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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Asian-Americans: Loyal or competition?

WASHINGTON — Fears over China are hitting the image of Asian-Americans, as their loyalties come under suspicion despite steady improvements in perceptions of the community, a survey said.

The Committee of 100, a Chinese-American group, conducted a nationwide survey to look at changes since its major study in 2001 on attitudes toward Asian-Americans in the United States.

The survey found that more than two-thirds of the public believed immigration from Asia was good for the nation and far more people were willing to accept an Asian-American marrying into the family or as an official representing them in government.

After electing Mr Barack Obama as their first African-American leader, just 9 per cent of Americans were uncomfortable with the idea of an Asian-American president, well down from 23 per cent in 2001.

But 45 per cent of the general public believed Asian-Americans were more loyal to their nations of origin than the US — up from 37 per cent at the beginning of the decade.

Mr Frank Wu, a scholar who helped lead the study, said that those Americans with the most anxiety about China’s rapidly growing economy were also the most concerned about Asian-Americans.

“There is increasing acceptance of Asian-Americans as people who are equals with the right to take part in democracy and are no different from white or black Americans,” Mr Wu said. “But coupled to that, there is also a great sense among a significant part of the population that they are not quite ‘real’ Americans.”

The survey, administered by Harris Interactive, interviewed 1,427 adults in January.

Mr Wu said unlike some other groups, particularly African-Americans, stereotypes about Asian-Americans were largely positive — viewed as a “model minority” who are hardworking. “We’re lavished with praise on one hand but if you scratch a bit beneath the surface, then Asians are seen as not just hardworking but as unfair competition — they are sort of taking over,” he said.

Around 5 per cent of the US population claim ancestry from Asia. AFP

From TODAY, World – Thursday, 23-April-2009