American Behavioral Scientist


Critical Issues Facing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) 

and the Asian Diasporas 


Editorial Team 


Eddy Ng, Queen’s University, Canada, [log in to unmask] 

Robert Bonner, San Francisco State University, USA, [log in to unmask] 

Alexander Lewis, University of Texas San Antonio, USA, [log in to unmask] 

Winny Shen, York University, Canada, [log in to unmask] 




The study and discussion of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the context of the West is uniquely complex. AAPI are held up as “model minorities,” resulting in exclusion from many equity conversations. Additionally, AAPI are often used as a monolithic categorization to illustrate diversity in many organizations and institutions (e.g., higher education) masking underrepresented and underserved communities—including communities within AAPI like Hmong, Burmese, Cambodian, and Nepalese. Indeed, as a community, AAPI are much more diverse than is represented in a single census category. Although shared identity can be a source of solidarity, the monolithic approach to categorizing AAPI in lieu of unique subgroups is not without consequences. Kuo et al. (2020: p. 403) note that, “…the overgeneralization of the experiences and characteristics of higher status subgroups and exemplars obscures the most vulnerable among Asian American communities.”  


The tensions between the monolithic conceptualizations of AAPI and more nuanced subgroup conceptualizations may increase within group harm (Lee and Ramakrishnan, 2021). Nadal et al. (2015) highlight invalidation of interethnic differences as prevailing microaggressions toward AAPI communities. The microinvalidation of experienced racial discrimination has a negative impact on the psychological well-being of AAPI. The implications of this growing tension between a monolithic approach to AAPI and the need to validate interethnic differences, or the diversity-convergence paradox, is an ongoing issue that needs further examination (Lee and Ramakrishnan, 2021).  


Within the context of DEI work in the U.S., these complex issues within AAPI communities add complications to diversity and equity initiatives and programs which are often construed as targeting Black, Latinx, and Indigenous peoples to the exclusion of Asian Americans. However, in practice, these initiatives will also close equity gaps amongst lower-status and historically underserved AAPI groups. The events of 2020 have further illustrated the need for these difficult intragroup and intergroup conversations. First, there were calls for the examination of anti-Black perspectives within the AAPI community after the murder of George Floyd (see Ng and Lam, 2020).  


At the same time, the global COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 revealed that AAPI’s proximity to whiteness could only mitigate harm for so long (see Bates & Ng, 2021). Following the prevalent use of the term “Chinese Virus,” there was a rise in Anti-Asian xenophobia and attacks against AAPI communities across the Western world. Many of the AAPI communities have experienced these attacks, further displaying a societal bias towards the monolithic perspective. 


The confluence of these two significant events has important implications for the future of diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizations, institutions, and society. The need for intra and intergroup solidarity has never been more apparent yet more challenging. Lee and Huang (2021) warn that the trope of Black-Asian conflict can be weaponized with the increase of anti-Asian violence to undermine solidarity efforts between the communities.  


The vision for this Special Issue is to further our understanding of the histories and experiences of the diverse AAPI communities within organizations and institutions.  

We invite research that will advance conversations of AAPI communities and diasporas in the U.S. and other Western settings. We are particularly interested in perspectives informed by industrial and organizational psychology, organizational behavior, organizational theory (including critical organizational theory, see Ray, 2019), social movement theories, human resource management, and other social sciences that lend themselves to the vision of this special issue. Submissions should offer a conceptual framework that builds theory or theoretical models, critical perspectives, meta-analytic reviews, or empirical studies at the micro, meso, or macro level. 


Potential areas of inquiry might include, but are not limited to: 

Manuscripts must be submitted in MS Word (.doc or .docx) format with a separate title page that includes the title of the paper, full names, affiliations, email addresses, telephone numbers, complete addresses, and biographical sketches of all authors. All submissions must follow the APA (7th ed.) style and be between 6,000 and 8,000 words, including a 250-worlds abstract with 5-6 key words, all references, and notes.  


Manuscripts should be submitted directly via email with the subject line (ABS AAPI) to [log in to unmask] by April 30, 2022. 




Bates, K.A. and Ng, E.S. (2021), "Whiteness in academia, time to listen, and moving beyond White fragility", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, 40(1), 1-7.  

Kuo, E. E., Kraus, M. W., & Richeson, J. A. (2020). High-status Exemplars and the Misperception of the Asian-white Wealth Gap. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 11(3), 397-405. 

Lee, J., & Huang, T. (2021, March 11). Why the trope of Black-Asian conflict in the face of anti-Asian violence dismisses solidarity. Brookings. 

Lee, J., & Ramakrishnan, K. (2020). Who counts as Asian. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 43(10), 1733-1756. 

Lee, J., & Ramakrishnan, K. (2021). From Narrative Scarcity to Research Plenitude for Asian Americans. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 7(2), 1-20. 

Leigh, A., & Melwani, S. (2019). # BlackEmployeesMatter: mega-threats, identity fusion, and enacting positive deviance in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 44(3), 564-591. 

Nadal, K. L., Wong, Y., Sriken, J., Griffin, K., & Fujii-Doe, W. (2015). Racial microaggressions and Asian Americans: An exploratory study on within-group differences and mental health. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 6(2), 136-144. 

Ng, E.S. & Lam, A. (2020).  Black lives matter: On the denial of systemic racism, White liberals, and polite racism.  Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, 39(7), 729-739.  


Guest Editorial Team 


Eddy S. Ng, PhD is the Smith Professor of Equity and Inclusion in Business at Queen’s University, Canada. His research focuses on diversity and inclusion, the future of work, and managing across generations.  


Robert Bonner, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Management in the Lam Family College of Business and an affiliate faculty for the Ed.D. Educational Leadership program at San Francisco State University. He is an active member of the PhD Project.  


Alexander C. Lewis, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Management at the Alvarez College of Business, University of Texas San Antonio. His primary research interest is the entrepreneurship of marginalized groups. He is an active member of the PhD Project. 


Winny Shen, PhD is an Associate Professor of Organization Studies in the Schulich School of Business at York University, Canada. Her program of research focuses on issues of leadership, diversity and inclusion, and worker well-being as well as the intersection of these domains.  

Eddy Ng, PhD
Smith Professor in Equity and Inclusion in Business
Queen's University
Kingston, ON
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