Asian Americans are seen as different: As a follow-up to my earlier post on which ethnic groups are seen as most similar to one's own, I examined General Social Survey data for more than 1,200 Americans to see which ethnic group is perceived to be the least like one's own group. As before, the choices were white, Jewish, black, Hispanic, Asian, and all equally the same, or none is similar. It turns out that Asians are thought to be the most different by all groups except one:
Percent who say that they have least in common with Asians
American Indians 32.0
All Americans 34.0
The number shown above for Mexicans is the only one that is not in first place: 37.8% of Mexicans said they had least in common with Jews.
So why does everyone think Asian Americans are so different? You might answer that they are not Christians, but many are Christians (e.g., almost all Filipinos) and anyway Jews are not Christians. Asians look a little like American Indians and Mex-Ams, so looks don't seem to be what people are focusing on. Perhaps East Asian cultures seem alien. Other ideas?