MPRC Seminar: Hyper-Selectivity and Asian Racial Mobility
About the Presentation
Immigrants and their children have changed the landscape of the United States from a largely Black-White society to one composed of diverse ethnoracial groups. Not only have immigrants made the U.S. more racially diverse, but immigrants themselves are a diverse lot with respect to selectivity, including hyper- and hypo-selectivity. In this paper, we address two central research questions. First, how does hyper-selectivity affect second-generation educational outcomes? Second, how does hyper-selectivity of immigrant groups change the social construction of race? We address these questions by organizing our paper into four parts. First, drawing on Chinese immigrants as an illustrative example, we show how the hyper-selectivity of contemporary Chinese immigrants has changed out-group perceptions of Chinese, thereby resulting in the racial mobility of Asians. Second, we raise the question of whether hyper-selectivity may operate in the same manner for non-Asian groups such as Cubans, Nigerians, and Armenians, who are racialized as Hispanic, Black, and White, respectively in the U.S. context. Third, we present findings of second-generation educational attainment of four hyper-selected groups (Chinese, Cubans, Nigerians, and Armenians), which reveal a clear second-generation advantage: each group is more likely to have achieved more education compared to the first-generation as well as their U.S. proximal hosts. Fourth, we show that while hyper-selectivity has changed the social construction of race for Asians, it has not done the same for other groups. Rather, Cubans and Nigerians are exceptions to Latinos and Blacks, while Armenians are absorbed as Whites.
About the Speaker
Van C. Tran is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. His primary research focuses on the incorporation of post-1965 immigrants and their children as well as its implications for the future of ethnoracial inequality in the United States. His other interests include neighborhood gentrification, urban inequality, and population health, with a focus on the Hispanic/Latino population and New York City neighborhoods. Some of his recent work also adopt a comparative approach to the study of immigrant integration in the United States, in Europe, and in China. He received his PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from Harvard University and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Tran is the 2017 recipient of the GSAS Faculty Mentoring Award from Columbia University in recognition of “excellence in mentoring PhD students during their graduate careers.”