The “Model Minority” Myth victimizes all People of Color – including Asian-Americans

AAm Model Minority
Source: APSA via
I love Kim Tran’s post about the difficulties of teaching Asian American Studies to students who have swallowed the “Model (Asian) Minority Myth” hook, line and sinker and fervently believe in it entitled, “Asian Americans Aren’t ‘Basically White’.” pulls this myth apart too:

The Model Minority Myth — which, let us remember, is a myth — was invented for this explicit purpose: its first appearance in the American political zeitgeist was in a 1960’s New York Times Magazine article (“Success story: Japanese American style”) as a reference to Japanese American immigrants who overcame discrimination through alleged “perseverance”, in stated contrast to African Americans who were focused on overcoming discrimination through political action (i.e. the Civil Rights Movement). In other words, the Model Minority Myth has always been a fiction invented by Whiteness and has always been used as a cudgel to denigrate, belittle, or dismiss African American efforts to agitate for political equality, while simultaneously appropriating and limiting the roles that Asian Americans can politically inhabit.

…The Model Minority Myth is an overt and potent tool of white supremacy used to justify structural racism against virtually all communities of colour (including Asian Americans). For many of us who identify as descendants of the politicized Asian American Movement, dismantling the Model Minority Myth has been of tantamount importance.

Tran defines racism as “Racism = power + prejudice” and points out:

Asian American political campaigns at the height of the civil rights movement were always coalitionary, or working in solidarity with other communities of color.

Moreover, they had significant female leadership. They were guided by powerful women like Pat Sumi, Evelyn Yoshimura, Carmen Chow, Wilma Chan and of course Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs

Resistance is in our history. It is in our blood.

These truths are the reason Christina Xu kindled the flame that became the “Open Letter to Our Parents About Black Lives”, which Asians from many cultures cooperatively wrote to explain to their families why they endorse and stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

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