2012 election ushers in historic wins for Asian-American candidates
By Kyung Lah, CNN
(CNN) - Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders made history Tuesday night.
Thirty Asian-American candidates ran for national office, the largest number ever, up from 10 in 2010 and eight in 2008. Five new Asian-American and Pacific Islanders were elected, with one race still too close to call.
“The election of 2012 is historical in the sense of the number of AAPI candidates and the impact of AAPI voters in swing states," Floyd Mori, incoming interim president and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, said in a statement.
Historic number of Asian candidates
Democratic Assemblywoman Grace Meng won New York’s open seat in the 6th Congressional District to be elected to Congress. Her district, containing a large Asian-American population as well as a large Caucasian one, made this election about evolving demographics.
About 1.6 million Asian-Americans live in New York, but they have been traditionally under-represented in local politics and on the national political stage.
Meng joins Tammy Duckworth of Illinois as the first Asian-American members of Congress from their states.
Mazie Hirono also ushered in a wave of firsts, becoming the first foreign-born woman of Asian descent to be sworn into national office, the first Japanese immigrant to be elected to the U.S. Senate and the first female senator to represent Hawaii.
California Rep.-elect Mark Takano and Hawaii's Tulsi Gabbard round out the freshman class.
Ami Bera's race in California is still too close to call.
Eight Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus members were also re-elected to Congress.
The increased political representation matches the growth of Asian-Americans, now the largest group of immigrants in the U.S..
Asians, more than Latinos, are largest group of new arrivals in U.S.
An unprecedented number of Asian-Americans ran for federal office, and they were joined by a tremendous turnout of Asian-American/Pacific Islander registered voters.
“This level of increased political participation by the AAPI community means we will have more opportunities to impact policies that affect AAPIs and bring respect and long-sought-after recognition of our communities,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.
Asian-American groups say their community's rising prominence is being ignored by both political parties. The Asian American Election Eve Poll found that although only 41% identify as Democrats, Asian-American voters broke for Barack Obama by a large margin, with 72% voting for the president and 26% for Mitt Romney.
“Mitt Romney had room to win the overlooked Asian-American community,” said Lisa Hasegawa, executive director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. “While Barack Obama’s narrative attracted Asian-American voters, Mitt Romney missed an enormous opportunity to offer a direct appeal to this group.”
In congressional races, 73% of Asian-American voters backed Democratic candidates, while 27% backed Republicans. The development coalition found that 51% of Asian-American voters were not asked by any campaign, political party or community organization to vote or to register to vote.
For Gloria Chan, president and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, November 6 is even more personal.
"I feel tremendous personal pride to see faces like mine elected to Congress, who deeply understand the experiences of me, my family and millions of others, " she said. "I am also very proud that our nation's Congress is maturing through its diversity. AAPIs are a force to be reckoned with, and our voices will no longer go unheard nor dismissed."
Votes are still being counted for the individual races, but Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are already counting 2012 as a victory - as the year of political recognition.
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June 25, 2012
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Inquiries contact: Professor Paul Ong (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Press Release: Scholars Nationally Challenge "Highly Biased" and "Damaging" Pew report on Asian Americans"
Scholars from across the nation have issued a statement challenging the controversial report on Asian Americans that was recently released by the Pew Research Center.
The researchers, who are affiliated with the Asian American Pacific Islander Policy and Research Consortium (AAPIPRC), a national organization of four leading university-based Asian American research centers in New York, Massachusetts and California, write that, "While there are merits to the Pew report, the selection of what information to present and highlight is highly biased, and the framing and interpretation of the analysis are incomplete and implicitly misleading and damaging for Asian American communities.
"We believe it is important to acknowledge the many accomplishments made by Asian Americans, but not at the expense of a fuller understanding of the diverse, complex and nuanced reality."
"The publication," write the scholars. "presents overly generalized descriptive and aggregate statistics, fails to critically explain the causes and limitations of observed outcomes, and falls short of examining tremendous and critical differences among Asian ethnic groups.
"We echo the comments by many Asian American scholars, advocates and lawmakers who point out how the study could lead policymakers, the media and the public to draw conclusions that reflect inaccurate stereotypes about Asian Americans being only a community with high levels of achievement and few challenges.
"There are many educational, economic, and health disparities, among others, facing our diverse communities. The selection of included populations leaves out some of the most distressed groups; consequently, the studied subjects are not representative."
The scholars provide numerous concrete examples to illustrate the inaccuracies and biases of the Pew report such as how income levels should be properly calculated and analyzed.
