Strategic Communication Responses to Racial Discrimination (SCRRD): A Mixed-Method Co-cultural Approach to the Case of Asian Americans

Jungmi Jun

Major Professor: Carl Botan, PhD, Department of Communication

Committee Members: Xiaomei Cai, Mark Hopson, Earle Reybold

Exploratory Hall (formerly Science and Tech II), Room 230
August 05, 2011, 11:00 AM to 07:30 AM


The purposes of the present study are: 1) to explore experiences of Asian Americans as a marginalized group in society and their communication strategies when they deal with racially discriminatory messages (RDM) and situations; 2) to conceptualize racial identities and cultural values as antecedents of co-cultural communication behaviors among racial minorities; 3) to diversify methodological approaches of co-cultural theory by developing a quantitative scale, which will be called the Strategic Communication Reponses to Racial Discrimination (SCRRD) scale, in order to measure existing co-cultural factors as well as two additional factors suggested in this present study, identities and cultural values. In addition, mixed methods research approaches were taken in the procedure of data analysis in order to complement quantitative and qualitative method’s strengths and weaknesses. An online survey was administered to people who identify themselves as Asian and reside in the US. Primary findings are: First, Asian Americans live with diverse RDMs that were thematized as (a) racial slur, (b) playground teasing, (c) Asians will never be and will never know Americans, (d) sexualizing Asian male/female, (e) bamboo ceiling or pigeon holding, (f) Asians are all the same, (g) forbidden land, (h) Asians are simply gross. Second, RDMs targeting Asian Americans are still overtly, directly, and publicly displayed in verbal and nonverbal forms in contemporary society. Third, overall, Asian Americans tend to utilize nonassertive SCRRD than assertive or aggressive. Fourth, in selecting nonassertive SCRRD various internal and environmental factors influence including the emotion of humiliation and shock, a lack of knowledge of appropriate responses, peer pressure not to confront, and strategic intentions to gather more information about the situation and to protect themselves from further risks.