered social categories (Haley et al., 2004).
In fact, studies have shown that Asian American men experience
invisibility as a form of discrimination (Ho, 2011), rather than as
a way to escape discrimination. In a study on individuals’ percep-
tions of perpetrators and targets of racism (Goff & Kahn, 2013),
respondents were asked to imagine a person who was a target of
racism. The researchers found that although 79% of respondents
reported that their imagined target of racism was a man (as was
consistent with the SMTH), 100% of these targets of racism were
imagined to be Black. This finding underscores the invisibility of
Asian American men in individuals’ conceptualizations of racism.
Finally, the SMTH’s focus on a quantitative comparison of
discrimination between men and women is an oversimplification
of Asian American men’s life experiences. This approach does not
aid researchers in understanding when and how gender operates as
a system of oppression or as an aspect of identity (Alvarez et al.,
2006; Concepcion et al., 2013; Goto et al., 2002; Greene et al.,
2006; Hwang & Goto, 2009; Lam, 2007; Tawa et al., 2012).
Researchers who studied the SMTH primarily used gender and
race as categorical variables in their statistical analysis (Haley et
al., 2004; Navarrete et al., 2009, 2010). Although the theory
explains the motivation of those who engage in discrimination
toward outgroup men, it fails to explain the psychological mech-
anisms of perceived discrimination in Asian American men. That
is, the SMTH only explains the motivation of discrimination from
the perpetrator’s point of view, but not from the perceiver’s point
of view. For example, questions unanswered by the SMTH include
how heterosexual Asian American men experience discrimination
in dating experiences by women from a racially privileged back-
ground, that is, White women.
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Intersectional Fusion Paradigm
In contrast to both the Cumulative Disadvantage Paradigm and
the SMTH Paradigm, several intersectionality scholars emphasize
that the intersection of social identities engenders unique experi-
ences and that meanings of race and gender cannot be fully
understood without considering one another (Stewart & McDer-
mott, 2004; Shields, 2008). This perspective has been simply
referred to as intersectionality by some scholars (Cole, 2009;
Lewis & Grzanka, 2016). However, because the other conceptual
paradigms discussed in this article are also rooted in the intersec-
tionality perspective, we use the term Intersectional Fusion to
distinguish it from other conceptual models and describe the
paradigm that emphasizes the mutually constitutive and inherently
connected nature of social identities as well as experiences related
to these identities.
A fundamental assumption of this paradigm is that intersectional
identities and related experiences are defined in relation to one
another. In contrast to both the Cumulative Disadvantage Para-
digm and the SMTH Paradigm, the Intersectional Fusion Paradigm
claims that experiences of discrimination based on the intersection
of race and gender are interdependent and cannot be reduced to
either gender or racial discrimination only (Cole & Zucker, 2007).
Put differently, the joint experiences arising from multiple identi-
ties are mutually constitutive and nonadditive. Rather than focus-
ing on the quantitative additions of different types of discrimina-
tion, the Intersectional Fusion Paradigm emphasizes the qualities
of discrimination at different intersectional positions. Applied to
Asian American men, it implies that their experiences of discrim-
ination cannot be understood simply by adding the experiences of
being Asian American to being a man. It is not meaningful to
assess whether stereotypes of Asian American men’s lack of
masculinity is more harmful than stereotypes about Asian Amer-
ican women’s hypersexuality (Shields, 2008)— both experiences
deserve to be studied in their own right. This emphasis shifts the
focus of research from examining whether Asian American men or
women experience greater disadvantages to identifying salient
features of gendered racism for each group. Under this paradigm,
we propose two conceptual models: the Racist-Gender Stress
Model and the Gendered Racism Model.
Racist-Gender Stress Model
Several scholars have proposed theoretical conceptualizations
about how racism affects men of color’s gender identity and stress.
Hammond, Fleming, and Villa-Torres (2016) proposed an inte-
grated biopsychosocial model explaining how everyday racism
threatens and challenges the masculine social self for African
American men. They specified that when the significance and
meaning of everyday racism exceeds the resources to overcome
them, racism elicits negative evaluations or internal judgments
about the core aspects of African American men’s identity. In the
same vein, O’Neil (2015) proposed a multicultural model in which
oppressive macrolevel factors (e.g., racism) impact microlevel
multicultural variables (e.g., negative racial identities), which then
exacerbate men of color’s gender role conflict.
Based on the abovementioned conceptual models, we propose
the Racist-Gender Stress Model, which states that racism is expe-
rienced by men of color as a threat or challenge to their manhood,
resulting in gender-related stress. The impact of racism on gender-
related stress is expressed in several ways. First, racism puts
pressure on men of color to adhere to hegemonic masculine ideals
that impose dominant White masculine norms on men of color.
Nonadherence to these ideal masculine norms creates masculine
stress at the individual level (Iwamoto & Liu, 2009). For example,
Asian American men who do not conform to White hegemonic
masculine norms that emphasize athletic abilities might be per-
ceived by others as less masculine (Wong, Horn, & Chen, 2013).
Second, experiences of social rejection, alienation, and marginal-
ization related to racism threatens men of color’s power and sense
of self as men (Liu, 2002). Third, racism placed men of color at the
margin for resource competition, thus affecting their ability to
perform masculine gender roles, such as providing for their fam-
ilies (Hammond et al., 2016).
