model minority myth

A white: but saying Asians are naturally smart is POSITIVE discrimination:)))

Me: The model minority myth was invented by whites as a tool of antiblackness to create divisions between communities of color and prove that ‘anyone can succeed in America if they just TRY hard enough!!1!’ thereby implying that antiblackness is black ppl’s own fault for not TRYING enough. Additionally, it relies on false interpretations of data and hurts the opportunities of all Asians, particularly less privileged ones, and dehumanizes Asians by furthering stereotypes of us as some kind of innately robot-like monolithic-minded hive, devalues our individual accomplishments and uses us as a tool to further antiblackness

According to the 2009 American Community Survey, there are fifteen million Asian-Pacific Americans who make up forty-three different ethnic groups and who originally came from twenty-eight Asian countries and fifteen Pacific islands. The “model minority” myth disregards the social and economic hardships faced by recently arrived Southeast Asian refugees, particularly the Hmong. In the 1990s, high school graduation rates were about 35 percent for Cambodian Americans, 36 percent for Lao Americans, and 58 percent for Vietnamese Americans— and all of these numbers are well below the overall average of 82 percent for Asian Americans as a whole. Due to the “model minority” myth, public schools do not even bother to record Asian-Pacific American student dropout rates; yet, at the time of the study, about half of Hmong female students dropped out of school before graduation (Walker-Moffat 1995; Xiong and Tatum 1999). A Hmong woman comments, “As Asian Americans, we face the ‘model minority’ myth that hurts so many Hmong because we have so many challenges.” In addition, since Hmong and other Asian Americans are perceived in American society as “strangers from a different shore,” the validity of their professional decision making is often put on trial. As a Hmong American female attorney attests, “As a prosecutor of color, people presumed I held a bias in favor of other people of color and could not prosecute a case neutrally without regard to race.”
—  “Women in the Hmong Diaspora” by Dia Cha in Diversity in Diaspora: Hmong Americans in the Twenty-First Century (2013)
Dear White Friends,

If you gonna ask me to help with your math homework just because I’m Korean, let me ask you to help me with my English homework. Don’t be surprised when we both fail, and newsflash, your race or skin color doesn’t automatically determine what you’ll be good at in school – although I’m starting to think that all you pasty motherfuckers are lacking a few crucial brain cells.

Submitted by @lunatictobelle

“I think race relations in general get reduced to Black/White in the United States. And I think as a result if you are still a racialized minority your status somehow becomes weaponized one way or another. For example, for the Asian American population there’s a stereotype of the model minority. And because there’s that stereotype often the Asian American community is weaponized by the White community against all the other communities of color, saying, ‘well look at X group compared to the Asian American population’ which is also damaging and stereotypical because when people talk about the Asian community as that model minority they are thinking about East Asian, upper class populations and the good number of the Asian American community in the United States are not that. I’m not that. I’m Southeast Asian. And the Southeast Asian population of the United States includes Cambodian, Laotian, Hmong, and Thai. These groups are actually some of the poorest in the United States and most disadvantaged. But people don’t recognize that because they just think, ‘Oh if you’re Asian you must have the same achievements as all these other Asian groups’ and that is not true.”

One of my favorite quotes of Episode 32 with Diana Pho where she discusses the “model minority” myth and how these hierarchies in marginalized cultures can create further segregation. It’s a powerful thing to think about.

Stereotyped vs Nuanced Characters and Audience Perception

Writing with color receives many questions regarding the stereotypes Characters of Color and their story lines may possess.

There’s a difference between having a three-dimensional character with trait variance and flaws, versus one who walks the footsteps of a role people of their race/ethnicity are constantly put into. Let’s discuss this, as well as how sometimes, while there’s not much issue with the character, a biased audience will not allow the character to be dimensional.

But first: it’s crucial to consider the thinking behind your literary decisions.

Trace your Logic 

When it comes to the roles and traits you assign your characters, it’s important to ask yourself why you made them the way they are. This is especially true for your marginalized characters.

So you need an intimidating, scary character. What does intimidating look like on first brainstorm? Is it a Black man, large in size or presence? (aka a Scary Black Man) A Latino with trouble with the law? If so, why?

Really dig, even as it gets uncomfortable. You’ll likely find you’re conditioned to think of certain people in certain roles on the spot.

