Unexpected gains: Overweight Asian Americans are protected from anti-foreign prejudice
Association for Psychological Science / SAGE Publications
Reason for embargo
This is the author accepted manuscript. It is currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by SAGE Publications
Can being overweight, a factor that commonly leads to stigmatization, ironically protect some people of color from anti-foreign prejudice? In 10 studies, participants were presented with photos that were edited to be overweight (BMI > 25) or normal-weight (BMI < 25). A meta-analysis of all studies revealed that overweight Asian Americans were perceived as significantly more American than normal-weight versions of the same people, whereas the same was not true for White, Black, or Latino Americans. A second meta-analysis showed that overweight Asian American men were perceived as less likely to be in the U.S. without documentation than their normal-weight counterparts. A final study demonstrated that weight stereotypes about presumed countries of origin shape who is considered American. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that being overweight can buffer Asian Americans from assumptions that they are not American and protect them from related forms of prejudice.