Empirical evidence. Several studies provide support for the
Racist-Gender Stress Model. Utilizing a disguised experimental
design, Goff, Di Leone, and Kahn (2012) examined how racism
threatened Black men’s masculinity. Both Black and White men
were asked to engage in a creativity task and were given either
racially discriminatory or neutral feedback to the task. Black men,
but not White men, engaged in more compensatory masculine
behavior (i.e., more pushups) after being exposed to racial dis-
crimination. Additionally for Black men, the researchers found
that the effect of racial discrimination on the compensatory mas-
culine behavior was mediated through greater vigilance to mascu-
linity threat cues: the more vigilant Black men were to masculine
threat cues, the more pushups they performed after the racism
exposure. However, this mediation pathway was not found among
White men. In another study, Liang and his colleagues (Liang,
Salcedo, & Miller, 2011) examined interactions between racism
and Latino masculine ideologies in predicting Latino men’s gender
role conflict. Perceived racism accentuated the positive relation-
ship between Latino masculine ideologies and gender role conflict,
thus underscore the link between racism and gender-related stress.
In a similar fashion, perceived racism was positively associated
with gender role conflict among Latino day workers (Arellano-
Morales, Liang, Ruiz, & Rios-Oropeza, 2016). Also, consistent
with the Multiplicative/Interactive Model, perceived racism mod-
erated the relationship between gender role conflict and life satis-
faction, such that greater gender role conflict was related to de-
creased life satisfaction only when perceived racism was high. The
authors explained that in the context of economic exploitation,
Latino day workers’ experience of racism may interfere with their
ability to succeed financially and provide for their family, which is
a prescribed masculine gender norm.
To our knowledge, only one study has applied the Racist-
Gender Stress Model to Asian American men. Wong, Tsai, Liu,
Zhu, and Wei (2014) found that perceived racism positively pre-
dicted Asian male international students’ subjective masculinity
stress, although this association was significant only when mascu-
line identity centrality was high, but not low. When being a man
was a central component of participants’ identities, perceived
racism became relevant to their gender, and thus exacerbated their
experiences of subjective masculinity stress. Following Wong et
al. (2014), more studies are needed to examine whether the effects
of racism on Asian American men’s gender-related stress are
conditional on another masculinity variable. For example, future
research could examine the moderating effects of conformity to
masculine norms (Mahalik et al., 2003), gender role conflict
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(O’Neil, Helms, Gable, David, & Wrightsman, 1986), and mascu-
line ideology (Levant, Rankin, Williams, Hasan, & Smalley,
The Racist-Gender Stress Model provides a theoretical frame-
work to examine the unique interplay between privilege and mar-
ginalization for men of color: that is, the privilege and power
associated with being a man is threatened because of discrimina-
tory experiences associated with his devalued group membership.
In contrast to the SMTH Paradigm, the Racist-Gender Stress
Model explains how men of color’s privilege and power are
adversely affected due to their racial minority status. We encour-
age future researchers to use this model to investigate the interplay
of racial, gender, and other social variables, (e.g., immigration and
age), that contributes to the unique stresses of manhood for Asian
American men. A plausible hypothesis is that the impact of racism
on gender-related stress is stronger for U.S.-born as well as
younger, emerging adult Asian American men than for their im-
migrant and older counterparts. This is because race might be a
more central identity for U.S.-born versus immigrant men, while
emerging adults might be more engaged in exploring their identi-
ties and are therefore more sensitive to threats to their social
identities (Arnett, 2000). Conversely, we hypothesize that a posi-
tive ethnic identity might serve as a protective factor that buffers
the impact of racism on Asian American men’s gender-related
stress. In addition, we also hypothesize that a positive racial
identity might buffer the deleterious effects of racism on gender-
related stress, as racial identity pertains to one’s understanding of
racial superiority or inferiority (Chen, Lephuoc, Guzman, Rude, &
Dodd, 2006; Cokley, 2005; Iwamoto et al., 2010).
Gendered Racism Model
The unique combination of gender and race create distinct
experiences of discrimination, namely, gendered racism (Essed,
1990). The term “gendered racism” was first coined by Essed to
refer to “the racial oppression of Black women as structured by
racist and ethnicist perception of gender roles” (Essed, 1990, p.31),
although, more recently, it has also been applied to men of color
(Schwing, Wong, & Fann, 2013), including Asian American men
(Liang et al., 2010). In contrast to the Racist-Gender Stress Model,
which focuses on how racism contributes to gender stress, the
Gendered Racism Model explains how the content of racism is
unique for specific combinations of racial and gender groups.
Specifically, experiences of racism are qualitatively different
among men and women from the same racial group. To illustrate,
Asian American men’s experiences of discrimination are grounded
in the interlocking nature of race and gender and are therefore
qualitatively different from the experiences of men of color from
other racial groups and Asian American women.
Empirical evidence. A cluster of studies have focused on
identifying the salient dimensions of intersectionality for minori-
ties, particularly in terms of how they are perceived (e.g., Dono-
van, 2011; Goff, Thomas, & Jackson, 2008). One study that
examined the gender, race, and gender-by-race stereotypes of
Asian, Black, Latinos, and Middle Eastern Americans found that,
in general, not only are racial stereotypes gendered, but gender
stereotypes are also racialized. The authors identified unique race-
by-gender stereotypes for each combination of race and gender
(Ghavami & Peplau, 2013). For example, unique stereotypes about
Asian American men that were different from other racial and
gender groups include being effeminate, small build, and having
small penises. Other studies have identified the dimensions of
gendered racism for racial minorities. Such studies include scale
development projects to measure gendered racism for African
American men (Schwing et al., 2013) and African American
women (Lewis & Neville, 2015). For instance, Schwing et al.
