The way they dress? Maybe their hairstyle, or mannerisms? How much they weigh?
A University of Washington-led study has found that for Asian Americans, those who appear heavier not only are perceived to be more “American,” but also may be subject to less prejudice directed at foreigners than Asian Americans who are thin.
Researchers believe this effect relates to common stereotypes that Asians are thin and Americans are heavy — so if someone of Asian heritage is heavy, then they appear to be more “American.”
The UW study comes at an especially charged time for discussions of American identity. In today’s political climate, beliefs — and often stereotypes — about race, ethnicity and religion factor into debates about who is “American.”