Author: Kohatsu, Eric L
Date published: January 1, 2011
A primary tenet of the model minority stereotype is that Asian Americans are exempt from the perils of poverty, educational underachievement, poor mental health, and racial discrimination (S. Lee, 1996; Rosenbloom & Way, 2004; Talbot, 1999). Asian Americans' business savvy, excellence in math and the physical sciences, diligent work ethic, and their success are highlighted in the stereotype, whereas other minority groups still seem to struggle in comparison (Gloria & Ho, 2003; Rosenbloom & Way, 2004). In short, Asian Americans are depicted as having attained parity with Whites, a feat that other racial groups have not accomplished.
Additionally, the model minority myth is often used to legitimize the denigration and negative stereotyping of other racial minorities as well as to gloss over the racial experiences of Asians (S. Lee, 1996; Ponterotto, 1991; Rosenbloom & Way, 2004; Wong & Haglin, 2006). The stereotype of Asian Americans as a role model for other racial minorities is frequently used as evidence that Asian Americans are immune to the racism directed at them, unlike other groups (S. Lee, 1996; Rosenbloom & Way, 2004; Takaki, 1998). In addition, this pervasive perception of Asian Americans as the model minority contrasts them with other racial minority groups, thereby alluding to the complexities of race relations. That is, race relations are not just between people of color groups and Whites but also between the various people of color groups (Cowan, 2005; Mack et al., 1997). Such a reality underscores the complex social problem of racial discrimination and the context in which it is expressed, and challenges the perception of racial discrimination as occurring primarily between socially dominant (i.e., Whites) and nondominant groups (e.g., African Americans, Asian Americans). The model minority myth, consequently, glosses over the real social, economic, and psychological problems experienced by Asian Americans and, most important, diverts attention away from the racism and discrimination that affect their lives (R. M. Lee, 2003).
A recent study of anti-Asian prejudice emphasized two underlying dimensions: perceived competence and sociability (Lin, Kwan, Cheung, & Fiske, 2005). These dimensions were predicated on the Stereotype Content Model, which posits that out-groups are perceived to be either warm but incompetent or highly competent but unsociable (Fiske, Cuddy, GIick, & Xu, 2002). Consistent with the model minority myth, Asian Americans are often placed in the latter category, emphasizing high levels of economic and educational competence. That is, competence, a characteristic that would otherwise be construed positively when applied to Whites, is interpreted as threatening to the status quo and thus a negative characteristic (Lin et al., 2005). Asian Americans are therefore resented and envied on this dimension (unfairly competent) while also being perceived as unsociable (e.g., Delucchi & Do, 1996).
*Color-Blind Racial Attitudes
An underlying process that may foster belief in the model minority myth is a color-blind racial ideology. Inherent in color blindness is the idea that race and racism do not matter and furthermore do not play important roles in the current social and economic climate (Bonilla-Silva, 2003; Neville, Coleman, Falconer, & Holmes, 2005; Neville, Worthington, & Spanierman, 2001). In 2004, 22% of incoming University of California-Los Angeles freshmen reported that racial discrimination is no longer a problem in America, and the number of freshmen who embrace this color-blind ideology has increased over the last 3 years (Sax et al., 2004).
Individuals who hold color-blind racial attitudes are more likely to deny that racial issues matter and have little meaning in their lives (Burkard & Knox, 2004). Those who operate from a color-blind framework do not necessarily embrace a belief in racial superiority or inferiority, but rather adopt a distorted and inaccurate view of racial groups and race relations that is focused on meritocracy (Bonilla-Silva, 2003; Neville et al., 200 1). Color-blind individuals believe that it is the lack of effort by racial/ethnic minorities, rather than race, that causes social problems (Burkard & Knox, 2004).
An underlying assumption of color-blind racial attitudes is that people who work hard regardless of their social status will reap the benefits that society has to offer. Thus, colorblind racial attitudes often justify "blaming the victim" and rationalize beliefs that racial minority groups who cannot succeed in this society are "culturally" inferior (e.g., family disorganization; Bonilla-Silva, 2003). The perceived success of Asian Americans, as perpetuated by the model minority myth, validates beliefs in a color-blind society where merit is the only criterion for success.
Color-blind racial attitudes have also been shown to have a significant influence in counseling (e.g., Burkard & Knox, 2004; Gushue, 2004; Neville, Spanierman, & Doan, 2006; Spanierman, Poteat, Wang, & Oh, 2008). For example, Burkard and Knox (2004) found that therapists subscribing to a color-blind perspective were less skilled at communicating empathy, less sensitive to issues pertaining to cultural diversity, and more likely to attribute responsibility for the resolution of a therapy issue to a client of color than to a European American client. Therefore, it is crucial that therapists who work with clients of color develop an awareness of their color-blind racial attitudes.
Although a color-blind perspective has often been suggested as an ideal avenue to eradicating racism and promoting social justice, research has shown that race continues to have important implications on people's everyday attitudes and behaviors (American Psychological Association, 1997). For example, people maintained prejudicial beliefs to racial stimuli even though they attempted to respond without prejudice (Gushue, 2004). In addition, individuals who self-identified as being color blind more highly endorsed racial prejudices (e.g., Neville, Lilly, Duran, Lee, & Browne, 2000).
To date, most of the research on color-blind racial attitudes has been limited to examining White-Black racial dynamics (e.g., Lin et al., 2005). The focus of this study was to expand the literature on color blindness by exploring the relationship between expressions of color-blind racial attitudes among people of color and perceptions of Asian Americans, particularly in the context of the model minority stereotype. Racial identity theory is a powerful framework through which these relationships may be examined more closely.