(2013) developed a scale with three dimensions of gendered rac-
ism stress that were relatively unique to African American men:
violence, absent fatherhood, and sports. The effects of gendered
racism stress on African American men’s psychological distress
were also unique from what could be explained by general racism
and masculine gender role stress alone.
Stereotypes of Asian American men. A number of studies
focused mostly on unique or salient stereotypes about Asian Amer-
ican men. Our review of the literature identified at least seven
potential stereotypes that speak to Asian American men’s experi-
ence of gendered racism in the United States.
First, Asian American men are perceived as innately good at
martial arts. Research based on individual interviews (Ho, 2011)
and open-ended responses (Wong et al., 2012) have shown that
Asian American men are sometimes perceived as martial art ex-
perts and gangsters.
Second, Asian American men are perceived as sexually unat-
tractive and undesirable romantic partners. Studies based on inter-
views (Ho, 2011), content analysis (Lu & Wong, 2013), and
quantitative analysis (Ghavami & Peplau, 2013) have shown that
Asian American men are perceived as asexual, having smaller
penises, and having unflattering physical attributes that make them
less desirable romantic partners than men from other races.
Third, Asian American men are perceived as effeminate, psy-
chologically emasculated, and physically inferior. Multiple studies
have identified this stereotype of Asian American men through
qualitative, quantitative, and media studies (Chua & Fujino, 1999;
Do, 2006; Guo & Harlow, 2014; Ho, 2011; Phua, 2007; Wilkins et
al., 2011; Wong, 2008; Wong et al., 2013). Using free responses,
Niemann, Jennings, Rozelle, Baxter, and Sullivan (1994) docu-
mented perceptions of feminine attributes (e.g., speak softly, shy,
and caring) for Asian American men. Other studies have shown
Asian American men were portrayed as nonathletic (Ho, 2011;
Liu, Iwamoto, & Chae, 2011), lacking in physical ability (Wong et
al., 2013), weak, and frail (Do, 2006).
Fourth, Asian American men are perceived as nerdy, unsociable,
and lacking in leadership skills. They are stereotyped as unsocia-
ble, lacking social skills, and socially inept in empirical studies
(Do, 2006; Ho, 2011; Mok, 1999; Niemann et al., 1994; Wong,
2008). Relatedly, Asian American men are characterized as com-
puter geeks in social media (Paek & Shah, 2003). In two quanti-
tative studies (Wong, 2008), Asian American men were shown to
be perceived as lacking leadership compared to White men. Spe-
cifically, they were viewed as meek, stoic, shy, inarticulate, emo-
tionally distant, and submissive. Although this stereotype might
also apply to Asian American women, it is particularly salient for
Asian American men because the stereotype of passivity contra-
dicts hegemonic masculine norms in U.S. society that emphasize
dominance and assertiveness (Mahalik et al., 2003). This perceived
deviance leads to the devaluation of Asian American men’s lead-
ership abilities. Indeed, Cheng’s (1996a) study (as cited in Cheng,
1996b) found that because individuals tended to prefer leaders who
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possess masculine traits, Asian American men were the least likely
to be chosen as leaders.
Fifth, Asian American men are stereotyped as untrustworthy.
They are more likely to be perceived as villains, vile, cunning, or
scheming, according to both qualitative and quantitative studies
(Chen, 1999; Do, 2006; Ho, 2011). Scholars suggest that the
notion of Asian American individuals being duplicitous and un-
trustworthy can be traced to historical accounts of Asians in
American as a “yellow peril” and a national threat and thus cannot
be trusted (Ho, 2011; also, see Espiritu’s (1996) historical review
of this stereotype in the context on how Asian American people’s
lives have been gendered and racialized).
Sixth, Asian American men are perceived as overly competitive.
In a qualitative study using free responses to elicit participants’
stereotypes toward a few racial and gender groups (Niemann et al.,
1994), “achievement oriented” was shown as a top 20% of syn-
onyms used for Asian American men. In another qualitative study
(Ho, 2011), Asian American male participants reported that they
were perceived as competitive threats in terms of jobs (Ho, 2011).
Seventh, Asian American men are perceived to strongly endorse
traditional gender roles (Chua & Fujino, 1999). Chua and Fujino
found that when asked about their perceptions of Asian American
men, White women viewed more than 80% of Asian American
men as valuing traditional gender roles, different from how they
perceived White men as valuing equal gender roles.
