New Study Shows Black Women Confront Racists, While Asian Women Just Feed Them Nasty Jellybeans [disgrasian]

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    New Study Shows Black Women Confront Racists, While Asian Women Just Feed Them Nasty Jellybeans
    April 16th, 2012 | 7 comments | Posted by Jen

    New research is out showing African American and Asian American women react differently to racists. Basically, black women are more likely to confront racists directly, while Asian women are more likely to poison them with disgusting-flavored jellybeans. Or something like that. Here’s a summary of the research, as described in The Atlantic:

    PROBLEM: Previous studies have demonstrated variations in the way people of distinct cultures communicate and manage conflict. Do their reactions to racial slurs differ as well?

    METHODOLOGY: Researchers Elizabeth Lee and José Soto asked Asian and black American women to talk to another person online using an instant messenger. The conversation partner was a research assistant trained to make either a racist comment, such as “Dating [blacks/Asians] is for tools who let [blacks/Asians] control them” or a rude comment unrelated to race. The subjects then took part in a supposedly unrelated taste test, for which they chose a jellybean for their conversation partner. The jellybean flavors available ranged from delicious (e.g. cherry, lemon) to “bad-tasting” (e.g. earwax, dirt).

    RESULTS: The African-American participants were more likely to directly respond to their racist partners than the Asian-American women, who preferred to retaliate in secret by not giving the good jellybeans.

    The results of that study (full PDF here) sound pretty stereotype-y to me, and one contributing factor could be that of the 34 Asian American female participants–all undergraduates at a “large public university”–almost half of them (47%) were born outside of the U.S. Contrast that with the African American participants, of whom only 13.9% were born outside of the U.S. These researchers also conducted a second study published in the same research paper that found “Asian women were more likely than Black women to say they would not respond directly to a racist comment.” In this study, 65.2% of the Asian participants, also undergraduates at a large public university, were born outside of the U.S. as opposed to only 6.3% of the black participants. Can you lump 2nd generation and 1.5 generation Asian American women together in a study like that?

    I dunno. Kind of hung up on the variables that presents. And the fact that there are people who actually eat “earwax” and “vomit” jellybeans voluntarily out there in the world.

    [UPDATE: In the notes at the end of the study, the researchers state that they found no difference between the results of the American-born Asian women and the foreign-born: “Given the large percentage of Asian participants born outside of the United States, we conducted our principal analyses separately for U.S. born and foreign born participants and found no differences in the results. Therefore, we present the findings for the combined group throughout.” There goes my theory. Still, there’s something about this study that’s the wackness. Discuss.]

  • I don’t think Asian American women (who don’t speak up against racists) don’t speak up because they’re “naturally passive” but rather it might have a lot to do with what their parents taught them: be polite, don’t get into trouble, white people are good, no conflict is worth your time, etc…I suspect that might also be part of the reason why so many pro-AM AFs don’t speak out against Anna Lus either, despite the fact that at least 60% of Asian-American women are pro-AMs.

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