That Could Be Me: Asian Adoptee Identity Formation and Violence

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


The purpose of this research is to understand how violence acts as a preceding event to a change in Asian adoptees' identities. I use the word 'violence' to encompass a wide range of experiences and events including 20th-century US-Asia wars, hate crimes, mass shootings, sexual violence, bullying, microaggressions, harassment, and more. This research includes violence that is experienced on not only an interpersonal level such as direct physical and psychological violence, but also on a cultural and collective level. In trying to understand this relationship between violence and identity, I use Identity Theory to analyze the contents of eleven interviews with Asian adoptees from Korea, China and Vietnam living in the US. I found that violence influenced identity changes in four major ways: vicarious victimhood, solidarity with other minorities, racial discrimination, and exclusion by other Asians.



adoption, Asian American, Identity Theory, violence