It’s a vicious cycle; we see a group of people represented a certain way in media, and in our own works depict them in the way we know. Whether you consciously believe it’s the truest depiction of them all or not, we’re conditioned to select them for these roles again and again. Actors of Color report on being told in auditions they’re not performing stereotypical enough and have been encouraged to act more “ethnic.” 

This ugly merry-go-round scarcely applies to (cis, straight) white people as they are allowed a multitude of roles in media. Well, then again, I do notice a funny trend of using white characters when stories need a leader, a hero, royalty, a love interest…

Today’s the day to break free from this preconditioned role-assigning.

Keep reading

While model minority mythologization requires ignorance or disavowal of Asian American failure, the Asian American “academic and political platforms” Ninh refers to are sustained by the reverse: a disavowal of model minorities as figures of deception that can only tell us what Asian America is not.

In other words, a disavowal that involves not only the dismissal of a patently false sweeping generalization, but a strong reluctance to acknowledge that model minorities exist as empirical bodies in the Asian American community, or that model minority status is ever non-pathologically embraced, pursued, or valued.

—  Christopher T. Fan, Asian/American (Anti-)Bodies: An Introduction
Dear White People,

Just because I’m Asian does not mean that I am more privileged than you when it comes to academics. I work my ass off due to, yes, a strict upbringing which a lot of Asian kids have; but I also DO have motivation. My grades do not just come from my race. It comes from discipline, perseverance, and the dreams I have for when I grow older. I’m not going to act like I know everything. I DON’T. When I/others don’t know the answer don’t act like everything in gonna burn like hell.


an Asian Student

Submitted by Anonymous

In celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month in May, BRJA’s [Baltimore Racial Justice Action] 13th of the Month series event is presented in partnership with Baltimore Asian Resistance in Solidarity (BARS). Culturally stereotyped in the U.S. as the “model minority,” people of Asian backgrounds are expected to be smart, wealthy, hard-working, and docile. The model minority myth is full of contradictions: painting Asians/Asian Americans as “basically white,” encouraging complicity with white supremacy, and excluding Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Americans by perceiving them as perpetual foreigners. API people fighting anti-blackness and white supremacy are often erased from history, while the media pushes narratives about Asian-Black tension, fueling hostility between peoples of color. This event will explore stories of racism and resistance from API folks throughout U.S. history to today.

Model Minority Myth
Sat May 13th, 2 - 4pm
exittheapple, 2334 Guilford Ave 

We met Tuesday evening to go over the agenda and plan, and I pointed out that we were trying to fit in everything about asianness ever because we were feeling like this was our one event, our one opportunity.

Anyway, come this Saturday to listen to me talk about how I climbed a mountain and cultivated the seed of anger in my heart into a full-blown garden of hatred and anti-whiteness.

A piece from New York Magazine’s Andrew Sullivan over the weekend ended with an old, well-worn trope: Asian-Americans, with their “solid two-parent family structures,” are a shining example of how to overcome discrimination. An essay that began by imagining why Democrats feel sorry for Hillary Clinton — and then detoured to President Trump’s policies — drifted to this troubling ending:

“Today, Asian-Americans are among the most prosperous, well-educated, and successful ethnic groups in America. What gives? It couldn’t possibly be that they maintained solid two-parent family structures, had social networks that looked after one another, placed enormous emphasis on education and hard work, and thereby turned false, negative stereotypes into true, positive ones, could it? It couldn’t be that all whites are not racists or that the American dream still lives?”

Sullivan’s piece, rife with generalizations about a group as vastly diverse as Asian-Americans, rightfully raised hackles. Not only inaccurate, his piece spreads the idea that Asian-Americans as a group are monolithic, even though parsing data by ethnicity reveals a host of disparities; for example, Bhutanese-Americans have far higher rates of poverty than other Asian populations, like Japanese-Americans. And at the root of Sullivan’s pernicious argument is the idea that black failure and Asian success cannot be explained by inequities and racism, and that they are one and the same; this allows a segment of white America to avoid any responsibility for addressing racism or the damage it continues to inflict.

