When Mike Park first heard about the recent shootings in Atlanta, he felt angry and afraid. But almost immediately, he had another thought.
“We can’t just sit back,” he said. “We can’t sit in our little enclave anymore.”
Born in South Carolina to Korean immigrants, Mr. Park grew up wanting to escape his Asian identity. He resented having to be the one student to speak at Asian-Pacific day and felt embarrassed when his friends did not want to eat dinner at his house because of the unfamiliar pickled radishes and cabbage in his refrigerator.
Now 42, Mr. Park embraces both his Korean heritage and an Asian-American identity he shares with others of his generation. The Atlanta shootings that left eight dead, six of them women of Asian descent, made him feel an even stronger sense of solidarity, especially after a surge in bias incidents against Asians nationwide.
“I do think this horrible crime has brought people together,” said Mr. Park, who works as an insurance agent in Duluth, Ga., an Atlanta suburb that is a quarter Asian. “It really is an awakening.”
the fastest-growing group in the American electorate.
But as a political force, Asian-Americans are still taking shape. With a relatively short history of voting, they differ from demographic groups whose families have built party loyalties and voting tendencies over generations. Most of their families arrived after 1965, when the United States opened its doors more widely to people in Asia. There are vast class divisions, too; the income gap between the rich and the poor is greatest among Asian-Americans.
a majority voted for George Bush in 1992, Mr. Ramakrishnan said. Today, a majority of Asians vote for Democrats, but that masks deep differences by subgroup. Vietnamese-Americans, for example, lean more toward Republicans, and Indian-Americans lean strongly toward Democrats.