Throughout their history in America, Asian immigrants have struggled in many different ways to encourage this country to accept and respect the diversity of its citizens. Through efforts in labor strikes and military aid such as that in World War II, the American society has gradually moved to accept racial minorities. Asian today have much more freedom than when they first began traveling across the Pacific. However, many still find that they are unjustly viewed by society and treated as “strangers from a different shore” (474).
As a second generation Asian American, I have not experienced much discrimination, since I have grown up surrounded by the American language and culture. However, after reading Strangers from a Different Shore, I realized that Asian Americans today are experiencing a new type of prejudice: “The Myth of the ‘Model Minority’” (474).` This stems from Asians’ success in school and in their jobs. The stereotypical idea of “Asian parents” also contributes to this misconception. The media helped spread the idea of this “super minority.” The New Republic praised the “Triumph of Asian-Americans” as “America’s greatest success story,” and CBS’s 60 Minutes presented a glowing report on Asian’s achievements in academics (475). This misconception leads many teachers and employers to assume that all Asians are intelligent beings and little powerhouses of work.
Many Asians feel forced to conform to the stereotype, especially that of Asian working mostly in the scientific and technical fields instead of the humanities and social sciences. To be lumped together in a group leaves little freedom to pursue what one enjoys and finds is his or her strength. I have several Asians friends (not from Northgate High) who wish to study fashion, history, and poetry. However, because of the pressures of the Asian stereotype enforced by their teachers, counselors, and peers, they pursued the sciences instead.
In the political realm, President Reagan extolled Asian and Pacific Americans for carrying out the American dream, the principles of “the sacred worth of human life, religious faith, community, spirit and the responsibility of parents and schools to be teachers of tolerance, hard work, fiscal responsibility, cooperation, and love” (476). This led Reagan to make this statement: “it’s no wonder that the median incomes of Asian and Pacific-American families are much higher than the total American average” (478). As great as this high praise can be, much of it is made without considering a few important factors. For example, the overgeneralization that Asians make more than the average white was made without considering the geographical locations of the majority of Asian Americans. Most live in California, Hawaii, and New York, states which have higher incomes than other states in the United...