NEW YORK CITY: More than eight years after revealing its report on perceptions of Asian Americans, the Committee of 100 (C-100) released a new report, indicating that despite a positive trend in attitudes toward Asian Americans, racial discrimination and suspicions persist.
The report—entitled “Still the ‘Other?’: Public Attitudes Toward Chinese and Asian Americans” and released on Monday (Tuesday in Manila)—indicates that even in 2009, the majority of the US population cannot make a distinction between Chinese Americans and Asian Americans in general, treating all as one generic, monolithic ethnic group. At least 28 percent said they rarely or never interact with Asian Americans.
“Race is not black and white—literally nor figuratively. Whatever our own individual backgrounds or political preferences, the facts are clear—the face of the nation is changing as it never has before,” said Frank Wu, vice chair for research at C-100 and the author of Yellow: Race In America Beyond Black and White.
“As we strive to make good on the American Dream that attracted so many of us and our ancestors, we must see our shared interests in advancing civil rights principles. All of us benefit from the principles of diversity and inclusion. We cannot succeed without bridge building,” Wu said.
Helen Zia, vice chair for media at C-100 and the author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of An American People, said, “At a time when some pundits claim that America has moved beyond race, this survey shows that there is broad ignorance of significant populations of Americans. In the absence of real information, harmful stereotypes still render Asian Americans as ‘Other’ outsiders to our democracy.”
“This survey underscores how our whole society benefits when attitudes and policies are based on factual knowledge and attitudes that allow for the full participation of all Americans,” Zia added.
Despite the 59,141 or so Asian Americans serving in active duty in the US Armed Services, and the more than 300 Asian Americans who have been injured or died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, there are still suspicions about the loyalty of Asian Americans.
Among the general population, 45 percent believe Asian Americans are more loyal to their countries of ancestry than to the United States, up from 37 percent in the 2001 survey.
C-100’s survey reports that 36 percent of the general population think that Asian Americans have the right amount of power and influence in Washington, while only 15 percent of Chinese Americans believe this to be true. But 47 percent of the general population believe that Asian Americans have too little power in Washington, with 82 percent of Chinese Americans agreeing.
C-100 is a national non-partisan, non-profit membership organization composed of American citizens of Chinese descent. Each member has achieved positions of leadership in the United States in a broad range of professions and collectively pool their strengths and experience to address important issues concerning the Chinese American community as well as those affecting US-China relations.