In addition to published research that identified salient dimen-
sions of gendered racism relevant to Asian American men, two
dissertation studies (Do, 2006; Wong, 2008) developed measures
to assess Asian American men’s endorsement of stereotypes about
them. Do (2006) developed the Asian American Male Stereotype
Inventory (AAMSI) to assess Asian American men’s endorsement
of stereotypes pertaining to their race and gender. The AAMSI is
unidimensional and consists of 16 items. The AAMSI was found
to be significantly negatively related to self-esteem and ethnic
identity achievement. Similarly, Wong (2008) developed the Ste-
reotypes of Asian American Men Endorsement Scale (SAAMES)
to measure endorsement of stereotypes about Asian American men
as a group (SAAMES-Group) and the self (SAAMES-Self) sepa-
rately. The SAAMES-Group has 33 items in four dimensions: (a)
introverted, socially inept, and effeminate stereotype; (b) model
minority stereotype; (c) perpetual foreigner stereotype; and (d)
patriarchal stereotype. The SAAMES-Self has 27 items in 3 di-
mensions: (a) introverted, socially inept, and effeminate stereo-
type; (b) model minority stereotype; and (c) perpetual foreigner
and asexual stereotypes. However, neither of these two measures
focused on perceived gendered racism (e.g., Asian American
men’s experience of other people stereotyping them); rather, they
focused on internalization of stereotypes about Asian American
men. Another common limitation of these two studies relates to the
dimensionality of the constructs measured by both scales. Specif-
ically, Do (2006) did not examine the factor structure of the
AAMSI. Although Wong (2008) explored the factor structure of
the SAAMES, some distinct concepts (e.g., perpetual foreigner
and asexual stereotype) were confounded within the same factors.
Evaluation of the Intersectional Fusion Paradigm
A key contribution of the Intersectional Fusion Paradigm is that
it provides a different framework to study intersectionality. Unlike
the Additive Model in the Cumulative Disadvantage Paradigm and
the SMTH Paradigm, which focus on gender differences in expe-
riences of discrimination, the Intersectional Fusion Paradigm deep-
ens our understanding of how gender and race are interlocking and
mutually reinforcing experiences for Asian American men. Thus,
it shifts researchers’ focus from which group suffers more to how
each group suffers differently from others. Accordingly, the Inter-
sectional Fusion Paradigm can be characterized as a form of
“strong intersectionality,” in which the conceptual and method-
ological focus is on examining identity in relation to one another
(Dill & Kohlman, 2012).
Guided by the Intersectional Fusion Paradigm, future studies
can move beyond gender comparisons to understand how the
intersection of race and gender creates unique discriminatory ex-
periences for Asian American men. For example, future qualitative
research based on the Intersectional Fusion Paradigm could in-
volve interviews with Asian American men about their experi-
ences of gendered racism as well as positive coping strategies
using resources such as racial identity, cultural identity, and ethnic
bonding. Following McCall’s (2005) suggestions, we also encour-
age researchers to conduct case studies, which can reveal com-
plexity, diversity, and heterogeneity in experiences of gendered
racism that are not addressed by quantitative research. For exam-
ple, it is possible that some Asian American men might be aware
of gendered racist stereotypes and hegemonic masculinity norms,
yet refuse to conform to these norms and stereotypes and instead
create a more flexible masculinity that is nurturing and gender
egalitarian (Chua & Fujino, 1999).
One weakness of research based on the Intersectional Fusion
Paradigm is the lack of measures that operationalize the dimen-
sions of Asian American people’s experience of gendered racism.
Although two measures that address the internalization of stereo-
types concerning Asian American men have been developed (Do,
2006; Wong, 2008), there is currently no measure that addresses
Asian American men’s perceived gendered racism based on other
people’s stereotypes about them. We therefore suggest that re-
searchers develop a gendered racism scale for Asian American
men, which can be used to explore how perceived gendered racism
is related to other psychological outcomes. Moreover, although our
review of the empirical literature identified eight stereotypes con-
cerning Asian American men, not all these stereotypes might be
equally salient. For example, the stereotype that Asian Americans
are psychologically emasculated does not apply to Asian American
women, whereas the stereotype concerning the untrustworthiness
of Asian American men might potentially apply to Asian Ameri-
can women, too (Kim & Chung, 2005). Hence, it is important that
researchers identify the most salient dimensions of stereotypes in
future scale development studies on Asian American men’s expe-
rience of gendered racism.
Another limitation of research based on the Intersectional Fu-
sion Paradigm is that, thus far, studies have not emphasized ethnic
differences in the experiences of gendered racism experienced by
Asian American men. For example, the stereotype that Asian
American men are untrustworthy is based on historical perceptions
of East Asian men (Berdahl & Min, 2012), rather than South
Asians. Thus, it is not clear if this stereotype is applicable to South
Asian American men. Future studies can address ethnic differences
in the types of gendered racism experienced, or how the link
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between racism and gender-related stress might be different for
diverse Asian American ethnic groups.
Practical Implications
The current review of the literature, particularly the Intersec-
tional Fusion Paradigm, provides a few implications for practitio-
ners and policymakers. In addressing Asian American people’s
experiences of discrimination, it is important not to neglect salient
dimensions of discrimination that are particularly relevant to Asian
American men. One prominent component of perceived discrim-
ination is that Asian American men are stereotyped as psycholog-
ically emasculated. As this stereotype is not consistent with hege-
monic masculine ideals, Asian American men’s understanding of
themselves as men may be compromised. They might cope by
either attempting to emulate the hegemonic masculine ideal, or
internalizing the effeminate stereotype (Liang et al., 2010). Either
of these efforts may harm Asian American men’s development of
healthy racial identity or exacerbate their experience of gender role
stress (Liu, 2002; Nghe, Mahalik, & Lowe, 2003). Thus, mental
health professionals should be aware of Asian American men’s
experience of discrimination and its impact on their masculine
identity. It is important for clinicians to inquire Asian American
male clients’ experiences of racism, and how it affects their per-
sonal meaning of manhood and their role as men. Clinicians may
use group therapy to help Asian American men cope with gen-
dered racism. In group settings, participants can strengthen their
racial and/or ethnic identity through building alliances with other
individuals who have similar experiences (Chang & Yeh, 2003).
