Asians Aren’t the “Other” Race

Nick Austin
3 min readNov 25, 2020


Many newspapers and international organizations claim to believe in “inclusion.” The modern workplace frequently advocates inclusion of all groups as well, and companies like Facebook or Google often have professional groups dedicated to specific races or cultures.

There is still a marked exclusion of Asians from many conversations about equality or economic disparity. The exclusion runs so deep that even data scientists exclude Asians in their charts. If you’re going to bucket America by race, you might as well include all the major minorities.

The Ludwig Institute of Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP) publishes rich statistics about US Unemployment. They also measure the concept of “True Unemployment,” which includes people who earn insufficient money to support themselves or have given up looking for work. Here is a screenshot from their website from November 2020:

Are these the only races in America?

While I understand the statistician might only want to focus on the biggest races in America, the exclusion of Asians in the chart seems unusual. The broad “Asian” catch-all (which itself risks lumping all Asians into one general bucket) encompasses 6–7% of the US population. It’s a a smaller minority for sure, but still sizable enough to be worth including in economic charts. I mean, there are almost 20 million Asians in America. Aren’t we curious about how the Asians are doing in unemployment?

The Wall Street Journal recently published charts about stock ownership by race, in an article “The Stock Market Keeps Rising, but Millennials Aren’t Reaping the Benefits.”

“Other” owns nearly 10% of mutual fund wealth, but we have no idea what races those are.

Publishers seem to acknowledge the importance of including Asians, but I’ve yet to see it in practice. I actually emailed LISEP about their exclusion of Asians in their unemployment chart.

At least they acknowledged that Asians were critical to the full story, but I received no indication they would try to include Asians in the next chart. It was more of a “thanks for your feedback but whatever” response.

I hope to see the day when Asians are included our national dialog.

One can argue that “Asian” is too broad of a bucket — with so many different Asian ethnicities, we risk lumping the experiences of one ethnicity with another. Still, including Asians in our race dialog would be a big step. For now, we sit in the “Other” bucket… Out of sight and out of mind.