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Historical and Contemporary Overview of Asian American and Pacific Islander Experiences: Immigration, Racialization, and Liminality

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 14 Issue: 6 Dated: November/December 2009 Pages: 437-444
Greg M. Kim-Ju; Wayne Maeda; Cara Maffini
Date Published
December 2009
8 pages
This study examined Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and the emerging crime, violence, and gang issues that affect these communities.
The term Asian American applies to 26 subgroups and Pacific Islander to 6 subgroups. What binds these disparate AAPI groups together are the ways in which they have been exiled to the margins of U.S. society based on the construction of two dominant images: the model minority and the perpetual foreigner. However, it has also masked the tremendous amount of heterogeneity among AAPI that has led to diverse experiences in social, political, economic, and educational settings. Variations in age, population, English proficiency, citizenship, education, and income in conjunction with the nuances in history and culture of each subgroup contribute to their unique experiences. The first part of this article provides a general historical overview of selected AAPI communities that examines salient aspects of immigration and racialization, resulting in generations living a circumscribed life on the margins of mainstream society. The balance of the article draws on U.S. Census datasets from 1990 to 2000 to capture the size and growth of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and provide population, language, citizenship, education, income, and poverty data to contextualize emerging crime, violence, and gang issues that affect these communities. The data shows commonalities across AAPI communities, but also reveals information specific to AAPI subgroups, shedding more light on the state of AAPI communities and their diversity. Tables and references


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