The second implication is that practitioners can increase their
multicultural competence by learning about the different dimen-
sions of gendered racism experienced by Asian American men.
Gaining knowledge of clients’ cultural backgrounds and recogniz-
ing the social structures that contributed to clients’ presenting
issues is an important component of multicultural competence
(APA, 2002). Gaining knowledge of Asian American men’s
unique experiences of gendered racism could help mental health
practitioners avoid invalidation of client experiences. For example,
an Asian American male client who has trouble finding romantic
partners may feel that he is not attractive enough and cannot meet
mainstream masculine norms. It is important for counselors to
understand the interplay of racism and masculinity stress on men-
tal health and explicitly discuss the intersection of race and gender
with clients, as clients may not be aware of how discrimination and
gender role strain contribute to their mental health concerns. As
Asian American individuals tend to attribute mental health prob-
lems to internal causes and physiological factors (Leong & Lau,
2001), counselors could educate Asian American male clients on
the possibility that external and systemic factors, such as gendered
racism, might contribute to their mental health symptoms. Another
implication is that clinicians can help Asian American men exter-
nalize stereotypes based on the intersection of their race and
gender. Previous studies showed that some Asian American men
internalize racist stereotypes about them (Pyke & Dang, 2003), and
that their awareness and focus on certain stereotypes concerning
Asian American men might have a deleterious impact on their
mental health (Wong et al., 2012). Thus, mental health profession-
als can help them confront gendered racial stereotypes, rather than
accept them. Contesting such stereotypes can help Asian American
men combat the hegemonic masculine gender ideal and enhance
positive racial identities. From a social justice point of view,
counselors may also help Asian American male clients identify
how systematic racial inequality and hegemonic masculinity mask
individual presenting concerns and to unlearn internalized concep-
tualizations of racial inferiority as well as hegemonic masculine
Last but not least, we recommend that media professionals,
policymakers, and administrators gain awareness of gendered rac-
ism experienced by Asian American men. In the media, Asian
American men have either been invisible or presented as one-
dimensional characters that reinforce stereotypes about them (Ho,
2011). For example, in the media, Asian American men have been
portrayed either as hypermasculine (e.g., a martial arts expert) or
hypomasculine, but consistently asexual in both portrayals (Liang
et al., 2010). Practitioners can engage in advocacy work to educate
media professionals on the need to avoid stereotypical portrayals
of Asian American individuals in the media.
In this article, we reviewed three intersectionality conceptual
paradigms that can guide future research on Asian American
men’s experiences of discrimination rooted in the interface of race
and gender. Throughout this article, we evaluated the strengths and
limitations as well as the empirical support for each of these
paradigms. Both the Cumulative Disadvantage Paradigm and Sub-
ordinate Male Target Hypothesis oversimplify Asian American
men’s experiences of discrimination and the empirical support for
these two paradigms is relatively weak. In contrast, our review of
the literature suggests that the Intersectional Fusion Paradigm
might offer a more sophisticated conceptual framework because it
draws attention to the interlocking nature of race and gender in
Asian American men’s experiences of discrimination.
One overarching limitation in the extant empirical literature on
perceived discrimination among Asian American men is the lack
of theoretical grounding. Researchers do not consistently rely on
intersectionality to frame their research questions and even when
they do, it is not always clear which specific intersectionality
conceptual paradigm is used in their research. Therefore, our hope
is that this article will contribute to future research on Asian
American men by helping researchers to understand the complex-
ities of intersectionality, expand the types of research questions
they address, and better articulate the conceptual paradigms that
guide their research.
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Received August 31, 2015
Revision received September 1, 2016
Accepted October 13, 2016
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... Finally, the intersectionality perspective contends that people's multiple collective identities intersect in ways that mirror interlocking systems of power and oppression (Cole, 2009;Crenshaw, 2017). Applied to masculinities, this perspective explains how the mutually constitutive nature of gender and other collective identities (e.g., race) engender unique meanings of masculinities, particularly for men with minoritized identities (Liu & Wong, 2018). For instance, intersectionality scholars have emphasized the overlapping nature of gender and race, such that masculinities are "raced" (e.g., men from different racial groups are stereotyped as having varying levels of masculinities), while race is also gendered (e.g., White privilege contains elements of masculine privilege; Chavez & Wingfield, 2018;Liu, 2017;Wong & McCullough, 2021). ...
... In recent years, research on self-ascribed masculinities has grown in conceptual diversity. Advances in the field include embracing the intersectionality perspective by examining men of color's experiences with gendered racism (Liu & Wong, 2018) and adopting a possible masculinity lens by asking men to describe the type of men they want and ought to be (Molenaar & Liang, 2020). Nonetheless, we highlight one weakness in research on self-ascribed masculinities. ...
