Negotiating National Identity for Asian Americans During COVID-19

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2023

Authors

Nguyen, Katie

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Abstract

The Asian American identity continually shifts in the United States as stereotypes and immigration policies continually reshaped how this community was viewed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, fearmongering by public figures amplified attacks on Asians as the source of the virus. More precisely, the racism generated by the COVID-19 pandemic increasingly targets the Asian American community through verbal and physical attacks in both online and real-life spaces. Due to this anti-Asian sentiment, there are more discussions of racial-ethnic identity in sociology and psychology, yet there is a lack of research examining the American national identity among Asian Americans. The purpose of this thesis is to understand how Asian Americans view their roles in the United States. A narrative literature review was conducted using existing data on responses to racist experiences before and during the COVID pandemic. With self-verification theory, a social theory that proposes that people only seek out interactions with others who confirm their own self views, as a tool, Asian Americans and others who have witnessed this racial group’s oppression can better understand the complexities of the American national identity. Results for this literature review reveal that the varying responses to COVID-19-related racism bring national identity into the conversation for Asian Americans. The results of this study will help both Asian Americans and psychology researchers better understand the Asian American identity and of what it is comprised.

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