So I have brought up in the past the negative portrayal and discrimination against Chinese folks in general here in the US and how being Asian is a disadvantage here. Hereís a survey that supports the idea.
Good for you if you havenít felt any negativity towards you, but itís not a figment of imagination.
One in four Americans has "strong negative attitudes" toward Chinese Americans, would feel uncomfortable voting for an Asian American for president of the United States, and would disapprove of a family member marrying someone of Asian descent, according to a landmark national survey.
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The results of the telephone poll conducted in the first two weeks of March were startling, said Henry Tang, chief executive officer of the Committee of 100, a Chinese American leadership organization that sponsored the survey -- the first of its kind.
"We always knew that there was some negativity out there, but we were startled at the magnitude," he said yesterday in a telephone interview. "These observations are results of many decades . . . of stereotyping inside the American society."
Tang said it is all the more disheartening that the survey of 1,216 Americans was conducted before the recent collision between a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet off Hainan.
"The numbers are probably higher now than when the survey was done," Tang said.
As a result of the standoff over the release of the crew of the U.S. plane, which made an emergency landing in China, talk-show hosts began calling for internment of Chinese Americans and for boycotts of Chinese restaurants.
The poll, conducted by Yankelovich Partners in collaboration with the Anti- Defamation League and the Marttila Communications Group, chiefly studied Americans' attitudes toward Chinese Americans and Asian Americans. The study found that respondents felt virtually the same about Chinese Americans as about Asian Americans in general.
The survey found 25 percent of respondents harbor very negative attitudes and stereotypes toward Chinese Americans.
Twenty-three percent of respondents felt uncomfortable supporting an Asian American presidential candidate, compared to 15 percent for an African American, 14 percent for a woman and 11 percent for a Jew.
Twenty-four percent disapprove of intermarriage with an Asian American, second only to African Americans, while 7 percent wouldn't want to work for an Asian American chief executive officer, compared to 4 percent who would not want to work for an African American, 3 percent for a woman and 4 percent for a Jew.
The survey also concluded that 32 percent of Americans feel that Chinese Americans likely would be more loyal to China than to the United States, while 17 percent said they would be upset if a substantial number of Asian Americans moved into their neighborhood.
On the other hand, the vast majority said they believe Chinese Americans have strong family values and are as honest as other business people.
"Ninety percent said they think Chinese Americans have strong family values,
yet: 'You can't marry my kid.' What is that all about?" said Zenobia Lai, executive director of the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco. " 'You can be creative, hard-working and honest, but you can't be my president.' I can't find any explanation, except that it's a kind of prejudice and racism."
Ted Wang, policy director for Chinese for Affirmative Action in San Francisco, said the survey does not surprise him. It follows other studies conducted by graduate students in recent years.
He said the low opinion of Asian Americans as leaders, in both government and business, is indicative of feelings about the community as a whole.
"There is a perception that we are still not American, that we're the perpetual foreigner," said Wang. "That plays into the distrust of Asian Americans in the context of government and private corporations."
Wang, like Lai, said he is puzzled by the paradoxical perception about Asian Americans.
"We're held out as a model minority in the context of the American whole, but we're seen as something less than desirable and trustworthy than the average American," said Wang.
Saratoga software contractor Larry Wang, 47, said he was saddened to hear the numbers. But he said the survey is a call for Chinese Americans to become even more involved in their local communities.
"I would hope most people would feel we are part of this society. We are not foreigners and strangers," said Larry Wang. "I think we need to make more contributions to society and the community. That way we can change people's attitudes."
Dr. Albert Wang, 42, of Fremont, said Asians don't deserve the rap they're getting.
"Most Asian Americans are law-abiding, contributing members of the community," said Wang. "Maybe we could be more active, but I don't think we're deserving of this."
Both Tang and Lai believe education is key to overcoming negative feelings toward Asian Americans.
Such attitudes don't simply "spring up when people turn 25," Lai said.
School curricula should be improved to help dispel myths about Asian Americans, Tang added.
"Textbooks don't have enough presentation of Asian and Asian American history," he said. "I'm always baffled that in 2001 . . . Asian languages are not offered in more secondary schools."
Lai said perceptions must be changed. "It'll take a lot of work and commitment by both Asian Americans and non-Asian Americans," she said.