The statement also calls for enhanced understanding of Asian Americans through policy research that liberally draws upon Asian Americans themselves. "It is important, therefore, for Pew and other organizations to include researchers and analysts with greater knowledge of Asian American experiences."
The statement was submitted to Pew by Professor Joyce Moy, Director, Asian American/Asian Research Institute at the City University of New York; Professor Lois Takahashi, Director
University of California Asian American Pacific Islander Policy Multi-campus Research Program; Professor Paul Watanabe, Director, Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston; Professor David K. Yoo, Director, UCLA Asian American Studies Center
It was prepared by Paul Ong, Melany De La Cruz, Chhandara Pech, Jonathan Ong and Don Nakanishi.
The complete statement of the Asian American Pacific Islander Policy and Research Consortium can be found at the website of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center: http://www.aasc.ucla.edu/
Statement by the Asian American Pacific Islander Policy and Research Consortium (AAPIPRC) on the Pew report
We are writing on behalf of the Asian American Pacific Islander Policy and Research Consortium (AAPIPRC), a national organization of four university-based Asian American research centers.[i]
We respectfully submit this response to the Pew Research Center's recent report, The Rise of Asian Americans. Pew has assembled U.S. Census Bureau and government economic data, developing a detailed survey questionnaire, and conducting extensive telephone interviews with a national sample of 3,511 Asians.
We acknowledge this is a major investment of Pew Research Center’s time and resources, and as a result has added to the publicly accessible information on the economic, social, and political situation of Asian Americans.
While there are merits to the Pew report, the selection of what information to present and highlight is highly biased, and the framing and interpretation of the analysis are incomplete and implicitly misleading and damaging for Asian American communities.
We believe it is important to acknowledge the many accomplishments made by Asian Americans, but not at the expense of a fuller understanding of the diverse, complex and nuanced reality.
The publication presents overly generalized descriptive and aggregate statistics, fails to critically explain the causes and limitations of observed outcomes, and falls short of examining tremendous and critical differences among Asian ethnic groups.
We echo the comments by many Asian American scholars, advocates and lawmakers who point out how the study could lead policymakers, the media and the public to draw conclusions that reflect inaccurate stereotypes about Asian Americans being only a community with high levels of achievement and few challenges.
There are many educational, economic, and health disparities, among others, facing our diverse communities. The selection of included populations leaves out some of the most distressed groups; consequently, the studied subjects are not representative.
As academic researchers, we understand the power and importance of quantitative analysis, but numbers are not just numbers, and they do not speak for themselves. They support a narrative through subjective decisions on topics, research design and methods, large frameworks to interpret results, and prioritizing which findings to highlight.
We do not necessarily dispute the validity of many of Pew's numbers, but we are deeply troubled by the emphasis that leaves the reader with a one-sided picture. A primary example revolves around the claim that "Asian Americans are the highest-income," an assertion that is the lead line in the press release and rests on median household income.
Pew is accurate in reporting the most recently available numbers from the American Community Survey ($66,000 for Asian Americans and $54,000 for non-Hispanic whites), but fails to fully adjust for two critical factors: one, Asian Americans tend to have larger households, and two, they are heavily concentrated in high-cost metropolitan areas.
Because of a larger household size, income does not go as far in covering expenses. Analytically, per capita income is a more realistic measure. Nationally, Asian Americans on the average have 93 cents to every dollar for non-Hispanic whites. High-cost metropolitan area puts a strain on available income, and the economy partially adjusts for this through offsetting higher wages (compensating differential).
Analytically, it is more accurate to compare statistics at the metropolitan level. Over half of Asian Americans (54%) live in the ten metropolitan areas with the highest number of Asian Americans. In these areas, Asian Americans have 71 cents to every dollar for non-Hispanic whites.
Clearly, the statistics on median household income and on adjusted per capita income portray Asian Americans very differently. Accounting for household size and location is very well known within the extensive literature on Asian Americans. While we realize that Pew acknowledges the potential role of household size and location, it nonetheless decided to spotlight unadjusted median household income. We believe that there are also other analytical flaws with the report because of Pew’s "spin".
"Spinning" and selectively framing have serious implications. Pew examines race relations, and not surprisingly, the findings indicate inter-group tension. Unfortunately, the report does not adequately explain the factors and context that create the friction nor formulate effective solutions. Instead, it implicitly highlights the negatives.
In examining perceived discrimination, the report does not integrate the research showing that Asian Americans are less likely to interpret, report and verbalize such acts, which can result in under-reporting. While the report sheds light on significant U.S. immigration trends and policies as they relate to Asians, it does so in a way that can adversely affect Asian-Latino relations.