Racial identity theory examines the process by which people of color overcome internalized negative images of their group while developing an identity rooted in the culture and sociopolitical experiences of their ascribed group (Helms, 1995b). Racial identity can be conceptualized in four dynamic statuses, each carrying a unique perspective on how one relates to individuals of one's own racial group as well as members of other racial groups. The Conformity status, in which a person of color defines him- or herself externally by White standards of merit, is considered to be the least sophisticated status. The Dissonance status is characterized as involving ambivalence and confusion regarding commitment to one's own racial group and racial self-definition. The Resistance status describes a person of color who esteems his or her socioracial group highly while also denigrating the White dominant culture. Last, the Integrative Awareness status is characterized by a person of color who successfully navigates, reconciles, and values his or her collective identities while also empathizing and partnering with other oppressed minority groups.
As it relates to interracial group perceptions, Conformity and Resistance attitudes consistently predicted stereotypical and overall negative impressions of African Americans among Asians (Kohatsu et al., 2000). Specifically, Asians using these statuses were more likely to view African Americans as lazy, unfriendly, unsuccessful, and incompetent. In addition, adherence to less sophisticated racial identity statuses (e.g., Conformity) was related to higher levels of color blindness and anti-Asian prejudice among people of color (Kohatsu et al., 2007). These findings further validated the use of a racial identity framework in examining interracial group contact and perceptions between people of color groups.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between color blindness, racial identity attitudes, and antiAsian American prejudice. This study focused on people of color (i.e., racial minority group individuals), including African Americans and Latinos. Although studies examining racial prejudice do so by using Whites as a standard for comparison, this study analyzed anti- Asian prejudice as expressed by other disenfranchised groups (e.g., Latinos). It was hypothesized that Conformity and Resistance racial identity attitudes would significantly predict higher levels of anti-Asian prejudice (e.g., unfairly competent and unsociable). In addition, it was hypothesized that the Conformity racial identity attitude would significantly predict high levels of color-blind racial attitudes, whereas Integrative Awareness would be predictive of lower levels of color blindness. Last, it was hypothesized that color blindness would significantly predict lower levels of anti- Asian prejudice.
Participants were sampled (N= 260) from a culturally diverse West Coast university and consisted of 67 (26%) men and 1 93 (74%) women. The mean age of the participants was 23.23 (SD = 5.41) years. Most participants identified themselves as Latinos (79%), whereas the remaining sample consisted of African Americans (12%), other/mixed racial minority groups (6%), Middle Eastern (2%) and American Indian (1%). A majority of the participants were born in the United States (70%), with the remaining (30%) born internationally. Of the total sample, most participants reported a middle-class socioeconomic status (61%), followed by working class (27%), lower/poor class (8%), and upper class (1%).
Each anonymous questionnaire included the Scale of Anti- Asian American Stereotypes (SAAAS; Lin et al., 2005), the ColorBlind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS; Neville et al., 2000), the People of Color Racial Identity Attitude Scale (POCRIAS; Helms, 1995a), and a demographic data survey.
SAAAS. The SAAAS contains 25 items rated on a 6-point Likert scale (0 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree) that assess anti-Asian American prejudice. It is conceptually based on the Stereotype Content Model (Fiske et al., 2002), which posits that out-groups are often grouped into two mixed clusters. The first group is liked as warm but disrespected as incompetent (e.g., older people, people who are disabled, traditional conceptions of women); the second is an envied group that is respected as competent but disliked as lacking warmth (e.g., Asians, Jews). The SAAAS consists of the Sociability (13 items) and Competence (12 items) subscales. A sample item is "Asian Americans do not interact with others smoothly in social situations." High scores on the Sociability subscale indicate that participants perceive Asians to be less sociable in general, whereas high scores on the Competence subscale indicate that Asians are perceived as unfairly competent, the latter of which provides the impetus for feelings of intimidation, resentment, or envy directed at Asian Americans from other racial groups (Lin et al., 2005). Both dimensions exemplify characteristics of the model minority myth. An overall SAAAS score is computed by adding the items of both subscales. A high score on the total SAAAS is indicative of high prejudicial attitudes toward Asian Americans.
In the initial scale construction study (Lin et al., 2005), the authors reported a range of reliability coefficients for each of the subscales and the total scale score: SAAAS Total (a = .93 to .94), Sociability (a = .90 to .91), and Competence (a = .86 to .92). The current study reported the following reliability coefficients: SAAAS Total = .90, Sociability = .87, and Competence = . 84. Concurrent validity was evidenced by scores on each of the subscales and the SAAAS Total to scores on a number of related measures (e.g., low-prejudiced participants were significantly more likely than high-prejudiced participants to make an effort to socialize with Asian Americans and more likely to choose Asian Americans as roommates; Lin et al., 2005).
CoBRAS. The CoBRAS contains 20 items that assess participants' lack of awareness or denial of racism in the United States. Participants respond to items using a 7-point Likert scale ( 1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree). Scores range from 20 to 140, with higher scores on the measure reflecting higher levels of color blindness. The total CoBRAS is composed of three subscales: (a) the Unawareness of Racial Privilege subscale (seven items) measures participants' unawareness of White racial privilege; (b) the Institutional Discrimination subscale (seven items) measures participants' unawareness of institutional racism; and (c) the Blatant Racial Issues subscale (six items) measures participants' unawareness or denial of general, pervasive discrimination and racism in U.S. society. A total scale score is obtained by adding the 20 items from all three subscales. A sample item is "Racism may have been a problem in the past, it is not an important problem today."
