You speak english well! Asian Americans' reactions to an exceptionalizing stereotype

Giac-Thao Tran, Richard M. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This study examined a specific type of racial microaggression known as an exceptionalizing stereotype, in which an action is framed as interpersonally complimentary but perpetuates negative stereotypical views of a racial/ethnic group. Asian American participants (N=68) were assigned to 1 of 3 brief semistructured interview conditions that highlight an exceptionalizing stereotype of Asian Americans to varying degrees. In the low racially loaded condition, participants were told, "You speak English well" by a White confederate. In the high racially loaded condition, they were told, "You speak English well for an Asian." In the control condition, the confederate said, "Nice talking to you." Only participants in the high racially loaded condition rated their partner, the interaction, and future interactions less favorably than participants in the control condition. They also evaluated their partner and interaction less positively than participants in the low racial loading condition. The results suggest exceptionalizing stereotypes can be interpersonally damaging for Asian Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-490
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Asian Americans
  • Interracial interactions
  • Language discrimination
  • Racial microaggressions
  • Stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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