Political Science Now

A Forgotten Minority? A Content Analysis of Asian Pacific Americans in Introductory American Government Textbooks

Introductory American Government textbooks pay little attention to Asian Pacific Americans.  Asian Pacific Americans, who comprise more than five% of the US population, are given an average of 1.13 pages (or 0.19 %) per textbook.

Moreover, the introductory textbooks do not fully cover individuals and events important to Asian Pacific Americans.  For example, four textbooks do not mention the internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II, one of the most flagrant violations of civil rights in US constitutional history.  Among the 24 textbooks which do mention the internment, only 12—just half—mention Japanese Americans’ redress, which materialized in 1988 by the passage of a law that acknowledged and apologized for past injustices and offered monetary compensation for the internees.

This is the first study to examine how and to what extent Asian Pacific Americans are depicted in introductory American Government textbooks, conducting a content analysis of 28 textbooks.

To rectify the lack of Asian Pacific American representations in American Government textbooks, this article offers five constructive recommendations, including an option to invite scholars on Asian Pacific American politics to serve as textbook reviewers and textbook coauthors.

A Forgotten Minority? A Content Analysis of Asian Pacific Americans in Introductory American Government Textbooks by Okiyoshi Takeda, appears in PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 48 / Issue 03 / July 2015, pp 430 – 439.