“Sullivan’s comments showcase a classic and tenacious conservative strategy,” Janelle Wong, the director of Asian American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, said in an email. This strategy, she said, involves “1) ignoring the role that selective recruitment of highly educated Asian immigrants has played in Asian American success followed by 2) making a flawed comparison between Asian Americans and other groups, particularly Black Americans, to argue that racism, including more than two centuries of black enslavement, can be overcome by hard work and strong family values.”

‘Model Minority’ Myth Again Used As A Racial Wedge Between Asians And Blacks

Illustration: Chelsea Beck/NPR

my two major problems with the discussion of the model minority myth (not the myth itself):

1. The direct implication of the myth – East Asian equals privilege, so don’t lump the rest of us in with them – is rarely explicitly expressed. Thus the discussion becomes diluted and misunderstood such that the populations actually most disparately impacted by the model minority myth are NOT the ones leading the conversation on it, nor are they adequately represented at all. Yes, there are poor East and South Asians, but the myth truly references populations from Southeast Asia, the poorest Asian region with the strongest history of colonialism; nearly every single nation in Southeast Asia has undergone a period of colonial occupation, did you know that? Yet our people still do not have a voice in the discussion, nor the appropriate representation in higher academia to create discussion.  When more Cambodians, Laotians, Filipinos, Pacific Islanders etc. are getting the mic stand, I’ll rest my case on this point. Inopportunity to speak for ourselves means requiring others to do so on our behalf – trust that is frequently misplaced.

2. 99% of any conversation I hear or read about the model minority myth focuses on the construction of the myth by whites in order to subjugate and/or deny any history of white racism and oppression towards Asian Americans. What is never talked about is the substantial proportion of Asian Americans who actively internalize and embrace the myth to the point of the manifestation of anti-Blackness, racism towards all other minorities, and, ultimately, ALLIANCE with white supremacy. A good number of y’all who talk about this myth need to be looking in the mirror, at your parents, family, and friends, and be having this conversation with them (or yourself).

I want to comment on why the Model Minority Myth is bad - not good, not neutral, but nothing other than bad. 

  • Firstly, no racial stereotype is positive. They are reductive and created with the intention to limit one’s humanity. They are caricatures of an entire group of people.
  • The Model Minority Myth was created by white people.
  • It was coined in the 1960’s when the New York Times Newspaper ran stories describing the success of Asian-Americans (I believe specifically Japanese-American and then Chinese American people) in the US despite marginalization(they didn’t want to say racism) basically saying that through cultural influences which promoted strong family values and hard work ethic, Asian Americans were able to “thrive” in the US despite the barriers that were present.
  • This was the 1960’s, an era that included numerous social & political movements not only in the US, but around the world. The Model Minority Myth was created in opposition to those movements, namely the Civil Rights Movement in a manner that proposed Asian Americans, who were/are racial minorities, were doing quite well in spite of the issues that were being highlighted throughout the Civil Rights Movement (a movement largely headed by Black Americans).
  • Not only were white people using Asian Americans as a means for justifying that things were fine the way they were, white people were pitting Asian Americans against other People of Color.
  • The Model Minority Myth contributes to the idea that all Asians are interchangeable. It ignores the differences in histories, economic status, and educational attainment among the people of various ethnicities who are racialized as Asian, collectively and individually. 
  • Statistically, it just isn’t true when you look across the board at various ethnic groups racialized as Asian the level of economic and educational disparity. (For Hmong-American people, the percentage of those living in poverty is 25% & we’re also below in terms of educational attainment and annual median salary)
  • Having been perpetuated, it’s placed unfair expectations/pressures on Asian students academically and contributed to false ideas of our performance making academic aid and support more difficult (in terms of its availability and in asking for it)
The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored (Wo)man

Something I was thinking about the other day:

All during high school, people perceived me as Asian. Most everyone knew my mom was Chinese, and my friends in middle school and high school were mostly Asian. On multiple occasions people told me things like “I forget that you’re also black sometimes”, or “you’re basically just Asian”. I never hung out with the black kids that were at my school; I was the only black kid that was in my higher level AP classes. When I once said, jokingly, “there’s only half a black person in AP Calculus,” there was someone who actually said “really? who?” and I reminded them that it was me. People seemed to remove blackness from me–after all, I am, literally, ethnically Chinese, so this was different from being called “an oreo” or something like that because rather than declare that I wasn’t black because of how I acted, people would simply see me as Asian because of how I acted, and attribute all of my “smart” qualities to being Asian.