In the initial scale construction study by Neville et al. (2000), mese authors reported a range of alpha reliabilities from .84 to .91 for the total scale score across groups consisting of men, women, Whites, Blacks, and Latinos. In the present study, an alpha coefficient of .76 was obtained. The CoBRAS was moderately to strongly correlated with measures such as the Just World Belief (Furnham& Procter, 1989;Lipkus, 1991)as well as with two measures of racial discrimination (i.e., Modern Racism Scale [McConahay, 1986] and Quick Discrimination Index [Ponterotto, Burkard, Rieger, & Grieger, 1995]), providing evidence of concurrent validity. An insignificant correlation with the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Reynolds, 1982) provided evidence of discriminant validity.
POCRIAS. The POCRIAS is a 50-item inventory scale that assesses the four racial identity statuses proposed by Helms (1995b): Conformity, Dissonance, Resistance, and Integrative Awareness. Participants rate each item using a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree). Higher scores on the subscales indicate stronger levels of the respective racial identity attitudes, such as the item "I am comfortable being Asian."
Studies have reported reliability coefficients ranging from .87 to .95 for a racially diverse sample (e.g., Pope, 2000). Reliability coefficients for the present study were as follows: Conformity (.66), Dissonance (.67), Resistance (.81), and Integrative Awareness (.70). Numerous studies have demonstrated the validity of the POCRIAS using Asian, Latino, and African American participants (e.g., Alvarez & Helms, 2001; Helms, 1995a; Kohatsu, 1992; Kohatsu et al., 2000; Kohatsu et al., 2005; Miville & Helms, 1996). For example, Kohatsu et al. (2000) found that among Asian Americans, Conformity, Resistance, and Integrative Awareness attitudes predicted perceived interpersonal racism from African Americans in ways that were consistent with racial identity theory.
Demographic data survey. A demographic data survey was used to collect demographic information from participants, such as race/ethnicity, age, place of birth, generational status, educational level, and socioeconomic status.
Participants were recruited from social science classes and ethnic campus organizations using a standardized protocol. Courses where participants were surveyed were randomly selected from the university class schedule. Similarly, leaders of ethnic campus organizations were contacted, and permission was obtained to collect surveys at meetings. Prior to beginning the study, participants were given a brief introduction to the study and asked for voluntary participation. After signing a consent form, participants were administered an anonymous questionnaire by two research assistants and given a debriefing form at the conclusion of the study. An overall 94% return response rate was obtained.
Means, standard deviations, and correlations are presented in Table 1. Few differences were found by gender and place of birth for the independent and dependent variables. Gender differences for the Conformity and Dissonance subscales of the POCRIAS were found. For example, men (M = 19.28, SD = 5.18) were significantly more likely than women (M = 17.45, SD = 4.83) to subscribe to attitudes reflecting those of the dominant White culture, /(259) = 2.63, p < .05.
Differences in place of birth were also found for the SAAAS. U.S.-born participants (M= 30.85, 5D=Il .33) were less likely than internationally born participants (M = 34.26, SD = 11 .57) to perceive Asian Americans as unsociable, i(259) = -2. 19, ? < .05. Similarly, U.S.-born individuals (M= 3 1 .89, SD = 1 1 .03) were significantly less likely than foreign-born individuals (M= 35.04, SD = 8.98) to perceive Asian Americans as unfairly competent, t(259) = -2.20, p < .05. Last, U.S.-born individuals (M= 62.72, SD = 20.13) held significantly less overall anti-Asian attitudes than did foreign-born individuals (M= 69.30, SD = 18.25), t(259) = -2.46, p < .05.
Because Latinos were the largest group in the sample, t tests were conducted with all the scales comparing Latinos and the other socioracial groups in the sample. There were no significant differences between groups on the SAAAS Total, t(257) = A3, p > .05; Competence, t(257) = .51, p > .05; and Sociability, t(257) = .51, p > .05, scale/subscales. The only significant difference was in color blindness scores: Latinos had a significantly lower mean score than did the other racial groups, /(257) = 2.47, ? < .05. Given the relatively small number of participants from racial groups other than Latinos and on the basis of these t tests, participants were dummy coded into two race groups. Latinos were coded as 1, and all other racial group members were coded as 0.
[TABLE 1 OMITTED]
In addition, correlational analysis revealed several relationships among the primary variables (see Table 1 ). For example, POCRIAS Resistance was significantly correlated to SAAAS Total (r = .37, p < .01) and color-blindness (see CoBRAS Total; r = -.30, p < .01). Furthermore, color-blindness was significantly negatively correlated to both SAAAS Total (r = -.18, p < .01) and unsociability (see SAAAS Sociability; r = -.20, p< .01).
Racial identity as predictors of anti-Asian prejudice. A hierarchical regression analysis was used to examine whether participants' perspectives toward Asian Americans (endorsement of competence and sociability stereotypes) were influenced by their racial identity attitudes. For all of the subsequent analyses reported, gender and race were entered in the first step to remove the variance accounted for by these variables. In the second step, racial identity attitudes (Conformity, Dissonance, Resistance, Integrative Awareness) were entered into the model. A total of nine analyses were performed, and as a way to control for error rate inflation, the .05 alpha level was divided by nine. Thus, to be considered significant, the overall F value for any regression model (at the second step) was required to be equal to or less than an alpha level of .005.
With respect to the total SAAAS score, at the first step, gender and race were not significant, F(2, 257) = .008, p > .05. However, at the second step, racial identity attitudes were significant, F(6, 253) = 6.70, p < .001, and accounted for 14% of the variance (R2 = .14, f^sup 2^ =.16). Specifically, Resistance racial identity attitudes (β = .34, t = 4.87, p < .001) were a significant predictor of Asian American prejudice. The beta weights suggested that the more participants endorsed Resistance racial identity attitudes, the more they would view Asian Americans in a prejudicial manner, which was consistent with the model minority myth (high competence, low sociability). In addition, the squared semipartial correlations for the racial identity statuses were as follows: Conformity (sr^sup 2^ = .001), Dissonance (sr^sup 2^ = .00 1 ), Resistance (sr^sup 2^ = .07), and Integrative Awareness (sr^sup 2^ = .01).
