|OCA Disappointed, Concerned with Pew Research Center Study on Asian Americans
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
19 June 2012
Tom Hayashi | Executive Director
202 223 5500 |
D.C. – OCA, a national organization dedicated to advancing the
political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans
(APAs), is extremely disappointed and concerned with Pew Research
Center’s recent report, The Rise of Asian Americans, which perpetuates misleading stereotypes of APAs.
In the report, shallow analysis based on self-report data of
Asian Americans propagates the "model minority” stereotype in the very
initial stages of its findings, stating: "Asian Americans are the
highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the
United States.” While the consensus of less than 4,000 Asian Americans
who had participated in this survey responded see the community as being
on an upward trajectory by most socio-economic indicators, they do not
represent the over 14.5 million Asian Americans throughout the country.
What is particularly disturbing is that these types of broad
generalizations can have serious implications in public policy, civil
rights, as well as perpetuation of bias, discrimination, and racial
tension between communities of color. Even though the study fills a void
for more statistics and information on the APA community, the framing
of the contextual data in the report is troublesome.
"We are deeply concerned with the Pew Research Center’s report
on Asian Americans,” says OCA Executive Director, Tom Hayashi. "It is
difficult to take the data at face value when the questions seem to play
too perfectly into reinforcing the stereotypes of Asian Americans...the
validity of the results are highly suspect in terms of how much we can
truly rely on the self-report data cited in the results.”
Bimodal immigration, cultural as well as linguistic isolation
must be one of many factors that should inform the data analysis to get a
more accurate understanding of the community.
"While subjects can respond to questions on the phone, their
attitudes, behaviors, or conditions faced by Asian Americans can be very
different from that of the research results. The disagreements and
doubts from the community about the survey is based on the incongruence
with what we see in the community,” says Hayashi.
Asian American organizations should also be consulted in this
type of research, and not just the scholars who at times have been known
to have blinders or biases though an unintentionally supported series
of self-fulfilling prophecies. We urge that investigators start with
grounding the design of the research with a specific objective in mind,
i.e. what value might be served to ask what Asian Americans think about
the strictness of their own parenting or of their counterpart’s?
We believe that not all Asian Americans command
the highest-income or are best-educated, yet we face one of the longest
period of unemployment when we lose our jobs relative to other ethnic
groups. And although we may be the fastest-growing racial group in the
United States, we continue to face challenges posed by unfair
immigration policies. The assertions that our community enjoys an
exaggerated level of privilege are simply and unfortunately not the
case. We call on accurate and responsible research that reflects the
complexity of the community and does not solely rely on surveys that
play into Asian American stereotypes.