The Model Minority Myth

The "model minority myth" is something to look out for. It's seemingly a compliment to the populations that fall under this category. Model minorities attend elite schools and study in the fields of math, science, technology and engineering with high success rates. They pass with flying colors, always the 'good students'. It must be awesome to be considered a model minority.

However, we must remember that the model minority fits some, but not all people.  A disproportional amount of Asian Americans have been tossed this name tag and then left unattended to because you know what? They're good students, we don't need to be worried about them. They excel with no problem. We don't see a reason to check up on them, they don't really have needs. --And that's the mentality that will promote passiveness towards a whole population of stereotyped "model minorities". The truth might be hard to handle. WE ARE NOT AS PERFECT AS YOU MIGHT THINK or even WE MIGHT THINK. Asian Americans struggle. We struggle with identity, careers, money and relationships just as much as the next person. Asian Americans struggle with school too. Here are some hard facts from an article in colorlines.com to prove it.

  • Nearly 70 percent of Indians in the U.S. over 25-years-old have a bachelor’s degree, according to the study, and over 50 percent of Chinese, Pakistani and Korean-Americans over 25 also have college degrees.
  • But fewer than one in 10 Samoan-Americans can say the same. Cambodian, Hmong and Laotian Americans also record college degree attainment levels that hover around 12 and 13 percent.
  • All this is crucial because educational attainment translates directly to unemployment levels. Between 2006 and 2008, 15.7 percent of Tongans were out of work, according to CARE, a level that is close to the unemployment levels of black Americans, while just 3.5 percent of Japanese-Americans were unemployed in the same time period.

There is a disparity within the Asian American population. There's things that need to be improved. There are struggles that different races within the Asian American population face and there has to be a way to help them. We can't keep living underneath the veil of the "Model Minority" Myth. It's a MYTH ( A great one and a wonderful goal to pursue, but nonetheless still exactly what it is said to be: a myth). If we keep believing it, believing that our population is doing fine, that every single Asian American person can be categorized as a Model Minority, then we have already lost before we have even begun.

We are such a diverse group with so many talents. Yes, many of us do work hard and we do succeed, but there's a gap and not everyone has what is needed to do so. We have to help each other and be able to give the opportunity to excel. It starts with educating ourselves and shattering the model minority stereotype. Our struggles are real and we will need help, so there must be places instilled that we can turn to, to get it.

Read more on the realities of the Model Minority Myth: The Creation-and Consequences-of the-Model Minority Myth Written by: Julianne Hing Needs of Asian American Students Often Overlooked Written by: Esther Cepeda