Kangkana Koli

Date Approved


Degree Type

Campus Only Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Political Science

First Advisor

Jeffery L. Berstein

Second Advisor

Jeffery L. Berstein

Third Advisor

David Klein


The perception of Asian Americans in the political sphere of the Unites States remains a topic with a serious lack of research. This project attempts to uncover whether Americans are willing to vote Asians into office and how they understand the differences among this pan-ethnic identity of Asian. Do Americans view one Asian identity as better suited for political positions than others and if they do what is their reasoning? The findings of this study show a strong preference among Americans for East Asian and White political candidates over South Asian candidates. Results suggest that Americans show substantial implicit racial bias in their political attitudes and behaviors. As Americans have a long-standing history of preference of lighter skinned individuals over darker-skinned individuals, colorism most likely plays the main role in this complexion penalty exercised towards South Asians in the results of this study.