Glossary: Asian American


Asian American is a catch-all phrase that covers Americans whose origins are East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), South Asian (mostly Indian, and to a lesser extent Pakistani and Bangladeshi), South-East Asian (Vietnamese and Philipino, and to a lesser extent Thai, Malaysians, Indonesian, Cambodian and Laotian). The idealized definition, would simply be all Americans of Asian origin.

However (and rather interestingly), West Asians (Turkish, Persian and Arabic-speaking peoples), are not typically included in this group, in popular usage. (Perhaps it's not that catch-all in the end?)

The phrase Asian American enjoys preferred use by the US multicultural marketing industry, which tends to use it to separate and simplify the two main multicultural markets thus: Hispanic and Asian American. In Canada, where the Hispanic market is still relatively small, and where familiarity with the disparities between the various Asian ethnicities is high, there is no such grouping; the closest would be the term visible minority.

Some famous Asian Americans (ethnic origin in parentheses) are: Governor Bobby Jindal (Indian), Yahoo founder Jerry Yang (Chinese), NBC news anchor Connie Chung (Chinese), Dr. Deepak Chopra (Indian).

Deepak Chopra image, via
Jerry Yang image, via

Article: Creative Commons License 2008 Gavin Barrett
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Canada License.

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