By highlighting the success of high achieving Asian immigrants, it shifts the immigration policy debates away from the concerns and contributions of Latino immigrants, especially the large numbers who are undocumented. This "model minority" framing can have a damaging impact on intergroup collaborations.
Again, we want to be balanced in our critique. We assume that Pew has made a useful contribution that brings much needed attention to the accomplishments of Asian Americans. At the same time, this has been counter balanced by the negatives.
Our goal is to inform the public, decision makers and the media with accurate and well-rounded research that incorporates quantitative and qualitative methods, along with historical and humanistic accounts that give depth to the Asian American experience.
It is important, therefore, for Pew and other organizations to include researchers and analysts with greater knowledge of Asian American experiences.
As you know, we are in the process of establishing an independent policy voice that more adequately represents Asian Americans. The Consortium is an initial effort to promote solid applied research. In this larger effort, we look forward to support and collaboration with Pew, along with other mainstream institutions.
We look forward to your response. Please send any correspondence to Professor Paul Ong (email@example.com), who has agreed to coordinate AAPIPRC's activities on this issue.
Professor Joyce Moy, Director
Asian American/Asian Research Institute at the City University of New York
Professor Lois Takahashi, Director
University of California Asian American Pacific Islander Policy Multi-campus Research Program
Professor Paul Watanabe, Director
Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston
Professor David K. Yoo, Director
UCLA Asian American Studies Center
[i] This statement was prepared by Paul Ong, Melany De La Cruz, Chhandara Pech, Jonathan Ong and Don Nakanishi.
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Study: Asian Americans value hard work, family
By Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY
Positive stereotypes about Asian Americans are rooted in reality: They are more educated, wealthier and value work, marriage and family more than Americans as a whole, according to a Pew Research report out today.
The study, which includes a survey of 3,511 Asians, shows that more than 60% of recent Asian immigrants have at least a college degree. Many work in high-paying fields such as science, engineering, medicine and finance. "These are not the tired, poor huddled masses of that inscription on the Statue of Liberty," says Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center. "Recent Asian arrivals are the most highly educated … immigrants in U.S. history."
The USA's 18.2 million Asians are the fastest-growing racial group and have surpassed Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants. They represent 6% of the population.
The survey says Asian Americans are more satisfied with their lives, personal finances and the general direction of the country than Americans as a whole.
Indians have the highest share of college-educated and the highest median household income ($88,000) among the largest Asian-American groups. Asians as a whole have a median household income of $66,000 (half make more, half less) compared with the U.S. median of $49,800.
The telephone survey includes large enough samples of the six largest U.S. Asian groups (Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese) to pinpoint differences among them.
"This is the first time anyone has been able to develop this level of detail about the Asian-American community and about the differences between different sets of populations," says Neera Tanden, an Indian American who is president of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank.
Not all Asian groups are prosperous. Koreans, Chinese and Vietnamese, many who came to the USA as refugees, have a higher poverty rate than Americans in general.
All groups value marriage, family and hard work more than the U.S. population as a whole.
"If that's a stereotype that people have assigned to this group, believe me, that's a stereotype this group has embraced," Taylor says. "It stands out."
More than half say a successful marriage is one of the most important things in life vs. 34% of all Americans; two-thirds say being a good parent is right up there, too, vs. 50% for the country.
"One aspect that some people in the community may be concerned about is that the survey will in some sense reinforce the stereotype of 'They work hard, they're highly educated,' " says Benjamin Wu, vice chairman of the U.S.-Asia Institute, a group that works with Congress to help strengthen relationships with Asia.
"We know in some (Asian) communities, that's not the case," he says. Many Asian immigrants do not come on a student visa and need housing assistance, Wu says.
Tanden is struck by the fact that even though Indian Americans are overwhelmingly Democrats, two Indians in high U.S. political offices are both Republican undefined Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Hailey.
"Asians have a much more positive attitude toward government" than the country as a whole, Tanden says. "That may be in part because many Asians come from countries where government does not work nearly as properly or on behalf of the people."
- Asians are more likely to be married and to live in a multigenerational household. They are less likely to be born to an unwed mother.
- Among Asians, Japanese and Filipino are most accepting of interracial and intergroup marriages. From 2008-10, 55% of Japanese newlyweds married non-Asians.
- Koreans are most likely to say that discrimination against them is a major problem and half say they don't get along very well with blacks. There has been a history of tension between blacks and Korean store owners who come in to their neighborhoods.
- Almost 40% says parents of Asian origin put too much pressure on their kids to do well in school.
