The Model Minority Theory: The Cause Of An Overlooked Culture?

2401 words - 10 pages

The Model Minority theory is a concept that puts the assumption in the minds of people that all persons who are from Asian or of Asian decent are successful, smart, hard working, and model citizens who respect the authority of their country. The Model Minority theory became very apparent in 1966 when two major magazines, New York Times Magazine and U.S. New and World Report, each published articles that gave praise to the great achievements of Asian Americans (Fong 62.) While the theory might appear to give Asians praise for their hard work and success, in reality it covers up and marginalizes the real experiences Asian Americans face. For example, one of the ways the Model Minority theory harms the Asian American community is that it hides the fact that there are many Asian Americans living below or at the poverty line (Fong 62.) When it comes to academics it covers up the fact that many Asian American students struggle in school and do not get the help they need. It is also negative because it overlooks years of oppression Asian Americans face when first coming to the United States. Lastly, it creates a lot of racial tension between them and other ethnic groups (Fong 62.) With this I feel as though we should work to educate the American public about the true life of Asian Americans that the Model Minority theory masks, as it would better the life of all Asian Americans because it would uncover the great number of Asians that are overlooked by the theory.
The Model Minority theory might have formed based off of the post-1965 Asian immigrants who came to the United States. Many of these immigrants were well educated, could speak English, and held white-collar jobs. It also might have formed from Confucianism and their cultural values of always working hard and having respect for authority (Chou 221.) The Model Minority group is made up of anyone from: China, Japan, Korea, and India. The theory was initially used to describe Asians successful immigration and assimilation into the United States culture in the 1960s (Chou 220.) As time passed, however, the more modern idea of what Model Minority theory is known as today began to take shape.
Model Minority theory misleads people to think that all Asian Americans have a successful job and do not face any financial troubles. Due to this Asian Americans who do not have a have a high income, a good education, and an overall good quality of life are overlooked and marginalized. In fact, contrary to common belief, many Asian Americans do not have a good education or job (Fong 68.) When looking at the actual demographics of Asian Americans it is found that many of them have working class and low-wage jobs. The Model Minority theory over looks the fact that while Asian Americans do tend to have a higher annual income than most white families, they also have the highest rates of poverty (Fong 68.) These people and families might be excluded from programs aimed at helping people in need because they...

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