I literally would hear the same phrases other East Asian students at my high school, like “you’re good at math/science/in orchestra/etc. because you’re Asian”, or be lumped in with “the Asians”. As a Chinese American, I experienced being classified as a model minority all of middle school and high school. 

And yet, suddenly, as soon as I got into college, I was black? Suddenly, the instant I got into MIT, people declared that the only reason I got into such a prestigious institution was because I was a black woman, despite declaring for so many years that “you’re [good at school, nerdy, etc] because you’re Asian”. In fact, people told me that I couldn’t and wouldn’t get into MIT my whole life, until I actually got in, at which point it switched to “well of course you got in, because ___” 


Never mind that actually, under Federal Affirmative Action policy, I don’t “count” as a black person–I’m “2 or more races” or “other”. I now wonder if maybe what people said and how they perceived me had something to do with my hair–it was straightened from 7th grade until junior year of high school, and I definitely appeared more Asian because of it, while by senior year it was fully natural and curly again.  

me with my aunt and cousins , just before sophomore year of high school

me on a summer camping trip, just before sophomore year

me doing a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, senior year

That’s right. You have no idea what I am or where I’m from (Race-bending in real life lol) I’ve passed both in China and Ethiopia as a native (until I open my mouth or draw attention to myself, of course).

I think this is in part why I find my experience as a mixed person such a heavy influence on my life, because I have been literally and fully categorized as both completely Chinese American or completely African American/African in various situations, dependent on the community around me, dependent on my hair, dependent on who I associated with. And this is also why sometimes, I find my experiences as a mixed person empowering. I was so elated after getting into MIT that I didn’t really even notice those whispered comments, which were never actually said to my face and just circulated back to me somehow through my friends. I’d even venture to say that the vast majority of people didn’t really question why I got into MIT, since I was still one of “the smart kids” at school, and I had been telling people that was where I wanted to go to college since middle school, and also, most people simply didn’t care that much. Comments about my qualifications in getting into MIT only came from people who considered themselves “smarter” or better qualified than I was, which was relatively speaking not that many people. And after I was actually at MIT, I had no reason to think about them, except in the context of reflecting on why society is broken, such as right now x) I actually completely forgot about it until my roommate brought it up one day because one of our classmates is working with her project partner over the summer, and we also had a speaker on the Model Minority Myth in my humanities class. 

It actually feels good to have been successful in the face of all that. It makes me think, in concise internet terms: 

u mad, bruh? x)

Originally posted by lyricallycommitted

Vietnamese doctor gets roughed up and hauled out of a plane by cops at United: I’m Vietnamese-American myself and naturally my community’s in an uproar over this. But where was this outrage for the brutality against black people? They’ve been suffering this kind of treatment for years. The general attitude I perceive in my community, especially among the older 1st gen immigrants, is judgment, victim blaming, or indifference. All of a sudden we care because “one of our own” got attacked. I’m sick of the double standards we’re perpetrating. The Asian diaspora population has maintained a content and compliant attitude, so when something like the United incident happens, it jolts us out of our happy little bubble and scares us to the core, and it should. We’re scared because the model minority myth does not exempt or protect us (that’s exactly what it is: a myth, not a fact, and it hurts us more than it helps us). We need to stop assuming that we’re an exception. That is very dangerous thinking. We need to hold ourselves accountable and do better.

[I]n celebration of [the] model minority [myth], pundits and politicians have exaggerated Asian-American ‘success.’ Their comparisons of incomes between Asians and Whites fail to recognize the regional location of the Asian-American population. Concentrated in California, Hawaii, and New York, Asian Americans reside largely in states with higher incomes but also higher costs of living than the national average: 59 percent of all Asian Americans lived in these three states in 1980, compared to only 19 percent of the general population. The use of 'family incomes’ by Reagan and others has been very misleading, for Asian American families have more persons working per families than white families. In 1980, white nuclear families in California had only 1.6 workers per family, compared to 2.1 for Japanese, 2.0 for immigrant Chinese, 2.2 for immigrant Filipino, and 1.8 for immigrant Korean… Thus the family incomes of Asian Americas indicate the presence of more workers in each family, rather than higher incomes.
Actually, in terms of personal incomes, Asian Americans [had] not reached equality [to those of whites]. In 1980 the mean personal income for white men in California was $23,400… Korean men earned only $19,200, or 82 percent of the income of white men, Chinese men only $15,900 or 68 percent, and Filipino men only $14,500 or 62 percent. In New York, the mean personal income for white men was 21,600, compared to only $18,900 or 88 percent for Korean men, $16,500 or 76 percent for Filipino men, and only $11,200 or 52 percent for Chinese men. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Chinese immigrant men earned only 72 percent of what their white counterparts earned, Filipino men 68 percent, Korean 69 percent and Vietnamese men 52 percent. The incomes of Asian American men were close to and sometimes even below those of Black men (68 percent) and Mexican American men (71 percent).

