Publication Date

April 2015

Advisor(s)

Ashraf Rushdy

Major

African American Studies

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis looks at the concept of linked fate, a term coined by Michael Dawson in 1994 to describe the relationship between personal political interests and racial group political interests. I argue that while the term is meant to demarcate a rational process by which people make a judgment about the efficiency of using race as a proxy for individual political decisions, it often leads to assumptions about in- group loyalty (i.e. blacks as a "captured constituency"). This leads to unique representational problems for Asian Americans. By demonstrating low levels of perceived linked fate, stereotypes that cast them as politically docile are reinforced. Using interviews from Asian American civic leaders, secondary source literature on Asian American political mobilization, and coverage of recent news stories, this thesis argues that linked fate is never completely established in any community but historical legacies and contemporary realities make it dependably efficient for African Americans, while different, unique, historical and sociological conditions make the use of linked fate much more fraught in Asian American communities.

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