The next regression model examined whether racial identity attitudes would predict participants' scores on the Competence subscale of the SAAAS. At the first step, gender and race were not significant, F(2, 257) = .26, p > .05. Racial identity attitudes were significant at the second step, F(6, 253) = 5.23, p < .001, and accounted for 1 1% of the variance (R^sup 2^ = .11, f^sup 2^ = .12). Resistance racial identity attitudes were the only significant predictor (β = .32, t = A. 62, p < .001), indicating that higher scores on the Resistance subscale of the POCRIAS were positively correlated to high scores on the Competence subscale of the SAAAS. The squared semipartial correlations for the racial identity statuses were as follows: Conformity (sr^sup 2^ = .001), Dissonance (sr^sup 2^ = .0001), Resistance (sr^sup 2^ = .07), and Integrative Awareness (sr^sup 2^ = .001).
Regarding the relationship between racial identity attitudes and endorsement of the stereotype of Asian Americans being unapproachable (Sociability subscale of SAAAS), gender and race were not significant at the first step, F(2, 257) = .32, p > .05. However, racial identity attitudes were significant overall at the second step, F(6, 253) = 5.63, p < .001, and accounted for 12% of the variance (R^sup 2^ = .12, f^sup 2^ = .13). As with findings with the other subscales of the SAAAS, Resistance racial attitudes were the only significant predictor (β = .28, t = 4.00, p < .001), indicating that higher Resistance scores were positively correlated to higher scores on the Sociability subscale of the SAAAS. The squared semipartial correlations for the racial identity statuses were as follows: Conformity (sr^sup 2^ = .0004), Dissonance (sr^sup 2^ = .0025), Resistance (sr^sup 2^ = .06), and Integrative Awareness (sr^sup 2^ = .0025). Effect sizes were approximately medium (Cohen, 1992) because they ranged from .12 to .16 for these regression models.
Color-blind racial attitudes as predictors of anti-Asian prejudice. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between color-blind racial attitudes and anti-Asian prejudice, and all three models were not significant: SAAAS Total, F(3, 256) = 2.84, p > .005; Competence, F(3, 256) = 1.52, p > .005; and Sociability, F(3, 256) = 4. 16, p > .005. Only the second step is reported in each model given that the overall model was not significant.
Racial identity attitudes as predictors of color-blind racial attitudes. Hierarchical regression models were conducted to examine whether participants' color-blind racial attitudes would be influenced by their racial identity attitudes. Regarding the CoBRAS Total scale scores, gender and race were significant at the first step, F(I, 257) = 4.44, p < .01, and accounted for 3% of the variance (R^sup 2^ = .03). Race (▀ = -.14, t = -2. 1 7, p < .05) was a significant predictor such that those participants who were not Latino tended to more strongly endorse color-blind racial attitudes. Racial identity attitudes were significant at the second step, F(1, 253) = 6.70, p < .001, and accounted for an additional 15% of the variance (R^sup 2^ = .15, f^sup 2^= .16). Specifically, Conformity (▀ = .22, t = 3.53, p < .001) and Resistance (▀ = -.36, t = -5.26, p < .001), were significant predictors of color-blind racial attitudes, with the beta weights demonstrating that participants who subscribed to Conformity attitudes also reported more color-blind racial attitudes. Moreover, the beta weights indicated that participants who strongly endorsed Resistance racial identity attitudes reported less color-blind racial attitudes. The squared semipartial correlations for the racial identity statuses were as follows: Conformity (sr^sup 2^ = .04), Dissonance (sr^sup 2^ = .0001), Resistance (sr^sup 2^ = .09), and Integrative Awareness (sr^sup 2^ = .0064). In this last regression analysis, the effect size (.16) was medium according to Cohen's (1992) recommendations.
Last, a post hoc power analysis was conducted for all regression models: .97 (SAAAS Total), .89 (Competence), .93 (Sociability), and .97 (CoBRAS Total). These results indicate a strong likelihood that all analyses were sufficiently sensitive enough to identify statistically significant relationships among the variables.
Numerous studies have examined the underlying processes and impact of racial stereotypes, but the majority of these studies have focused on stereotypes that pertain to African Americans to the apparent exclusion of Asian Americans (e.g., Cross, 1995; Niemann, 2001). This oversight can partly be attributed to the effects of the model minority stereotype, which has obscured the impact of racial stereotypes and racism on Asian Americans. Researchers have also focused on examining racism and racial stereotypes as an exclusively White-Black issue. However, race discourse should be inclusive of other socioracial groups, such as Latinos and Asians, because they are subject to racial discrimination and stereotypes as well (Talbot, 1999). Moreover, racial interactions, in general, and racial discrimination, specifically, are not exclusively a White racial minority dynamic. That is, racial interactions and racial discrimination can also exist between racial minority groups (e.g., Kohatsu et al., 2000; Mack et al., 1997). To this end, this study explored the influence of racial identity and color-blind racial attitudes on culturally diverse participants' perceptions of Asian Americans' sociability and competence, two dimensions of the model minority myth.
