In the United States, Canada, and Australia, the term refers most commonly to people of predominantly East Asian, South Asian, and Southeast Asian ancestry; however, in the United Kingdom and Anglophone Africa, the term refers most commonly to South Asians. In other countries, the term is applied to all people from Asia in general. In the US, however, Middle Eastern and Central Asian people are usually not considered Asian peoples.
Earlier Census forms from 1980 and before listed particular Asian ancestries as separate groups along with White and Black or Negro. Previously, Asian Americans were classified as "other". But the 1980 census marked the first general analyses of Asians as a group, combining several individual ancestry groups into "Asian or Pacific Islander." By the 1990 census, Asian or Pacific Islander (API) was included as an explicit category, although respondents had to select one particular ancestry.
The US Census Bureau definition includes people who originate in the original peoples of Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. In 1930 and 1940, Indian Americans were a separate race, Hindu, and in 1950 and 1960, they were racially classified as Other Race, and in 1970, they were classified as White. Since 1980, Indians, and all other South Asians, have been classified as part of the Asian race. Sociologist Madhulika Khandelwal "described how, as a result of activism, South Asians came to be included as 'Asians' in the census only in the 80's. Prior to that, many South Asians had been checking 'Caucasian' or 'Other'. Respondents can also report their specific ancestry like Okinawan, etc. Someone reporting these ancestries but no race will be classified as "Asian". Unlike South Asians, Middle Eastern Americans and Central Asian Americans have not lobbied to be included as Asians by the US Census.
According to Sharon M. Lee in her 1998 publication, for many non-Asian Americans in the United States (in 1998) Asian American means Oriental, Chinese American or Japanese American. This is due to the Chinese and Japanese immigrants being the first Asian immigrants into the United States. Today, with the increasing demographic of South Asian Americans and Southeast Asian Americans the definition among United States citizens of who is Asian American is expanding.
In the United Kingdom, the term "Asian", though it can refer to the continent of Asia as a whole, is more commonly associated with people of South Asian origin, particularly Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans. The UK usage of the term "Asian" is reflected in the "ethnic group" section of UK census forms, which treat "Asian" and "Chinese" as separate (see British Asian). Most respondents to the UK 2001 Census of non-Chinese East Asian and Southeast Asian descent chose to write-in their ethnicity in the "Other Ethnic Group" category rather than the "Other Asian" category, reflecting the association of the word Asian in the UK with South Asian.
The United Kingdom, Anglophone Africa and Anglophone Caribbean are places in the Western world where the word "Asian" is used primarily to identify people from the Indian subcontinent. Due to the term's contested definition in British English, the use of the term "South Asian" is used for clarity in discussions in the United Kingdom on colonialism, discrimination, and migration or when the content of its parameters may become mistakenly conflated with those of East Asian descent.
The United Kingdom, Anglophone Africa, and Anglophone Caribbean are places in the Western world where the word "Asian" is used primarily to identify people from the Indian subcontinent, although in South Africa, Asian can refer to East Asians as well.
Forget All These Noble Speeches: Let's See Some Signs of Change ; `the Police Stick to the Same Excuses, and in the End Fail Themselves, Not Just Black and Asian People'
Nov 11, 1999; I COULD have died last Thursday night. I suffer from asthma, which I usually manage to control with drugs. On that night,...