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Ethnographic Approach to Research

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COV-19 is a disease which affects nearly everyone in the world and has particularly affected asians negatively within the United States. In March of 2020, I did research on whether asians are more likely to fight for their rights after they have been discriminated against within the United States due to the COV-19 outbreak. I found that most asians during this outbreak are more likely to fight for their rights after facing the shared discrimination they experienced after the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

For my research, I made a Google Form with questions that I asked the participants. My participants are of an asian ethnicity from a private facebook group. For my research, I asked 2 females and 2 males between the ages of 18 and 40. The questions that were asked involved their background and questions relating to their experience with discrimination during the COV-19 pandemic such as:here do you stand in fighting for asian activists goals before the COV-19 pandemic and during the COV-19 pandemic? Has anyone been discriminated against due to COV-19?

In this paper, I will discuss my research along with the articles that we read to discuss the connection between my research and the themes that we encountered in class. The main concepts that I will talk about are institutionalized racism, model minority stereotypes, and group identity shared among all asians. The articles that I will use to relate to my research will be articles that we read in class called ‚ÄčBehind the Model-Minority Stereotype: Voices of High- and Low-Achieving Asian American, Dunham: Decolonizing Anthropology Through African American Dance Pedagogy. ‚Äč‚Äú‚ÄčInstitutional Racism, Numbers Management, and Zero-Tolerance Policing in New York City.


One of the main articles from the presentation used to support my research about COV-19- related racism against Asians is Institutional Racism, Numbers Management, and Zero-Tolerance Policing in New York City by Avram Bornstein. This article talks about the method of policing found in New York City. The data is drawn from public archives, from observations of police and police-brutality reformers in New York City for 25 years, and from 14 years of participation as an instructor in a 15-week, 45-h, seminar-style course about racism and policing with police officers in New York City: this ultimately means interviews with well over 600 officers, spread over 30 classes, and reading thousands of papers by these officers on the topic.

Although racial proÔÄĀling and prejudice are disavowed publically by most Americans and American law enforcement in the 21st century, research on implicit racial bias argues that people in the United States are still affected by these long-standing symbolic associations. The author argues that the combined techniques of numbers management paired with zero-tolerance policing in New York City should be characterized as a form of institutional racism. Additionally, the orders from the top have been for ofÔÄĀcers to have ‚Äúproductive numbers,‚ÄĚ which has meant writing summonses and making arrests in higher crime neighborhoods that, due to a long history of segregation.

My research has indicated that asians have experienced an increased degree of race-based discrimination following the COV-19 outbreak.Even through discrimination on asians for COV-19 is protrayed through the individual level; this discrimination aganist asians occuring at an individual level likely originates from the government’s institutional racist reponses toward this crisis by Trump calling it a chinese virus. As one of my subjects said regarding the COV-19,

‚ÄúThe constant media cycle has reinforced the idea that this strain of coronavirus has come from Wuhan in China, this is detrimental because there‚Äôs already a pronounced negative impression that all Chinese people eat exotic things that are uncommon in the United States. People are scared because this virus is deadly and they need a scapegoat.‚ÄĚ Another person states, ‚ÄúThat before the Covid-19 outbreak, he was racially discriminated against in the form of being fetishized and expected to act as a model minority. We also see that Trump‚Äôs administration’s response to the COV-19 virus by calling it a chinese virus often insinuate that the pandemic spread was due to chinese people.‚ÄĚ

With that in mind, there are 2 other readings that support the theme of my research :

Behind the Model-Minority Stereotype: Voices of H‚Äč igh- and Low-Achieving Asian American and Dunham: Decolonizing Anthropology Through African American Dance Pedagogy. ‚ÄčThe journal‚ÄčModel-Minority Stereotype: Voices of ‚ÄčHigh- and Low-Achieving Asian American ‚Äčexplores the model-minority myth and the relationship between Asian American student‚Äôs identities and perceptions regarding attitudes toward academic achievement. By doing this, the author portrays the variety of Asian-American student‚Äôs attitudes regarding academics and the complexity of Asian-American achievements. It is important to understand that individuality that exists among these students. The author article, by Dancer Katherine Dunham, designed an African American pedagogy through dance. Dunham‚Äôs style of dance focuses on African American diaspora. She dives deep into dance epistemologies from decades ago in order to recover and teach others about the history of racism and shared racial identity. This shared racism identity is now being shared among asians due to COV-19.

The way ‚ÄčBehind the Model-Minority Stereotype: Voices of ‚ÄčHigh- and Low-Achieving Asian American‚Äč relates to my research is that it explores the common themes which is that asians all have a different identity and should not be categorized through the use of stereotypes. One of the participants told us that there was a person who said this to him, ‚Äú‚Äčyour people are the reason for coronavirus.‚ÄĚ This represents a stereotype that is commonly held about chinese people that is best stated by another participant; ‚Äúpronounced a negative impression that all Chinese people eat exotic things that are uncommon in the United States.‚ÄĚ Another participant said that Asians are expected to be a model minority in which they are competing with other white Americans. In fact, many of my participants are those who have different political views as well as demographics and education, which further challenges the idea of asians as a monolith.

