Asian Americans are widely believed to be passive and compliant participants in the U.S. political process—if they participate at all. In this ground-breaking book, Pei-te Lien maps the actions and strategies of Asian Americans as they negotiate a space in the American political arena.
Professor Lien looks at political participation by Asian Americans prior to 1965 and then examines, at both organizational and mass politics levels, how race, ethnicity, and transnationalism help to construct a complex American electorate. She looks not only at rates of participation among Asian Americans as compared with blacks, Latinos, American Indians, and non-Hispanic whites, but also among specific groups of Asian Americans—Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans, Asian Indians, and Vietnamese. She also discusses how gender, socioeconomic class, and place of birth affect political participation.
With documentation ranging from historical narrative to opinion survey data, Professor Lien creates a picture of a diverse group of politically active people who are intent on carving out a place for themselves in American political life.
As America’s most ethnically diverse foreign-born population, Asian Americans can puzzle political observers. This volume’s multidisciplinary team of contributors employ a variety of methodologies—including quantitative, ethnographic, and historical—to illustrate how transnational ties between the U.S. and Asia have shaped, and are increasingly defining, Asian American politics in our multicultural society.
Original essays by U.S.- and Asian-based scholars discuss Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese communities from Boston to Honolulu. The volume also shows how the grassroots activism of America’s “newest minority” both reflects and is instrumental in broader processes of political change throughout the Pacific. Addressing the call for more global approaches to racial and ethnic politics, contributors describe how Asian immigrants strategically navigate the hurdles to domestic incorporation and equality by turning their political sights and energies toward Asia. These essays convincingly demonstrate that Asian American political participation in the U.S. does not consist simply of domestic actions with domestic ends.