More on the ‘model minority’ myth and CU’s racist column

The Boulder Daily Camera today ran a front-page story about the recent study about Asian Americans and the model minority myth.

The study found that because Asians are not all high-achieving academic wiz-kids, and that the diversity of the Asian communities (we’re not just Japanese, Chinese and Koreans, but also Laotian, Hmong, Cambodian, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, and so on) and the range of generations from first-generation immigrants with poor English skills to fourth, fifth or sixth generations of Americans, leads to a reality that’s less modeled and more uneven. Not all Asian Americans go into the top Ivy-League schools, either: a growing number is opting to go to community colleges instead of major universities.

The article quotes CU professor Daryl Maeda, an assistant professor of ethnic studies:

Another part of the “model minority myth” — that Asian-American students should perform well in science, technology, engineering and math fields — also can be unfair to students, Maeda said.

“Some are great at music or English,” Maeda said. “And if they don’t live up to the model minority myth it puts an extra pressure on them, giving them the idea that they somehow aren’t good enough in their endeavors.”

The article connects the dots and links the stereotype to the racist February article by a CU student on the journalism department’s Campus Press website:

The model minority myth was at the root of a racial controversy this year on the Boulder campus.

In February, the Campus Press student newspaper published student Max Karson’s column, “If it’s war the Asians want … It’s war they’ll get.” Outraged students said the piece that claimed Asians “hate us all” was a failed attempt at satire. Karson’s column referenced capturing Asians, and he wrote, “If you’re not sure if someone is an Asian, give them a calculus problem to do in their head.”

“That is a perfect example of how the model minority myth continues to circulate and has a lot of power,” Maeda said. “Because Asian-Americans are well-represented in higher education, they are believed to be immune from any of the problems of racial discrimination.”

Kudos to the Camera’s editors for taking this national survey (the NYT ran its story about the report on June 10) and taking the time to localize it with the CU controversy.

(Thanks to Leland Rucker for pointing out the Camera story)

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