of 100 Announces Results of Landmark National
Survey on American Attitudes towards Chinese
Americans and Asian Americans
April 25, 2001
The Committee of 100 today announced the results
of the first of its kind survey on American attitudes
towards Chinese Americans and Asian Americans.
The study was conducted by Yankelovich Partners
in collaboration and consultation with The Marttila
Communications Group and the Anti-Defamation League.
Founded in 1989, the Committee of 100 is an organization
of prominent Chinese Americans with a two-fold
mission: encouraging the full participation of
Chinese Americans in U.S. society, and improving
relations between the U.S. and China.
- A significant minority, 25%, of Americans
indicated strong negative attitudes and stereotypes
towards Chinese Americans.
- 23% of Americans are uncomfortable voting for
an Asian American to be President of the United
States. This is in contrast to 15% compared with
an African American candidate, 14% compared with
a woman candidate and 11% compared with a Jewish
- 24% of Americans would not approve of inter-marriage
with an Asian American. This number is lower
than that compared to an African American (34%),
but higher than a Hispanic (21%) and a Jew (16%).
- 7% of Americans would not want to work for
an Asian American CEO. This is in contrast to
4% for an African American, 3% for a woman and
4% for a Jew.
"We found these findings startling," said
Henry Tang, Chairman of the Committee of 100. "Asian
Americans are not the 'model minority' with no
issues. The study shows that they face negative
stereotyping among a significant proportion of
this country and indicates a major bias that works
against equal opportunity and rights for Asian
Americans, and ultimately, a stronger, more harmonious
America for all."
The study was primarily designed to look at attitudes
towards Chinese Americans. However, a pilot analysis
indicated that most non-Asian Americans do not
differentiate between Chinese Americans and Asian
Americans generally, and stereotypes towards Chinese
Americans and Asian Americans are nearly identical.
At the same time, the study found the following
positive attitudes towards Chinese Americans:
- Strong family values - 91%
- Honesty as business people - 77%
- High value on education - 67%
Of note is the fact that two of these positive
stereotypes - family values and high value on education
- are widely held even among those that have the
most negative attitudes towards Chinese Americans.
The study found that negative attitudes toward
the country of China are reflected in the attitudes
of many Americans who were surveyed. They felt
that Chinese Americans:
This study is very important to the on-going work
of the Committee of 100. We call on Asian American
organizations and groups such as the ADL, which has
a tradition of promoting education and other programs
to counter prejudice and discrimination, to collaborate
in developing an action plan to deal with the situation," said
Henry Tang. "Our annual Committee of 100 conference,
which starts tomorrow, will have several panels devoted
to discussing the implications of the study and formulating
programs to promote better understanding and the
rights of Asian Americans."
- Are more loyal to China than the US - 32%
- Always like to be at the head of things - 32%
- Have too much influence in US high technology
- Passing secret information to the Chinese government
is a problem - 46%
"The results of this first comprehensive survey of American
attitudes towards Asian Americans is disturbing," said Abraham
H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. "It
tells us that prejudice continues to be a part of the American landscape.
At the same time, it provides us with a benchmark from which we can
Mr. Foxman added, "As Jews, we know all too well the pain of
prejudice and discrimination. Our experience has taught us that we
must fight together against the bigots, because hatred against one
group hurts us all and diminishes our unique democracy. The Anti-Defamation
League is proud to stand with the Committee of 100 in working towards
a bias free America and join with the Chinese-American community
in that effort."
Information and Methodology
The study was fielded March 1 - 14, 2001. Yankelovich Partners conducted
1,216 telephone interviews among a nationally representative sample of
Americans aged 18 and over. The survey was developed with input from 10
focus groups held in key national markets by Marttila Associates. Participants
were contacted via random digit dialing to ensure a representative sample.
In putting together the study, Yankelovich Partners created an index
to measure a variety of attitudes. This index will act as a benchmark
so that the Committee of 100 can measure changes over time. It is
similar to the index that was created by the ADL.
The main focus of this study was to understand Americans' attitudes
toward Chinese-Americans. Additionally, however, the research sought
to determine whether attitudes toward "Chinese Americans" were
largely the same or different than those toward "Asian Americans" generally.
For this purpose, 1,002 Americans were asked their opinions about
stereotypes of "Chinese Americans" and 214 were asked about
identically worded stereotypes of "Asian Americans." The
results were nearly identical - suggesting that prejudice against
Chinese Americans is a subset of broader prejudice against Asian
Americans. Whether this is also true of other Asian groups (Japanese,
Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, etc.) needs to be investigated separately.
The margin of error for the sample of 1,002 is ± 3.1%.
Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 "to
stop the defamation of the Jewish people and secure justice and
freedom for all citizens alike." Today ADL is one of the
nation's premier civil rights/human relations agencies fighting
anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defending America's democratic
ideals and protecting civil rights for all. ADL builds bridges
of understanding and respect among diverse racial, religious
and ethnic groups, carrying out its mission through a network
of 30 Regional Offices in the United States and abroad.
Partnersis a leading public opinion research and
marketing company; its Public Opinion Division is located in
Claremont, California. Yankelovich Custom Research is a part
of Harris Interactive.
Martilla Communications Groupis a strategic consulting
company that has significant experience studying the issue of
discrimination in American life.