Civic Engagement of Asian American Student Leaders examines the civic lives of Asian American youth and analyzes their civic engagement through in-depth interviews with fifteen student leaders from a Tier One university in Southeast Texas. This book provides a counter-narrative to the portrayal of Asian Americans as apolitical and less interested in civic matters. Such depictions arise from the characterization of Asian Americans as model minority who mainly focus on economic success and are socially and economically integrated in American society. However, the stories of the student leaders, cultivated by Ma. Glenda Lopez Wui and Cameron S. White, illustrate that their challenging racialized experiences inspired their civic involvement.
Their civic engagement creates empowerment in terms of asserting their ethnic identity, imbibing leadership qualities and long-term commitment to civic engagement, and subverting stereotypes against Asian Americans. The book paints a more varied picture of Asian American youth civic engagement that is not entirely anchored in ethnic identity or non-political involvement, contrary to articulations of existing studies. Wui and White hope that the student leaders’ narratives shed better light on the civic commitments of Asian Americans to American society especially in these times when there is increased bias and racial prejudice in the current atmosphere and culture.
Ma. Glenda Lopez Wui is assistant professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ateneo de Manila University.
Cameron White, PhD, is an independent scholar.
Chapter 1: Why Asian American Youth Civic Engagement?
Chapter 2: Civic Engagement: Definition, Benefits, and Influences
Chapter 3: The Research Setting, Participants, and Methods
Chapter 4: “I know I created something; I change something for the better”:How and Why They Became Civically Engaged
Chapter 5: “The biggest impact that my parents had on me was the teachings of how to be a decent human being:” Influences of Family, School and Community on Civic Engagement
Chapter 6: “I could not do anything at all and go to school, make great scores, but that's not what I want to do”:Challenges of and Coping with the Demands of Civic Engagement
Chapter 7: “When people look at me and they see a small Asian girl, they don’t think,she is the president of the organization”:Impact of Being Asian American on Civic Engagement and Future Plans
Chapter 8: Civic Engagement as Empowerment: Discussion and Conclusion
Not since Ronald Takaki gave us a glimpse into a Different Mirror has a book spoken with clarity and consciousness about Asian American experiences as students and citizens in our schools and communities. Ma. Glenda Lopez Wui and Cameron S. White’s book is a much-needed voice of civic vision, values, and indeed virtues articulated through the lived stories of Asian Americans whose contributions to economic, social/cultural, political, and environmental issues have too often been marginalized in the telling of the American story past and present. Without a doubt, Civic Engagement of Asian American Student Leaders is a book that will illuminate our future understanding of the important impact of individual and collective Asian American contributions to the foundations of our local and global civic institutions.
This book is the best kind of investigation. It shows how an idea-seed flourished to produce a volume that shares knowledge and experiences about a population of which the general citizenry knows little. More than that, it discusses civic engagement, a topic that must urgently need our attention.