"The best and the brightest in the world are coming to the United States," Tanden says. "The report is a testament to the promise of America and the promise of the American dream."
The full report is at
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Changing Faces, Changing Government
Posted by on May 24, 2012 at 01:35 PM EDT
I am hapa, half Chinese and half German. To complicate my ethnicity even more, my mother – though ethnically Chinese – was born and raised in Vietnam. When I was growing up, I often struggled with my ethnicity and my identity. Because I look white, I never felt accepted by the Asian American community. And because I was raised by a strong Chinese mother, I didn’t identify with American culture.
More recently, I realized that I actually relate to most Americans. Because most of us have a common story, a common thread. Our families came here to achieve the American dream. Immigrating to this great nation of ours with hardly a dollar in their pockets, they worked hard and paved the way for the next generation to have better opportunities.
That’s the beauty of our country. It is the Land of Opportunity. And because it is the Land of Opportunity, the demographic is constantly changing as people from all walks of life, from countries near and far, come to create a new life for themselves.
The growth of the AAPI population is a major contributor to this demographic shift. You’ve heard the latest Census numbers by now, but it’s definitely worth repeating. AAPIs represent the fastest growing race. And in the next 40 years, the AAPI populationwill more than double to reach almost 36 million.
What does this changing face of America really mean? At the White House Initiative on AAPIs, it means we are moving nimbly to meet the needs of emerging communities with a whole newunique set of issues. It means we are going beyond business as usual to build lasting partnerships with not only grassroots organizations but also local governments, philanthropies, and the private sector.
In the past two years, we have reached out to more than 25,000 AAPIs. You told us your concerns, but more importantly, you showed us your ideas. We took those ideas back with us to the federal agencies, and we’ve been working with these agencies to meet your needs. As a result, the agencies have made real progress in improving data collection, analysis, and dissemination of AAPI-specific information; ensuring linguistic and culturally competent access to Federal programs and services; and increasing outreach and participation in Federal grant opportunities and programs.
For example, the Department of Health and Human Services continued to oversample Asian Americans through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in order to release disaggregated data by late 2013.
Also, the Department of Justice collaborated with the Department of Education and National Virtual Translation to release a technical assistance video series titled “Overcoming Language Barriers.” Additionally, select multilingual employees of the Department’s Civil Rights Division have begun a Division-wide effort to have their language skills assessed by the FBI Language Testing and Assessment Unit to ensure the quality of language interpretation offered within the Department.
The U.S. Department of Energy incorporated metrics into funding programs to track minority participation; conducted robust outreach to business associations, utilizing a corporate enterprise system to capture and track small business awards to AAPI-owned businesses; incorporated AAPI businesses into its Small Business Advisory Group; and leveraged its Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization to target areas of high Asian American populations where there are DOE offices and facilities.
These are just a few examples of the changes that agencies are driving. For a more complete picture of what the agencies have done to address the needs and concerns of AAPIs since creating implementation plans one year ago,click here.
Now imagine if we replicated these agency models across the entire federal government. Imagine if we aligned community, federal, and philanthropic investment. Imagine if we made this a country where –as President Obama said – “no matter who you are, no matter where you came from, no matter what you look like, America forever remains the place where you can make it if you try.” We can. We’ve only just begun.
Audrey Buehring is Deputy Director at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Census Statistics on Nation's Asian Population
The U.S. Census Bureau released a 2010 Census brief on the Asian population in the United States. http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-11.pdf
2010 Census Brief - The Asian Population: 2010
AAPI FACT Sheet – Asian American Pacific Islander Month 2012
2010 Census Briefs – Multiple Topics
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Akaka bill aims to make top executive jobs more appealing
The Senior Executive Service has a rollover problem. Sometimes executives make less than the employees they supervise, and that is keeping some people from entering the upper echelons of the federal workforce. Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) introduced legislation Wednesday designed to try to repair some of the problems with the SES by making it more enticing for General Schedule employees to take a promotion...
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The Asian American Government Executives Network (AAGEN) and the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) Join Forces to Better Serve the AAPI Federal Employee Communit [02/12]
"Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling" - Combatting the "glaring invisibility" of Asian Americians in the Federal Policy Arena [10/28]
see Full Report of White House InitiativePassing of Maria Haley, an AAGEN Founder
for Background on this meeting, see: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/64094.html
or see the Full Report: http://www.govexec.com/pdfs/092211l1.pdf
Department of Treasury APA Month Event, Cross-Cultural Communication Specialist and AAGEN Member Dottie Li will be the Keynote Speaker and Sharon Yuan Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade and Investment Policy will be the presenter