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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

July 6, 2006

Written by C.N.

The State of Asian American Politics

A new study by the Asian American Action Fund political action committee describes the emerging political power of Asian Americans, both as political representatives and as a political constituency group:

In 1996, there were about 300 Asian American elected officials nationwide. By 2005, it was 555 including two U.S. Senators, five U.S. Representatives, 64 State Senators, 97 State Representatives, three state governors, 19 city mayors, 123 city or county council members or other elected officials and 236 judges. . . .

[F]or various reasons Asian Americans are poised to gain greater political power. . . . Asian Americans are concentrated in key battleground states, California, Washington, Nevada, New Jersey and Virginia. In these states, the growth of the Asian American population is greater than that of other groups. . . .

Asian Americans are voting in increasing numbers. Between 1990 and 2000 their voting numbers grew from a million to 1.98 million nationally. That’s an increase of 118 percent. In 2000 83 percent of registered Asian Americans actually voted. . . . Asian Americans [also] do more than vote. They contribute money to campaigns. In 2000, almost one-fifth of U.S.-born Asian Americans contributed to a political campaign.

As I’ve written before, there are many compelling reasons why politicians need to take Asian Americans seriously as not just a constituent group but also as a major emerging cultural and demographic force in the years to come.

The next step is to translate this burgeoning political power into less occupational discrimination, fewer incidents of hate crimes and racial harassment, etc. In other words, while we should be proud of, and build upon, our growing influence, there’s still plenty of work to be done.

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "The State of Asian American Politics" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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