Abstract: Model Minority Myth

AAPI Nexus: Model Minority Myth Volume 6, Number 1 Winter/Spring 2008 Abstracts

Awakening the New “Sleeping Giant”?:  Asian American Political Engagement
Paul M. Ong, Melany Dela Cruz-Viesca, and Don T. Nakanishi

ABSTRACT: The 2008 election was a milestone in the emergence of Asian Americans as a factor in American politics, with national television news networks openly discussing and analyzing California’s Asian American voters. Most mainstream analysis, however, had very little in-depth understanding of the population. This essay provides some insights into the absolute and relative size of the Asian American population, along with key demographic characteristics, their participation in electoral politics, some of the barriers the encounter, and future prospects.  The brief is based on analyzing the most recently available data, the 2006 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2006 November Current Population Survey (CPS). This analysis builds on a previous analytical brief which examined the emergence of Asian Americans as California politics’ new “sleeping giant,” a term that was applied to Hispanics in the 1980s and 1990s because of their rapid growing numbers.
“It’s like we’re just renting over here”:  The Pervasive Experiences of Discrimination of Filipino Immigrant Youth Gang Members in Hawai’i
Su Yeong Kim, Aprile D. Benner, Rena Mae Nalani Reid, Kathleen Ongbongan, Donna Dennerlein, and Deborah K.  Spencer

ABSTRACT: Researchers, service providers, and policymakers must uncover and better understand the issues facing youths in Asian gangs in order to most effectively intervene with appropriate policies and programs.  The present investigation sampled young male Filipino gang members in Hawai’i.  Thematic analyses of the focus group data challenge the commonly held view of racial harmony in Hawai’i.  It appears that racial and social discrimination from peers and authority figures propel Filipino boys to seek out gang membership as a way to protect themselves from being targets of oppression.

The Obesity Epidemic in Chinese American Youth?:  A Literature Review and Pilot Study
Robyn Greenfield Matloff, Doug Brugge, Angela C. Lee, and Roland Tang

ABSTRACT: Despite nearly 12 million Asian Americans living in the United States and continued immigration, this increasingly substantial subpopulation has consistently been left out of national obesity studies. When included in national  studies, Chinese-American children have been grouped together with other Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders or simply as “other,” yielding significantly lower rates of overweight and obesity compared to non-Asians. There is a failure to recognize the ethnic diversity of Asian Americans as well as the effect of acculturation. Results from smaller studies of Chinese American youth suggest that they are adopting lifestyles less Chinese and more Americans and that their share of disease burden is growing. We screened 142 children from the waiting room of a community health center that serves primarily recent Chinese immigrants for height, weight and demographic profile. Body Mass Index was calculated and evaluated using CDC growth charts. Overall, 30.1 percent of children were above the 85th we found being male and being born in the U .S. to be statistically significant for BMI > 85th percentile (p=0.039, p=0.001, respectively). Our results suggest that being overweight in this Chinese American immigrant population is associated with being born in the U.S. A change in public policy and framework for research are required to accurately assess the extent of overweight and obesity in Chinese American children. In particular, large scale data should be stratified by age, sex, birthplace and measure of acculturation to identify those at risk and construct tailored interventions.
Sex and Alcohol on the College Campus: An Assessment of HIV-Risk Behaviors among AAPI College Students  
Jeanne Shimatsu, Eric C. Wat, & Camillia Lui

ABSTRACT: Heavy alcohol use and its related consequences are seen as a top public health issue affecting college students. One of the major consequences of heavy alcohol use is unplanned and unprotected sexual activity which places college students at risk for HIV/AIDS. Little is known about the prevalence of alcohol use and sexual activity among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) college students. The Asian American Drug Abuse Program, Inc. (AADAP) sought to investigate the prevalence of alcohol use and its related problems among this population. The objectives of this exploratory study are twofold: (1) to examine the alcohol and other drug use, HIV-risk behaviors, and attitudes toward seeking services among AAPI college students, and (2) to recommend key strategies for a substance abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention program tailored to AAPI college students. With a convenience sample of 1,043 AAPI college students, we found that 75.7 percent of students currently drink alcohol with 20.6 percent being frequent users. In addition, frequent users of alcohol are seven times more likely to be sexually active than non-users. AAPI college students have a high knowledge of HIV transmission, yet having adequate knowledge does not seem to deter students from engaging in risky behaviors such as engaging in sexual activity after drinking or having unprotected sex. While further research of AAPI college students is needed, we recommend that a substance abuse and HIV prevention program be specifically tailored to AAPI college students.  An intervention should be culturally tailored with AAPI-specific messages, peer-based, and allow for space where students can learn substance use resistance skills and improve HIV prevention behaviors.