Regarding the hypothesis that there would be a significant relationship between racial identity attitudes and adherence to the model minority stereotypes, the Resistance status was found to be a consistently significant predictor in perceiving Asian Americans as unfairly competent and taciturn. Nonetheless, because the effect sizes for the regression models were approximately medium and the A2S were somewhat modest, the interpretations of the findings should be tempered by these factors. However, these findings offer insight into Helms's (1995b) racial identity model. Specifically, attitudes reflective of the Resistance status have typically been described as dichotomous; that is, individuals who operate predominantly from this status use a cognitive framework that idealizes membership in one's own socioracial group while simultaneously denigrating anything that is perceived to be associated with Whites and White culture. Furthermore, individuals who predominantly subscribe to this status value commitment and loyalty to their own group. However, stereotypical definitions are often used to describe their socioracial group as well as other groups (Helms & Cook, 1999).
The process of using stereotypical descriptions to define out-groups has primarily been shown to apply toward Whites (Helms, 1995b). The current findings shed light and validate the correlation between the dichotomous framework used in Resistance attitudes and the overreliance on stereotypical beliefs in perceptions of Asian Americans. That is, people of color who predominantly use the Resistance status may rely on stereotypical information in perceiving not only Whites but Asian Americans as well (and other racial minority groups). This interpretation is consistent with previous research where, for example, Asian Americans who subscribed to the Resistance status were more likely to endorse racial stereotypes of African Americans as being lazy, unattractive, unsuccessful, and unfriendly (Kohatsu et al., 2000).
Another dimension of the Resistance status entailed hostile and negative emotions directed at Whites for their apparent contribution of racism and oppression toward people of color (Helms, 1995b). As an example of how perceptions of overcompetence and lack of sociability can foster negative emotions toward Asian Americans, Lin et al. (2005) found that participants with high levels of anti-Asian prejudice were less likely than their counterparts to want to associate or befriend Asian Americans. Furthermore, they theorized, in line with the Stereotype Content Model (Fiske et al., 2002), that perceived overcompetence and success in Asian Americans, typically a positive characteristic when applied to one's in-group, may be perceived negatively by out-groups as unfair achievements.
Simultaneously, the perception of Asian Americans as being overcompetent works in tandem with the perception that they must also be socially awkward (Lin et al., 2005). That is, their perceived success is presumed to interfere with their ability to be sociable and thus provides an additional reason to reject and/or attack Asian Americans. As discussed previously, hostility and negative emotions may be directed at other out-groups, such as Asians. Although these types of negative emotions and attitudes were not directly examined in the present study, the findings do suggest that participants perceived Asians as being socially unapproachable.
Color-Blind Attitudes, Racial Identity, and Anti-Asian Prejudice
Contrary to what was hypothesized, color-blind racial attitudes were not predictive of anti- Asian prejudice yet were significantly negatively correlated. Specifically, low levels of a color-blind perspective were correlated to participants perceiving Asian Americans as being socially awkward, but not overcompetent, and overall anti- Asian prejudice. These findings are surprising in that previous work has shown that high levels of color-blind racial attitudes were positively related to higher levels of racial prejudice and discrimination (Neville et al, 2000; Neville et al., 2001). Conceptually, individuals who endorsed a color-blind perspective concomitantly endorsed social policies that supported meritocracy or the model minority myth (Neville et al., 2000; Neville et al., 2001). That is, the perceived success of Asian Americans would further reify the notion that racism is a thing of the past as exemplified by the perceived success of this racial minority group.
Within the current sample, the sociability component of anti- Asian prejudice may have captured more of the negative sentiment than did competence; perhaps the sociability component tapped more into the actual interpersonal experiences of the participants than did competence. In other words, the competence stereotype may be a more pervasive factor operating at the social level while the sociability stereotype functions more on an individual and/or interpersonal level. It is plausible that the perception of Asian Americans being unsociable was fostered through actual interpersonal experiences, whereas the overcompetence stereotype was accepted as a given in large part because of the model minority myth. In addition, this interpretation is further supported when one considers that most of the literature on the model minority myth has focused primarily on the competence component with little mention of the sociability component.
Conceptually, this also makes sense in light of the racial composition of the environment in which the present sample was surveyed. Specifically, Asian Americans made up the second largest racial group at the university where the study was conducted, and, therefore, the opportunities to interact with this group are presumably higher than in other locations. Although the extent of these interactions is not known, the current findings do suggest that the unsociability stereotype influenced participants' perceptions of Asian Americans to the extent that it permeated even among those with low levels of color-blind racial attitudes.
There may be multiple dimensions to both the anti-Asian prejudice and color-blind racial attitudes as they operate among the various people of color groups. Granted, the research done on color-blind attitudes has primarily examined its influence on discriminatory attitudes toward Blacks (e.g., Neville et al., 2005; Neville et al., 2000), and there is little information on how this construct operates among other racial minority groups. Additional work is needed to explore how color-blind attitudes affect attitudes toward other racial minority groups, such as Asian Americans.
Last, the relationship between racial identity attitudes, color-blind racial attitudes, and anti-Asian prejudice was further illuminated in that racial identity attitudes were predictive of color-blind racial attitudes. Specifically, Conformity and Resistance racial identity attitudes predicted levels of color-blind racial attitudes in ways that were consistent with Helms 's (1995b) racial identity model. For instance, high levels of Conformity attitudes were predictive of high levels of color-blind racial attitudes, which was theoretically consistent in that Conformity attitudes were characterized by obliviousness and ignorance of racial issues. That is, individuals who predominantly subscribed to the Conformity status used a cognitive framework that used standards of White culture and, more important, downplayed the significance of race in their lives and in national policy (Helms, 1990, 1995b). Overall, the findings of high Conformity/high colorblindness and high Resistance/low color blindness appeared to be consistent with Helms's (1995b) model.
