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What is the “Model Minority Myth”? What are some of the issues and political
challenges that asian americans face today?
The Model Minority Myth is a stereotypical issue that perpetuates a narrative that asian
americans are more superior when it comes to overall success. This myth also presents asians
acting a certain way meaning being polite and overall achieving more by having some sort of
talent rather than working hard. The reason this issue is a constant concern is because it hinders
the effort between every individual assuming that because someone you're classified as asian,
you are good at school. I’ve witnessed my fair share of stereotypical comments at school due to
having some friends that are asian and it takes a toll when they fail because they have some sort
of expectation to succeed. Although many ignore the main concern of this myth, the model
minority is said to have been used as a way to uphold white supremacy.
What is the history of the term model minority and how did it truly come to exist? “The
term "model minority" was coined in bridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1966 by sociologist
William Petersen in an Bleich, E. (2003). Race politics in Britain and an article he wrote for The
New York Times France: Ideas and policymaking since the Magazine entitled "Success story:
Japanese 1960s. New York: Cambridge University American style." In this article, Peterson
explained that a cultural emphasis and family structure on work ethic helped Japanese American
overcome discrimination and succeed the American dream. One thing about the history of this is
that a huge factor hindered is the U.S. immigration law. According to the article, “The 1965
Immigration Act reversed years of restrictive immigration policies that virtually banned all
immigration from Asia, allowing for a greater number of immigrants to enter the United States
from non-Western countries, including countries in Asia and Latin America”. This is significant
because many of the already successful doctors and engineers left Asia and migrated to the U.S.
This is overlooked but actually makes up a huge part of the American community and is one of
the reasons for Asian American success.
One huge argument that this essay will contain is how this myth ignores the diversity of
Asian American Cultures. According to an article, “The model minority myth overlooks the
breadth of diversity within the Asian American community (e.g., Southeast Asian vs. South
Asian vs. East Asian ethnic groups, or differences in socioeconomic status) and ignores groups
that may struggle with economic, professional, or academic success due to systemic factors”.
The model minority tends to position asian Americans as beneficiaries of the American Dream,
ignoring many of the exclusion acts in past history that will be presented later in this essay.
References: Blackburn, S. S. (n.d.). What is the model minority myth? Retrieved April
08, 2021, from https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/what-is-the-model-minority-myth
Writers, S. (2020, August 11). Asian Americans and the model Minority Myth:
BestColleges. Retrieved April 08, 2021, from https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/modelminority-myth/ Nguyen, V., Sympathizer, T., &
Committed, T. (2020, June 26). How the model MINORITY myth of Asian Americans
hurts us all. Retrieved April 08, 2021, from https://time.com/5859206/anti-asian-racism-america/
Yu, T. (2006, October 31). Challenging the politics of the "model Minority" Stereotype:
A case for Educational Equality. Retrieved April 08, 2021, from
Professor comments for this start to the research paper: What's here is good, though
given the scope of the course, we'll only be able to closely examine some of the issues
you've proposed here.
The second paragraph would become the main focus of the research paper, and
you've got a good start on it regarding the article by William Petersen, as well as the
1965 Immigration Act (in particular, that the act gives preference to those who are
educated and professionals in their home countries.) In a couple weeks, we'll be
studying the legal and political context for the invention and popularization of the model
minority myth in the post-World War II era, including these issues. I recommend Ellen
Wu's book *The Color of Success*.
While we could briefly touch on the present-day impacts of the model minority
myth, the bulk of the discussion would be on this history.