Not Your Model Minority: Own-Group Activism Among Asian Americans

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Abstract

Objectives: Research on Asian American activism is neglected in the collective action literature. This study examined a model of Asian American activism that included a context-specific variable, model minority beliefs, and 3 traditional predictors of collective engagement: experiences of discrimination, collective racial identity, and structural awareness. Method: Participants completed a survey on their sociopolitical attitudes and behaviors. All participants identified as Asian American (N = 187; Mage = 32.99) and were generally well-educated (76.8% had a college degree or higher), politically liberal (68.5%), and female (74.2%). Results: Controlling for gender, age, political orientation, and immigrant generation, the results of the serial mediation model revealed that structural awareness, collective racial identity, and model minority beliefs significantly mediated the relationship between discrimination and own-group activism. Results also showed that model minority beliefs negatively predicted own-group activism. Conclusions: In addition to replicating broad findings from the collective action literature among Asian Americans, this research highlights the importance of contextualized group-based beliefs about inequality (model minority beliefs) for understanding engagement among racial minority groups.

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