Implications for Counseling
Asian American clients are likely to encounter therapists from various racial and cultural backgrounds (Day- Vines et al., 2007; Kim, Liang, & Li, 2003) despite underutilizing mental health services and high early termination rates (Chen, Sullivan, Lu, & Shibusawa, 2003; Sue & Sue, 2003). Having access to racially/culturally similar counselors, who exhibit knowledge or awareness of Asian culture, increases the likelihood that Asian Americans enter and stay in counseling (Das, 1995; Gim, Atkinson, & Kim, 1991; Zhang & Dixon, 2001). Although it is difficult to control access to racially similar therapists, it is possible to educate therapists to be skilled in working with Asian Americans.
To that end, the results of this study have several implications for cross-cultural counseling and research. Overall, antiAsian prejudice applies to all socioracial groups, including people of color. Counselors, therefore, need to be aware of the anti- Asian prejudices they may harbor, however subtle and/or seemingly positive they may appear to be.
Conscious awareness of one's prejudices is especially relevant in the development of culturally sensitive counseling. Arredondo (1999) posited that cultural self-awareness is essential for counselors to develop in order to demonstrate sensitivity to clients' differing worldviews. That is, counselors can strive to be culturally competent by recognizing how their own beliefs and biases may seep into the counseling context. In addition, knowledge of the social impact that counselors have on their clients is crucial, because the counselor holds higher social authority in the counseling dyad. Finally, Arredondo (1999) argued that counselors should be able to recognize the limits of their own competencies and identify themselves as racial and cultural beings. Hence, counselors must continually seek a nonracist identity (Carter, 1995), particularly in working with clients who are perceived as members of a group not commonly affected by racism (e.g., Asian Americans).
To become multiculturally competent, counselors should be aware of their biases and stereotypes toward Asian Americans, whether they are intentional or unintentional (Helms & Cook, 1999; Sue & Sue, 2003). In particular, it is important for counselors to process beyond the tenets of the model minority myth and to explore more thoroughly the negative emotions and attitudes they may have toward Asian Americans. For example, the seemingly positive characteristics of the model minority myth (e.g., competence) and the juxtaposed perception that Asian Americans are interpersonally unapproachable may negatively influence the quality of interaction between counselor and client. Being mindful of these biases can only improve the quality of the counseling relationship and outcomes.
In addition, the awareness that Asian Americans are not immune from racial discrimination could facilitate a more thorough assessment of how an Asian American client's racial/ cultural environment is contributing to his or her presenting concern. By accounting for such factors, counselors can produce more accurate psychocultural profiles of an Asian client. Likewise, the potential for attributing psychological distress to factors exclusively within the individual would be significantly reduced.
Counselors should also recognize that racial dynamics are not a priori hierarchical but rather are dynamic and complex. Thus, counselors should understand that because of such pervasive influences as the model minority myth and colorblind racial attitudes, discrimination is not simply a top-down process, but it also circulates within and across racial minority groups. Hence, it is suggested that counselors should actively engage clients in exploring racism and understand the complex racial dynamics affecting all groups in the United States. One effective way to engage clients in this difficult process of exploring racism and racial dynamics is using Helms's (1995b) racial identity model.
Helms's (1995b) model is particularly applicable in counseling situations where anti-Asian prejudice or color-blind racial attitudes are likely to be present. For example, counselors who strongly adopt color-blind racial attitudes may actually be short-circuiting the potential development of the client's racial identity in the quest to remain racially all-inclusive. Likewise, clients who demonstrate higher levels of color blindness and, thus, higher levels of anti-Asian prejudice (Kohatsu et al., 2007) may be more resistant to developing their racial identity, because they see such an exercise as disconnected from their presenting problem and irrelevant to their current social experiences. Thus, applying Helms's (1995b) racial identity model to specific counseling situations involving Asian clients will help the counselor to better understand how the larger sociopolitical environment has affected an Asian client and its effects on the actual counseling process.
Clearly, racial identity plays an important role in how individuals perceive Asian Americans. Facilitating racial identity awareness among counselors seems to be an important step in helping to provide culturally sensitive counseling services for Asian Americans, especially because the more sophisticated statuses of racial identity appear to be correlated with less anti-Asian prejudice (Day- Vines et al., 2007; Watt, Robinson, & Lupton-Smith, 2002). Facilitating development of the Integrative Awareness status in particular may reduce bias that counselors may have toward Asian American clients. That is, by recognizing Asian Americans as a racially oppressed group, counselors are better able to guide their clients without being influenced by stereotypes that are often ascribed to Asians (i.e., Asians do not experience racial discrimination). Likewise, counselors can use racial identity theory by helping the client to develop a more mature racial identity, resulting in the development of stronger coping mechanisms, less internalization of racial stereotypes, and an overall healthier racial identity.
To promote a mature racial identity in clients, counselors need to be mindful of the ascribed social power they have in the counselor-client relationship. That is, because counselors are placed in a position of authority over the client, the need for heightened awareness of racial prejudice and stereotypes on their part is more critical. Helms's (1990; Helms & Cook, 1999; Richardson & Helms, 1994) racial identity interaction model defined three basic types of relationships in counseling: progressive (i.e., the counselor operates from a more sophisticated racial identity status and is better able to assist the client in his or her development of a racial identity), regressive (i.e., the client is operating from a more mature racial status than the counselor, and racial issues may be less explored in therapy because of conflicts), and parallel (i.e., both the counselor and the client process racial issues similarly). The applications of Helms's (1995b) interaction model are unlimited and can be very beneficial for working with Asian clients. That is, understanding the particular racial identity status that an Asian client may be operating from in conjunction with the therapist's racial identity status will enable the therapist to adjust counseling to facilitate greater awareness of racism or racial issues in the client.
