Over the past week, I read two opinion articles on Politico about why Asian-Americans should vote for Obama or Romney by Rep. Judy Chu and Lanhee Chen (Romney policy director), respectively. I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or frustrated that either of them were reaching out to me as part of some monolithic bloc. As numerous others already know, the Asian-American bloc is not aptly named. The differences among the various Asian countries are probably even more so than here in America by religion, ethnicity, income, standard of living, and a host of other characteristics. Continue reading
Sometimes I check the box Asian, but it doesn’t really describe how I feel. Neither does Pacific Islander. I may not always imbue it, but I am immensely proud when a Filipino/-American achieves something in politics. Steve Austria is the first first-generation Filipino to be elected to the US House, a republican from Ohio. But I am hoping for even more. With a record number of Asian-Americans running and being elected, the country is starting to realize that there really isn’t such a thing as ‘winning’ the Asian-American vote. If you disaggregate the group, you’ll be surprised (most likely) that there are stark differences in various ethnic groups. As stated in the NPR article “More Asian-Americans Seeking Higher Political Office“,
Among those Asian-American who are planning to vote, most favor President Obama. But, there are sharp variations within this incredibly diverse group.
Almost 70 percent of Indian-Americans support Obama. Only about 30 percent of Filipinos do, however, and a third of Asian-Americans overall are undecided.
I know that race/ethnicity shouldn’t be so dominant when choosing the right candidate. As someone who opposes affirmative action (in the most general sense), I still believe that race/ethnicity is important to voters, especially for me. There is something great when you can vote for a person who knows what it was like and will legislate/govern with that in mind, when your candidate knows what it was like to experience racism (both subtle and overt), and how your own culture will guide how you legislate/govern in office. I rarely talk about the role of being Filipino in terms of politics, but it does play a role. I urge all candidates to actually get to know their constituents, instead of just pandering to them.
- Asian Americans Undecided Between Obama, Romney (voanews.com)
- More Asian Americans Seeking Higher Political Office (wnyc.org)
- More Asian-Americans Seeking Higher Political Office (npr.org)
- Study: 1 in 3 Asian-American Voters Is Undecided (newamericamedia.org)
- The crucial Asian American vote (universityofcalifornia.edu)
- Fil-Ams gear up for 2012 election (thelasvegasorientexpress.wordpress.com)