Emerging Adult East Asian Women Witnessing Racism Events: To Act or Not to Act

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Thai, Christina Jean
Hill, Clara E
Racial discrimination acts continue to occur and impact the lives of people of color. One mechanism that may help in halting discriminatory behavior is bystander intervention. While there have been studies on bystander intervention during discriminatory events, there is little research on how other people of color intervene during these events. This present study focuses on bystander interventions by emerging adult East Asian American women. As Asian Americans, they are often perceived as more privileged than other people of color and as women they been socialized to “keep their head down.” This present study utilized a qualitative methodology to investigate how they determine whether or not to intervene when they witnessed racism events. Our results showed that participants had three response types: minimized response/did not react, nonaggressive challenged perpetrator, and supported the target. Some of our most interesting findings were that participants voiced that they were motivated to help because of their relationship with the target and/or perpetrator and were inhibited by their fear of retaliation, being unsure of how to respond, and difficulty determining if an event was racist.