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Asian American Voter Engagement

Mobilization, Organization, and “Doing Politics” in 2020

Asian Americans are a frequently overlooked segment of American voters. In 2020, Asian Americans experienced a sharp uptick in incidents of racial discrimination as a result of harmful racialized rhetoric from the Trump Administration about the COVID-19 pandemic. How do these experiences affect how Asian Americans will vote this fall? What issues do Asian Americans care about? As the national election looms large, Drs. Melissa Borja, Russell Jeung, OiYan Poon, and Janelle Wong discuss how Asian Americans are affected by current events, and how Asian Americans are mobilizing, organizing, and building coalitions in preparation for November 2020.


Dr. Melissa Borja, Assistant Professor in the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan

Dr. Russell Jeung, Professor of Asian-American Studies at San Francisco State University

Dr. OiYan Poon, Program Officer at The Spencer Foundation; Affiliated Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies at University of Chicago at Illinois; Faculty Affiliate of Higher Education Leadership Program at Colorado State University

Dr. Janelle Wong, Professor of American Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Maryland

Resources mentioned in this video:

Stop AAPI Hate

Yale DOJ announcement

Poon et al 2019 Harvard Ed Review article

The WeChat project

Data Bits - an AAPI Data Blog

Andrew Yang Isn’t The Only Asian American Running for President (LA Times)

Affirmative Action Syllabus

Vote Yes on Prop 16


9:34 - Big picture - What role do Asian Americans play in American electoral politics?
11:00 - What issues do Asian Americans care about?
12:30 - Stop AAPI Hate - Connecting Anti-Asian discrimination during Covid to the 2020 Election
14:30 - Why aren't Asian Americans heavily recruited by politicians?
16:45 - Misunderstandings and assumptions about Asian Americans
19:30 - What does it mean to be racially conscious?
24:00 - Asian American political ideology and pan-ethnic Asian American identity
32:35 - Asian Americans "doing politics"
40:00 - Asian American and Black American solidarity
45:00 - Mobilizing a diverse Asian American community
49:20 - Kamala Harris, Asian American voter engagement, and the politics of today