... 1 U.S.-based research has found that the endorsement of traditional masculinity ideologies is positively correlated with problematic psychosocial outcomes, for example, poorer mental health and sexual aggression (Levant & Richmond, 2016). Reflecting social constructionist and intersectionality notions that there are unique meanings of masculinities across cultures (Liu & Wong, 2018;Wong et al., 2020), researchers have also drawn attention to cultural variants in masculinity ideologies (Arciniega et al., 2008;Janey et al., 2013). Ng et al. (2008) found that men from Asian countries deemed career success and being viewed as a man of honor as the most crucial attributes of a man, while focusing less on physical and sexual attributes more prevalent in U.S. dominant masculinity ideologies. ...
... Suffering in silence can be a condition of the power afforded to White men, because preserving their status and privilege requires being seen as unaffected by life's difficulties. This White hegemonic ideal furthers systemic racism (see Liu & Wong, 2018) by upholding male emotional invulnerability despite pervasive environmental adversity that men of color face in school, work, housing, health, and legal systems. Even with immense tolls of systemic racism on health, Black boys and men may be expected to stay calm (i.e., "cool pose"; Majors & Billson, 1993) or "take it like a man" while surviving racial stress and trauma (Hammond, 2012;Thomas et al., 2015). ...
We present a conceptual framework for relational interventions focused on helping boys and men navigate harmful socialization occurring in U.S. dominant culture, one which upholds a restrictive image of manhood that gives rise to health problems and social injustice. Drawing from relational-cultural theory, we frame the crises linked to hegemonic masculine socialization as shaped by interpersonal and sociocultural disconnections that keep boys and men in rigid confines of what is expected of "real men," which are detrimental to their well-being and operate to maintain oppression and violence. To work against the relational and societal ways that hegemonic masculinity is taught and reinforced, we view boys' and men's experiences in connection with others and in community as the central context in which healthy masculinities develop. Experiences in growth-fostering relationships of empathy, mutuality, and empowerment can help boys and men reject hegemonic relational dynamics and promote human capacities for vulnerability, connection, and compassion into healthy and flexible ways of being men in the world. We view these relational experiences as critical to prevention, health promotion, and social change efforts at the social, community, and systems levels. To that end, we offer recommendations for interventions to engage boys and men in collectively dismantling hegemonic masculinity and developing healthy masculinities. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... Weakness stereotypes refer to the internalization of Asian Americans as inherently weak, less assertive, and incompetent due to some immutable racial flaw (Choi et al., 2017). Compared to Asian women, weakness stereotypes may carry a heavier burden among Asian men as they are often portrayed as effeminate, emasculated, and fall short of the White hegemonic masculinity ideals (Liu & Wong, 2018). By comparison, the internalization of weakness stereotypes may align with the racialized and gendered assumptions of Asian women as diminutive, meek, hyperfeminine, and exoticized (Keum et al., 2018a). ...
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Background: Despite suicide being the leading cause of death among emerging adult Asian American women (AAW), little is known about the risk factors. Aim: We tested whether gendered racial microaggressions stress (GRMS) would be associated with AAW’s suicidal ideation, and whether internalized racism (self-negativity, IRSN; weakness stereotypes, IRWS; and appearance bias, IRAB) would exacerbate this link based on self-devaluating implications of internalized racism. Method: Using a sample of 309 AAW (Mage = 20.00, SD = 6.26), we conducted a moderated logistic regression with GRMS predicting suicidal ideation (endorsement or no endorsement) and the three internalized racism factors (IRSN, IRWS, and IRAB) as moderators. Results: GRMS significantly predicted suicidal ideation with a threefold increase in the odds of suicidal ideation. Only IRSN significantly exacerbated this link at low to mean levels. Conclusion: Gendered racial microaggressions is likely a risk factor for suicidal ideation among AAW, particularly for those who internalize negative images of themselves as Asian individuals.
... For instance, there is the Gendered Racial Microaggressions Scale for Asian American Women (Keum et al., 2018), which measures encounters with ascribed submissiveness, Asian fetishism, media invalidation, and assumptions of universal appearance. The Gendered Racial Microaggressions Scale for Asian American Men (Liu & Wong, 2018) captures experiences of psychological emasculation, perceived undesirable partner, and perceived lack of leadership. A growing number of qualitative studies also illustrate the complexity of Asian American intersectionality. ...
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Research within Asian American psychology continually grows to include a range of topics that expand on the heterogeneity, hybridity, and multiplicity of the Asian American psychological experience. Still, research focused on distinct racialization and psychological processes of Asians in America is limited. To advance scientific knowledge on the study of race and racism in the lives of Asian Americans, we draw on Asian critical race theory and an Asian Americanist perspective that emphasizes the unique history of oppression, resilience, and resistance among Asian Americans. First, we discuss the rationale and significance of applying Asian critical race theory to Asian American psychology. Second, we review the racialized history of Asians in America, including the dissemination of essentialist stereotypes (e.g., perpetual foreigner, model minority, and sexual deviants) and the political formation of an Asian American racial identity beginning in the late 1960s. We emphasize that this history is inextricably linked to how race and racism is understood and studied today in Asian American psychology. Finally, we discuss the implications of Asian critical race theory and an Asian Americanist perspective to research within Asian American psychology and conclude with suggestions for future research to advance current theory and methodology.