The way ‚ÄčDunham: Decolonizing Anthropology Through African American Dance Pedagogy ‚Äčrelates to my research is that the key concept of shared race group identity. Just like Africans in Dunham had faced racism and discrimination from Europeans or United States; asians during this pandemic have also faced discrimination within the United States because of this pandemic. This discrimination caused by the pandemic ultimately caused asians to be more understanding of each other during the pandemic since most of them have the shared experienced of racial discrimination.

All of my subjects have said that since COVID-19 has spread, their friends and themselves that are also Asian have been more afraid to go out in public alone. All of them believed those who are discriminating against asians are people who have certain notions or stereotypes about asians such as eating exotic food, being model minority and ultimately being the cause for coronavirus. All of them have stated they are more willing to fight for asians rights

due to the racial discrimination they have faced from the pandemic. Examples of racial discrimination that are uttered by Dylan “that there have been a lot of recorded incidents seen on social media where Asians have been blatantly harassed via verbal insults, and actions such as kicking and spitting. “

All of the stereotypes about asians are also another reason why asians have a shared identity. This is because everyone who is asian is judged by others who have a shared perception of what asians do and are expected to do. This belief that asians know what others have about them is what gives them a shared identity and is one of the reasons why they will fight for their rights because they have the ability to understand others.


Jacelyn d. Harden‚Äôs ethnographic approach to Japanese people’s interactions with Africans allows the readers to understand the subject‚Äôs culture and the reason why they do this. This approach tells us why Japanese people act this way in certain situations and their subjects’ responses as well as beliefs or ideas about that race or raciology. The main fault of a statistics-based approach is that it tells us what they are doing and how many are doing the act of racism but doesn‚Äôt address the root causes or reasons. The advantage of an ethnographic approach is that we could have readers emphasize with the author thus persuading more people and learning more about others. In Harden‚Äôs research, it also served to tell us why Africans often have negative perceptions of Japanese people due to the culture from their perspective instead of a researcher with a biased view.

Another author who argues for an ethnographic approach is John Hartigan One of the

things that Hartigan says that it offers a view of convention and dynamics that guide the interpretive ways we engage with race to suggest more effective means of understanding how and why it matters. Race is in everyday life and involves personal interpretations. Culture provides the means we rely on for determining what is good or bad interpretation and this often shapes our perception of those facts and the ways they are produced. In an ethnographic based approach this means that instead of reading about something to learn or to retain facts; we are hearing other people’s stories and changing our interpretations and perceptions based on what we find from what they are telling us. This interpretation and people’s stories are not the same as there are different things in life that might affect the data such as culture. This brings us closer to our research because people’s views about asians culture is that we are viewed as people eating exotic food and being model minorities.


One of the limitations experienced was the fact that I had to conduct my interviews online. The main disadvantage was that the Cov-19 virus posed a challenge in interviewing the subjects or finding participants. One of the things that made this experiment on the internet ineffective was the fact that the subjects I am talking to might not be sharing their real information and that they could say anything they want. However, it is important to note that this could also be the case with in-person interviews. Since my experiment is on the internet; I did not have the ability to observe my subjects for an event but am forced to take their words used during the interview at face value, while they might be biased. Another disadvantage would be that my subjects might have biased views that might be incorrect and which could skew my data.

Anotherdrawback is that this project is very time-consuming which limited the amount of

subjects I could have for my research. This means that it is not effective at determining a correlation between the two things as accurately as a survey or data collected from researchers like anthropologists. One of the strengths of the ethnographic approach is the fact that insteading of stating details from a researcher who has biases and different ideas about race we hear from the people themselves who experienced racism as well as what they believe about the situations. The other advantage of this is that we are able to find out why and how they act within this situation. The ethnographic approach is also able to give us the subject’s background as well as the ability to tell us about the different situations. Another advantage to my experiment would be that doing this on this internet will be faster than going to individuals and actually interviewing them face to face. There is another advantage for doing it on the internet; one advantage would be that it is easier to hear people from different backgrounds in comparison to interviews since most of the interviews could only occur in my vicinity.

As John Hartigan has shown; doing an ethnography has its advantage within the United States. This is because the United States is a diverse place with different backgrounds and cultures and views on race. There are also a lot of racist views within the United States that make the United States a perfect place for ethnographic approaches; since each ethnographic approach could give different views at different angles to prove a single point.

One of the engaging parts and exciting parts of the research was interviewing the participants. Listening to their stories is what made the work so interesting as one might put it. The reason why this is interesting and exciting was because this research taught us how to listen to people’s stories and how they relate to our research that we are doing. Instead of reading about research and their findings; we get to do an experiment based on what we learned in class.

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