(WP-06-F99) "The Contested Meanings of ‘Asian American’"
Nazli Kibria




This article explores the contested meanings of the "Asian American" concept in the US today. Since its emergence in the late 1960s, pan-Asian groups and organizations in the US have defined "Asian American" as a collectivity bound by shared racial interests. Contemporary conditions have sharpened and highlighted the inherent contradictions and ambiguities of this conception of "Asian American" as a racial interest group. Especially important have been the shifts in the composition of the Asian American population that followed the immigration reforms of 1965. Contestations of "Asian American" also reflect larger uncertainties about the meaning of race in the US today, in particular, the nature of racial boundaries and racial disadvantage.