Limitations and Future Directions
One limitation of the present study was that although the participants were drawn from a culturally diverse West Coast university, the overall sample was nonetheless predominantly composed of Latinos. Hence, the limited representation of racial groups other than Latinos in the sample reduces the generalizability of the results to these specific socioracial groups. However, the preliminary analyses in this study showed no significant differences between Latinos and the remaining sample on the important variables, which may provide some basis to interpret differences across Latinos and non-Latinos in general. Nonetheless, caution is warranted in interpreting these findings in terms of generalizing to specific racial groups. Clearly, additional research is needed with adequate representation of racial groups to comprehensively assess anti-Asian prejudice among these racial groups.
A second limitation was that the SAAAS was designed to focus on competence and sociability on an interpersonal (micro) level, which may conflict with the other instruments used in this study, the CoBRAS and the POCRIAS, which are focused more on a larger, societal (macro) level. Alternatively, Ho and Jackson's Attitudes Toward Asian Americans scale (as cited in Lin et al., 2005) is an instrument that potentially examines the same negative attitudes toward Asian Americans but with a more societal (macro) focus. Future studies may want to replicate the present study using this scale.
Future work may also want to address how racial identity statuses are related to specific factors of interracial prejudice and discrimination among people of color. In particular, the denigrating attitudes that typify the Resistance status have, up to this point, shown to be directed only to Whites (Helms, 1990, 1995b). However, the present findings suggest that these negative attitudes may also apply to other out-groups, particularly, Asian Americans. Although only the endorsement of stereotypes toward Asian Americans was examined in this study, future work should examine what type of emotions, actual discriminatory behaviors, and racial identity statuses accompany these stereotypes among various socioracial groups in interacting with Asian Americans.
Alvarez, A., & Helms, J. (2001). Racial identity and reflected appraisals as influences on Asian Americans' racial adjustment. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 7, 217-231.
American Psychological Association. (1997). Can - or should- America be color-blind? Psychological research reveals fallacies in a colorblind response to racism [Brochure]. Washington DC: Author.
Arredondo, P. (1999). Multicultural counseling competencies as tools to address oppression and racism. Journal of Counseling & Development, 77, 102-108.
Bonilla-Silva, E. (2003). Racism without racists. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield.
Burkard, A. W., & Knox, S. (2004). Effect of therapist color-blindness on empathy and attributions in cross-cultural counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 51, 387-397.
Carter, R. T. (1995). The influence of race and racial identity in psychotherapy. New York, NY: Wiley.
Chen, S., Sullivan, N. Y, Lu, Y E., & Shibusawa, T. (2003). Asian Americans and mental health services: A study of utilization patterns in the 1 990s. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 12, 19-42.
Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Quantitative Methods in Psychology, 112, 155-159.
Cowan, G. (2005). Interracial interactions at racially diverse university campuses. The Journal of Social Psychology, 145, 49-63.
Cross, W. E., Jr. (1995). The psychology of nigrescence: Revising the Cross model. In J. G. Ponterotto, J. M. Casas, L. A. Suzuki, & C. M. Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural counseling (pp. 93-122). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Das, A. K(1995). Rethinking multicultural counseling: Implications for counselor education. Journal of Counseling & Development, 74, 45-52.
Day- Vines, N. L., Wood, S. M., Grothaus, T., Craigen, L., Holman, A., Dotson-Blake, K., & Douglass, M. J. (2007). Broaching the subjects of race, ethnicity, and culture during the counseling process. Journal of Counseling & Development, 85, 401-409.
Delucchi, M., & Do, H. D. (1996). The model minority myth and perceptions of Asian-Americans as victims of racial harassment. College Student Journal, 30, 411-414.
Fiske, S. T, Cuddy, A. J., Glick, P., & Xu, J. (2002). A model of (often mixed) stereotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follows from perceived status and competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 878-902.
Furnham, A., & Procter, E. (1989). Belief in a just world: Review and critique of the individual difference literature. British Journal of Social Psychology, 28, 365-384.
Gim, R. H., Atkinson, D. R., & Kim, S. J. (1991). Asian American acculturation, counselor ethnicity and cultural sensitivity, and ratings of counselors. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38, 57-62.
Gloria, A. M., & Ho, T. A. (2003). Environmental, social, and psychological experiences of Asian American undergraduates: Examining issues of academic persistence. Journal of Counseling & Development, 81, 93-106.
Gushue, V G. (2004). Race, color-blind racial attitudes, and judgments about mental health: A shifting standards perspective. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 51, 398-407.
Helms, J. E. (1990). An overview of Black racial identity theory. In J. E. Helms (Ed.), Black and White racial identity: Theory, research and practice (pp. 9-32). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Helms, J. E. (1995a). The People of Color (POC) Racial Identity Attitude Scale. Unpublished manuscript, University of Maryland, College Park.
Helms, J. E. (1 995b). An update of Helms' White and people of color racial identity development models. In J. G. Ponterotto, J. M. Casas, L. A. Suzuki, & C. M. Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural counseling (pp. 181-198). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Helms, J. E., & Cook, D. A. (1999). Using race and culture in counseling and psychotherapy: Theory and process. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Kim, B. S. K., Liang, C. T. H., & Li, L. C. (2003). Counselor ethnicity, counselor nonverbal behavior, and session outcome with Asian American clients: Initial findings. Journal of Counseling & Development, 81, 202-207.
Kohatsu, E. L. (1992). The effects of racial identity and acculturation on anxiety, assertiveness, and ascribed identity among Asian American college students (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Maryland, College Park.
