Discrimination, Identity, Socialization, and Civic Engagement among Asian American Families During COVID-19

Awarded Scholars:
Charissa Cheah, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Shuyan Sun, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Cixin Wang, University of Maryland, College Park
Janelle Wong, University of Maryland, College Park
Project Date:
Mar 2021
Award Amount:

The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with increased stigma and discrimination against Chinese Americans and other Asian groups, in part because the virus emerged in Wuhan, China. Public statements by then-President Trump, other elected officials, and right-wing broadcast and social media labeled COVID-19 as the “China virus” or the “Kung Flu.” From March to August 2020, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council recorded over 2,500 anti-Asian incidents. At the same time, there were reports of the Asian American community’s engagement and political action to combat increased bias. The investigators will survey a sample of Asian-American parents and their adolescent children to study the following questions: How do Asian American families navigate exposure to and experiences with group-based discrimination? And to what extent do those experiences affect ethnic, racial, and national identification, and civic engagement? They will focus on how forms of discrimination (e.g., direct, vicarious, collective, in-person or via social media) affect perceived social group identity and whether this translates into the politicization of identity and collective action. While there is evidence of the negative social and psychological costs of group-based discrimination, there is also evidence that group identification may allow individuals to maintain self-esteem, sense of belonging, and positive adjustment.


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