... The racial discrimination experiences among middle-aged Asian men are important because Asian men occupy both privileged and oppressed identities (T. Liu & Wong, 2018). Professional counselors must therefore consider how harmful sociopolitical messages from the media and society combine with aspects of systematic and structural racism in ways that position men from minoritized groups to face harsher punishments (Skiba et al., 2002;Steffensmeier et al., 2016). ...
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This study examined the relationship between age and gender on Chinese American adults’ (N = 184) experiences of COVID‐19‐related racial discrimination, depression, and life satisfaction. Results indicated that COVID‐19‐related racial discrimination explained 47.9% of the variance in depression, and COVID‐19‐related racial discrimination and depression explained 42.3% of the variance in life satisfaction.
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In this chapter, the authors contend that the intersections of gender, race, and ethnicity produce unique experiences for fathers of color that differ from those of White fathers and mothers of color. The authors elucidate the experiences of one racially minoritized group—Asian American fathers—and explain how the intersectionality framework can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of their lives. The authors discuss three salient challenges that Asian American fathers encounter: namely, father–child relationships, paternal racial-ethnic socialization, and the representation of Asian American fathers. They conclude with a discussion of practical and policy implications to address the needs of Asian American fathers.
Dominant group members often are not aware of the privileges they benefit from due to their dominant group membership. Yet individuals are members of multiple groups and may simultaneously occupy multiple categories of dominance and marginality, raising the question of how different group memberships work in concert to facilitate or inhibit awareness of multiple forms of privilege. Examining awareness of privilege is important as awareness may be linked to action to dismantle systems of privilege that maintain oppression and inequality. Grounded in intersectional scholarship, in this study we examined how occupying intersecting categories of race/ethnicity, gender, and religion corresponded to an awareness of White, male, and Christian privilege. In a sample of 2321 Midwestern college students, we demonstrated that students from marginalized groups broadly reported greater awareness of all forms of privilege than students from dominant groups, and the difference between marginalized and dominant groups was most pronounced when the specific group category (e.g., gender) aligned with the type of privilege (e.g., male privilege). We also tested interactions among race/ethnicity, gender, and religion, only finding an interaction between race/ethnicity and religion for awareness of White and male privilege. These findings helped to clarify that multiple group memberships tended to contribute to awareness as multiple main effects rather than as multiplicative. Finally, we examined mean differences among the eight intersected groups to explore similarities and differences among groups in awareness of all types of privilege. Taken together, these findings quantitatively demonstrate the ways in which group memberships work together to contribute to awareness of multiple forms of privilege. We discuss study limitations and implications for community psychology research and practice.
We investigated the messages, ideals, and critical experiences that constitute gendered racial socialization for Asian American men (AAM) throughout their development. We employed interpretive phenomenology to analyze interview data from 15 sociodemographically diverse AAM. We identified seven themes: (a) intergenerational parental ideologies, (b) geographic and neighborhood influences, (c) multilevel gendered racism, (d) silencing of gendered racial experiences, (e) survival by identity erasure, (f) rare experiences of affirmation, and (g) fragmented masculinity. Results illustrated a social developmental ecology of highly adverse lifetime experiences—comprising gendered racism; shame and internalized oppression; thwarted attempts to perform hegemonic masculinity ideals; and minimal access to communities and resources for AAM identity affirmation in the U.S.—that may engender fragmented masculinity, or identity disintegration beleaguered by incommensurable gendered expectations across heritage ethnic and dominant cultures. Implications include systemic interventions to eliminate gendered racism and promote AAM affirming narratives and socialization practices.
While research suggests that gender role conflict influences the mental health of men of color, few studies have examined how racial discrimination may contribute to men of color’s gender role conflict and subsequently their mental health, including their depressive symptomatology. The racist-gender stress model highlights how racial discrimination may heighten men of color’s gender role conflict which then portends negative mental health. With a sample of 206 U.S. college-attending men of color, the present study therefore longitudinally examined the direct and indirect effect of racial discrimination on depressive symptomatology through two forms of gender role conflict, Work Conflict and Success, Power, and Competition. Participants completed surveys containing study questionnaires 6 months apart. Controlling for baseline depression, racial discrimination was both directly associated with Wave 2 (6 months later) depression and indirectly associated through Work Conflict. Racial discrimination was not indirectly associated with depression through Success, Power, and Competition. These findings underscore the necessity of considering how racial discrimination affects men of color’s gender-related stress which is then associated with depressive symptoms. Results also emphasize the importance of intervening to prevent racial discrimination from occurring in the first place to bolster men of color’s psychological well-being.
Purpose Ethnoracial minorities report a variety of discriminatory experiences due to systemic racism. Yet, few studies have examined whether gender and race/ethnicity interact to predict institutional discrimination and racial microaggressions through an intersectional approach. Design/methodology/approach A predominantly female (60%), ethnoracial minority (20.8% Black, 31.6% Asian, 30.8% Latina/o, 8.2% White, 6.6% Middle Eastern) sample of 895 undergraduates attending a minority-serving public university in an urban setting completed self-report measures of sociodemographic characteristics, experiences of racial microaggressions and institutional discrimination. Findings Significant ( p < 0.05) gender × race/ethnicity interaction effects were found in several institutional discrimination domains: Males reported more police/court discrimination overall, but gender differences in police/court discrimination were less pronounced for non-Black vs Black students. While males tended to report more institutional discrimination than females, the reverse was true for the Middle Eastern group: Middle Eastern females reported institutional discrimination in more domains and more discrimination getting hired than their male counterparts. There was a significant race/ethnicity × gender interaction effect for environmental microaggressions: White males reported more environmental microaggressions than White females, but gender differences were not found in the overall sample. Originality/value This study is the first to the authors’ knowledge to assess the interactive effects of gender and ethnicity on the type of microaggressions experienced in a diverse sample that includes individuals of Middle Eastern descent. The authors highlight the range of discriminatory events that ethnoracially minoritized undergraduates experience, even at a minority-serving institution.
