By Josh Joh-Jung
New Organizing Project blogger
Wassup ya’ll? What’s happening? This is yo’ boy Josh coming back at you with something really interesting.
So I know ya’ll know about the Model Minority myth. Don’t lie, whether you know it or not ya’ll been through it. The whole Asian whiz kid stereotype crap, getting all the A’s in class, no problems in the family or community, no voice, a weakling, etc. So where are am I going with this?
This whole myth is a freaking lie! The model minority myth doesn’t help us or is something to take pride in! This myth does so much harm to our communities across the U.S.
Okay Josh, I know I am considered naturally smart in school and sometimes teased but its not that bad as you’re saying it is…. *SMACK! Time for an education fool, so take notes.
For those of ya’ll taking Asian American studies, be patient ya’ll know this info but the juiciness is yet to come. Be patient.
The Model Minority myth originated from magazines and newspapers from the 60’s to the 80’s sensationalizing the academic success and hard work of the Asian immigrants who achieved high marks on standardized testing and acceptance into college at higher rates than others. And reinforces the belief that hard work, intelligence, high expectations for education and success allow Asian Americans to be the Supermen/woman of the United States. We become the living epitome of American values of “hard work and diligence will get you to places.”
Josh, what’s wrong with that? Sounds to me it is something to be proud of…. *SMACK! Didn’t I say don’t get ahead of me? Sheesh.
What’s wrong with this is that the Model Minority myth is misleading about the actual problems in the Asian American community. Issues such as immigration, gangs, health, drugs, domestic violence, and poverty are all very much facets of life for many Asian American communities. It allows non-Asians to believe that the community is without any problems removing the attention and aid needed to these issues. The mysticism allows some to even believe that there is no racial discrimination if Asians could make it and that other minorities such as Blacks and Latinos have only themselves to blame for not striking it rich in America. This is a divide and conquer scheme, have the minorities go against each other by making the others ticked off at one another.
Not only that the model minority myth is most damaging for Southeast Asian communities. For instance many of these places have very high rates of dropping out of high school comparable to the Latino student drop out rate, which is the highest. Poverty as well as gang violence are prevalent too. But because of the stereotype that Asians need no help in getting higher education and alleviate socioeconomic status the issues we face will never be acknowledged.
I know that’s a lot to take in for now. And there is so much more I can say about the Model Minority myth. But what’s more important is not what I think but what ya’ll think and will do. How can we overcome this myth? Are we comfortable with the way things are? Do we simply ignore our cultural stigma for silence is golden for progression for acknowledgement of our presence? And from whose acknowledgement do we need? America? Or more specifically the majority culture -White? Is the myth a lie or has your boy gone loco? Take a moment to think about this. Check ya’ll out next week, Peace.
P.S. For those of ya’ll in the Chicago area, come down to Northside College Prep for Fighting Youth Shouting out for Humanity’s DREAM scholarship fundraiser – Coffeehouse 2011 for more info click here.