How Science Ignores Asian Americans The pandemic put Asian Americans in the spotlight and revealed how little is known about them. Protesters gathered in March to draw attention to the growing hatred of Asian Americans in the wake of the shooting at the Atlanta spa in New York City. Too often, Asian Americans are ignored or treated as a monolithic group in research studies, rendering them invisible, the researchers argue.
A sociologist at Texas A&M University in College Station. For example, researchers study both struggling and successful white Americans to understand the full range of outcomes within the group, he says. However, as with minority groups, researchers focus heavily on those who struggle, thus excluding Asian Americans. If you really want to understand the ultimate nature of social problems, you must also study the reverse, says Sakamoto. You cannot study just one end of the distribution. Additionally, Asian Americans face challenges.
For example, they are less likely to use mental health services than other demographic groups, and not simply because they have fewer mental health problems. In January 2020, researchers from the Psychiatric Service reported that, in a U.S. sample of 10,494 whites and 451 Asian Americans diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, 70 percent of whites reported psychotic compared to just the 35.3 percent of Asian Americans received health treatment. And while their level of education and income are equal to or even higher than that of white Americans.
We cannot study how Asian Americans move forward in their lives or how Asian American parents pass from generation to generation, says Kim. Community psychologist Nelly Tran ran into that problem several years ago. As a graduate student, she wanted to understand the educational outcomes of American-born Asian Americans. And examined the scientific literature. I found only 45 articles in history, says Tran, who is now at San Diego State University. Most of those articles were based on a single data set, the 1988 National Educational Longitudinal Study, which ran between 1988 and 2000 and followed people from eighth grade through adulthood. The sociologists were “studying a lot of different questions from a group of students, says Tran. That group was also not relevant to Tran’s work, as the Asian-Americans in the survey were predominantly foreign-born.