There were many interesting findings. Perhaps none more so than what was learned about perceptions of those with Asian backgrounds. It turns out, many seemed more American to the students if they had that one American trait we discussed earlier.
Co-author Sepna Cheryan pointed out the positive in this. She said this was “an unusual possible protective benefit of being heavier for Asian Americans. We found that there was a paradoxical social benefit for Asian Americans, where extra weight allows them to be seen as more American and less likely to face prejudice directed at those assumed to be foreign.”
Not only were heavier Asians seen to be more likely born in America, they were also more likely to be perceived as a naturalized citizen. If anything, this strange benefit could be an excellent way to shut down fat-shamers.
This could help Asians prevent facing discrimination (again, in the weirdest way possible). However, this benefit applied only to Asians. A similar correlation wasn't found among black, white or Latino individuals.
What was the next most common characteristic associated with being an American? Apparently, it was "whiteness." Seeing a Caucasian heritage as a basis for being American is simply no longer true, though.
Finding the obesity trait was an interesting side-effect. But the study was prompted trying to see if there was a white bias in Americans. Turns out, there is. Co-author Caitlin Handron explained, "In the U.S., there is a strong bias associating American identity with whiteness, and this can have negative consequences for people of color in the U.S."
Well, these results are kind of depressing if you're an American. But I guess there's one positive to be found. If you're Asian-American you don't need to worry about watching your weight ever again. The heavier you get, the less discrimination you'll face. Knowing this, it'll be easier (and more necessary) to eat your emotions than ever before.