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First and foremost an audience reception study, Negotiating the Boundaries of (In)Visibility illustrates the dialogic relationship of racial discourse in the media and Asian American male identity in the United States. It combines in-depth interviews with textual, discursive, and industry analyses. I showcase how economic, political and technological changes in America and the media industry intersect with cultural shifts in narratives and representations. Defining the boundaries of their identity and culture, interviewees discuss the lack of an Asian American narrative in American popular culture. Rather, Asian Americans contend with larger stereotypes of ???Asian,??? considered to be a loaded term accompanied by a long history of ethnic homogenization and racial and cultural stereotypes. This dissertation locates particular sites of identification???social surroundings, news media, entertainment media???and how narratives of Asian, American, and Asian American are negotiated, contested, or made visible. In remembering news stories from the mid-2000s, interviewees show how diffuse the concept of ???Asia??? is in forming identities as racial subjects in America. Analyzing news texts and the rhetoric used to describe these news events, I suggest that the anxiety over China???s economic rise and the accompanying resurgence of ???yellow peril??? discourse perpetuates the homogenizing definition of ???Asian American,??? and how national discourse about a foreign threat can shape race relations within. These anxieties are countered by the rise of multicultural ensemble casts and Asian American male leads on primetime television shows. This juxtaposition shapes the complicated space in which Asian American men actively resist, negotiate, and accept racial stereotypes and problematic representations. Providing textual analyses of Lost and Heroes, I suggest that the seemingly progressive multiculturalism presented in entertainment texts perpetuates feelings of subordination and marginalization among racial viewers. Finally, I provide a close reading of television shows??? transmedia narratives their treatment of race. In particular, I suggest the ways in which racial difference becomes more visible as texts appeal to more mainstream audiences. In doing so, I begin a discussion of how multi-platform storytelling may offer new opportunities for articulating race and gender beyond television.
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Drive for muscularity (McCreary & Sasse, 2000) is a prominent factor in men's body image concerns; however, researchers have typically examined this construct in samples of predominantly White, non-Hispanic men. The present study extended existing sociocultural theories of men’s body image by examining the relative contributions of media internalization (i.e., general internalization and athletic-ideal internalization of media body image portrayals), acculturative experiences (i.e., acculturation to mainstream American culture, enculturation to one’s heritage culture), and racial stressors (i.e., perceived racial discrimination, perceived perpetual foreigner racism) as predictors of drive for muscularity attitudes and behaviors in a large sample of Asian American college men (N = 338). After controlling for participants' self-esteem, body mass index (BMI), ethnicity, and generational status in the U.S., hierarchal regressions revealed that greater acculturation to mainstream American culture and perceived perpetual foreigner racism predicted unique variance in drive for muscularity attitudes over and above the contributions of both forms of media internalization. By contrast, only internalization of the athletic body-ideal predicted unique variance in drive for muscularity behaviors above and beyond the covariates in the model. The present results highlight the importance of understanding Asian American men’s drive for muscularity within broader social, cultural, and racial contexts and suggest that acculturative and racial experiences play a key role in Asian American men’s drive to obtain a body more commensurate with Western standards of masculine physiques.
This study investigated the resilience of 84 Korean American college students in the context of perceived ethnic discrimination. Two cultural resources, multidimensional ethnic identity and other-group orientation, were hypothesized as protective factors that moderate the negative effects of discrimination. Only 1 aspect of ethnic identity was found to have a moderation effect. Specifically, ethnic identity pride operated as a protective-reactive factor that moderated the effects of discrimination on depressive symptoms and social connectedness but not on self-esteem. Ethnic identity pride and perceived discrimination had first-order effects on self-esteem.
In the heated debates over identity politics, few theorists have looked carefully at the conceptualizations of identity assumed by all sides. Drawing on both philosophical sources as well as theories and empirical studies in the social sciences, this book makes a strong case that identities are not like special interests, nor are they doomed to oppositional politics, nor do they inevitably lead to conformism, essentialism, or reductive approaches to judging others. Identities are historical formations and their political implications are open to interpretation. But identities such as race and gender also have a powerful visual and material aspect that eliminativists and social constructionists often underestimate. This book analyses the political and philosophical worries about identity and argues that these worries are neither supported by the empirical data nor grounded in realistic understandings of what identities are. The book develops a more realistic characterization of identity in general through combining phenomenological approaches to embodiment with hermeneutic concepts of the interpretive horizon. Besides addressing the general contours of social identity, the book develops an account of the material infrastructure of gendered identity, compares and contrasts gender identities with racialized ones, and explores the experiential aspects of racial subjectivity for both whites and non-whites. In several chapters the book looks specifically at Latino identity as well, including its relationship to concepts of race, the specific forms of anti-Latino racism, and the politics of mestizo or hybrid identity.