Kohatsu, E. L., Dulay, M., Lam, C, Concepciˇn, W, Perez, P., Lopez, C, & Euler, J. (2000). Using racial identity theory to explore racial mistrust and interracial contact among Asian Americans. Journal of Counseling & Development, 78, 334-342.
Kohatsu, E. L., Victoria, R., Lau, ?., Vong, S., Arredondo, A., Barquero, K., . . . Lessing, J. (2005, August). Analyzing anti-Asian hate: Understanding aversive racism using racial identity theory. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
Kohatsu, E. L., Vong, S., Salazar, A., Flores, M., Mizukami, S., Wong, G., & Martinez, N. (2007, August). Exploring anti-Asian prejudice using a racial identity and color-blindness framework. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA.
Lee, R. M. (2003). Do ethnic identity and other-group orientation protect against discrimination for Asian Americans? Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50, 133-141.
Lee, S. (1996). Unraveling the model minority. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Lin, M. H., Kwan, V S. Y, Cheung, A., & Fiske, S. T. (2005). Stereotype Content Model explains prejudice for an envied outgroup: Scale of Anti- Asian American Stereotypes. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 34-^7. doi:10.1 177/0146167204271320
Lipkus, I. (1991). The construction and preliminary validation of a Global Belief in a Just World Scale and the exploratory analysis of the Multidimensional Belief in a Just World Scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 12, 1171-1178.
Mack, D. E., Tucker, T. W, Archuleta, R., DeGroot, G., Hernandez, A. A., & Cha, S. O. (1997). Interethnic relations on campus: Can't we all get along? Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 25, 256-268.
McConahay, J. (1986). Modem racism, ambivalence, and the Modem Racism Scale. In J. F. Dovidio & S. L. Gaertner (Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination, andracism(pp. 91-125). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Miville, M., & Helms, J. E. (1996, August). Exploring relationships of cultural, gender, and personal identity among Latinos and Latinas. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Neville, H. A., Coleman, M. N., Falconer, J. W, & Holmes, D. (2005). Color-blind racial ideology and psychological false consciousness among African Americans. Journal of Black Psychology, 31, 27-45.
Neville, H. A., Lilly, R L, Duran, G, Lee, R M., & Browne, L. (2000). Construction and initial validation of the Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS). Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47, 59-70.
Neville, H. A., Spanierman, L. B., & Doan, B. T. (2006). Exploring the associations between color-blind racial ideologies and multicultural counseling competencies. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 12, 275-290.
Neville, H. A., Worthington, R. L., & Spanierman, L. B. (2001). Race, power, and multicultural counseling psychology: Understanding White privilege and color-blind racial attitudes. In J. G. Ponterotto, J. M. Casas, L. A. Suzuki, & C. M. Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural counseling (2nd ed., pp. 257-288). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Niemann, Y (200 1 ). Stereotypes about Chicanas and ChÝcanos: Implications for counseling. The Counseling Psychologist, 29, 55-90.
Ponterotto, J. G. (1 991). The nature of prejudice revisited: Implications for counseling intervention. Journal of Counseling & Development, 70, 216-224.
Ponterotto, J. G, Burkard, A., Rieger, B., & Grieger, I. (1995). Development and initial validation of the Quick Discrimination Index (QDI). Educational and Psychological Measurement, 55, 1016-1031.
Pope, R. (2000). The relationship between psychosocial development and racial identity of college students of color. Journal of College Student Development, 41, 302-312.
Reynolds, W. (1982). Development of reliable and valid short forms of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38, 119-125.
Richardson, T. Q., & Helms, J. E. (1994). The relationship of the racial identity attitudes of Black men to perceptions of parallel counseling dyads. Journal of Counseling & Development, 73, 172-177.
Rosenbloom, S. R., & Way, N. (2004). Experiences of discrimination among African American, Asian American, and Latino adolescents in an urban high school. Youth & Society, 35, 420-45 1 .
Sax, L. J., Hurtado, S., Lindholm, J. ?., Astin, A. W, Korn, W. S., & Mahoney, K. M. (2004). The American freshman: National norms for fall 2004. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, University of California-Los Angeles.
Spanierman, L. B., Poteat, V P., Wang, Y. E, & Oh, E. (2008). Psychosocial costs of racism to White counselors: Predicting various dimensions of multicultural counseling competence. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 55, 75-88.
Sue, D. W, & Sue, D. (2003). Counseling the culturally different: Theory and practice (4th ed.). New York, NY: Wiley.
Takaki, R. (1998). Strangers from a different shore: A history of Asian Americans. New York, NY: Back Bay.
Talbot, D. M. (1999). Personal narrative of an Asian American's experience with racism. Journal of Counseling & Development, 77, 42-44.
Watt, S. K., Robinson, T. L., & Lupton-Smith, H. (2002). Building ego and racial identity: Preliminary perspectives on counselorsin-training. Journal of Counseling & Development, 80, 94-100.
Wong, E, & Haglin, R. (2006). The "model minority": Bane or blessing for Asian Americans? Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 34, 38-49.
Zhang, N., & Dixon, D. (2001). Multiculturally responsive counseling: Effects of Asian students' ratings of counselors. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 29, 253-262.
Eric L. Kohatsu and Michelle Flores, Department of Psychology, California State University-Los Angeles; Rodolfo Victoria, Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Columbia University; Andrew Lau, Department of Information Studies, University of California-Los Angeles; Andrea Salazar, Department of Counseling Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Michelle Flores is now at Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.The authors thank the undergraduate and graduate students in the Center for Cross-Cultural Research, California State University-Los Angeles, for their assistance. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Eric L. Kohatsu, Department of Psychology, California State University-Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90032-8227 (e-mail: email@example.com).
ę 201 1 by the American Counseling Association. All rights reserved.