Model Minority? Ethnic Identity and Perception of Asian American Stereotypes in Chinese American Children

Cai, Elizabeth [Browse]
Senior thesis
48 pages


Fiske, Susan [Browse]
Levy Paluck, Elizabeth [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year
Restrictions note
Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Summary note
Over the past five decades, the Asian American population has grown significantly, and strong stereotypes about Asian Americans have emerged. They are seen as the “model minority”— highly competent, yet threatening because they are still a minority outgroup. Do Chinese American children, with their dual identities of Chinese and American, perceive Asian Americans in the same way? Chinese American children face unique challenges growing up in the US. They experience conflict between identifying with the majority national group (White Americans) and identifying with their cultural heritage, an ethnic minority group (Asian Americans). This study compared two groups of Chinese American children aged 8-10 years old: second-generation Chinese Americans (parents are Chinese immigrants) and Chinese adoptees (parents are White American). It examined how four qualities related to each other: Chinese ethnic identity, American identity, attitudes toward Asian Americans, and attitudes toward White Americans. The two groups exhibited similar attitudes toward Asian Americans and White Americans; neither was significantly correlated with Chinese or American identity. Both groups exhibited high American identity. The adoptees showed significantly higher Chinese identity and significantly higher American identity. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Supplementary Information