Ronald Takaki: A History of Asian Americans: Strangers from a Different Shore (Ch. 12 - “The Myth of the ‘Model Minority’”)

I wanted to share this because I often see statistics floating around that Asian Americans earn more than other racial groups, including whites, and I think these facts are important to keep in mind. The statistics in this quote are dated (1980s), so they likely have changed, but it’s important to notice how statistics can be misleading and how they were skewed in the 80′s to create this stereotype and erase struggles Asian Americans face, especially since Asian Americans are often lumped together, erasing differences.

Why Asian Americans Are Not Your "Model Minority"
  • Because 14% of Asian Americans live in poverty.
  • Because we still face blockades and discrimination in the job market, a.k.a. the “bamboo ceiling.”
  • Because America still looks at us like we’re “perpetual foreigners.”
  • Because America still looks at us like we we’re the “yellow peril.”
  • Because Asian American men are emasculated.
  • Because Asian American womxn are exoticized and fetishized.
  • Because a significant number of Asian American youth attend public schools that are under resourced and under privileged.
  • Because gang violence plagues Asian American communities.
  • Because Asian Americans lack representation in politics.
  • Because a significant number of Asian Americans are undocumented.
  • Because Asian Americans do more than get good grades.
  • Because Asian Americans are not quiet, passive-aggressive, or submissive.
  • Because Asian Americans raised hell during the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF).
  • Because Asian Americans like Yuri Kochiyama and Richard Aoki were part of the Black Power Movement.
  • Because Asian Americans had their own movement, the Asian American Movement.
  • Because Asian Americans fought for workers’ rights during the United Farm Workers (UFW) Movement.
  • Because Asian Americans stood in solidarity when there was no justice for Vincent Chin.
  • Because Asian immigrant garment workers fought for equal rights when Jessica McClintock tried to deny them fair wages and a safe work environment.
  • Because we have artists like Magnetic North and Blue Scholars.
  • Because we are active in the LGBTQQIA community.
  • Because we fought and are still fighting for a valid education.
  • Because we are reclaiming our hxstory and redefining our identities.
  • Because Asian Americans are continuously organizing, mobilizing, and fighting for their communities and for our rightful place in this country.
  • Because Asian Americans can fucking kick white supremist, nativist, racist, sexist asses. 
  • Because “model minority” is just a stereotype that attempts to cover the truth and use us as tokens.

yae-rhee  asked:

why do you think asian people get paid more than white people in the U.S.? I've been trying to figure this out but I've given up and decided to ask.

First of all: It’s mostly East Asians and some South Asians who are paid more. Other groups are generally underprivileged economically and do not earn more than white people on average. 

Secondly, we are not paid more. We earn more money on average per year. There is a racial wage gap between white men and Asian men, though it is a smaller margin than for other PoC.

There are three main reasons why certain groups of Asians can skew the overall average:

1. Many Chinese immigrants came here in the 80s and 90s through Deng Xiaoping’s student program. Send them to college in the US, some of them will come back to China and help the economy expand. So all of those people are going to have a college degree right off the bat, and college degrees generally help people earn more money.

2. Disproportionately high amounts of Asians are working in STEM jobs, which pay more than jobs in other fields. You don’t even have to be a doctor to be raking in the dough, most jobs in the pharmaceutical industry and high-tech companies pay a lot.

3. Most of the wealthy Asian immigrants were middle-class in their home countries and just came here in recent years. As a result, their families were not exploited for generations in the US under white supremacy and were finacially stable in their home countries. They are starting out in America with more money.

TL;DR it’s not because we study a lot or get divorced less often.