How AAPI as a racial category paints an incomplete picture : The Indicator from Planet Money When confronted with racial categories, which box do you tick? For Asian Americans, the grouping called AAPI – that's Asian American and Pacific Islander – is a strangely broad and ambiguous category.

For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

AAPI and the problems of categorizing race

AAPI and the problems of categorizing race

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1126642816/1126659880" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Megan Varner/Getty Images
Demonstrators take to the streets to show their support for Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities on March 20, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Megan Varner/Getty Images

What is AAPI? It stands for Asian American and Pacific Islander, but this racial category that's often used by the U.S Census is broad and rather ambiguous.

Underneath this arbitrary grouping, at least twenty different countries, places, and a plethora of diverse cultures are nested under the umbrella term. Today on the show, we explore why the way in which we collect data matters, and the importance behind definitions.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Newsletter.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, PocketCasts and NPR One.

For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.