Discrimination and political engagement: the role of education for six Asian American groups

The purpose of this thesis was to explore how discrimination impacted Asian Americans’ political engagement. Specifically, this thesis investigated 1) whether discrimination contributes to lower political engagement (i.e., participation in political activities, interest in politics, and discussions regarding politics) and 2) whether college education played a role in changing the influence of discrimination on political engagement amongst Asian Americans. Using the Critical Race Theory, this thesis examined nationally representative date from The National Asian American Survey (NAAS) 2008. The findings from the whole sample analysis showed that higher level of exposure to discrimination in fact made the Asian Americans more politically engaged (participation, interest, and discussion). However, each Asian ethnic group had its own unique predictors of political engagement, indicating the importance of disaggregating the Asians when analyzing their political behaviors. With regard to education, college education was consistently one of the most important factor for political engagement but did not interact with discrimination in influencing political engagement.