What is Model Minority? How Has It and Other Stereotypes Affected Asian-Americans?

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Who do we think of when “Model Minority” is mentioned? Asian Americans.  We think of them right away because they are considered the group whose members achieve a higher degree of success than the rest of the population. Smart, wealthy, hard-working, self-reliant, docile and submissive, are characteristics that describe the cultural expectation placed on Asian Americans. It is true that in many ways, Asian Americans have done very good socially and economically among the five major racial or ethnic groups in the United States. According to the 2000 Census Public Use Micro data Samples, Asian Americans are the highest in college degrees (42.9%), high skill occupations (34.6%), personal income ($20,000), etc. The same way positive Asian American stereotypes can be flattering, these stereotypes can bring many problems. They put extreme pressure on  those trying to succeed, because they are living up to very high expectations. According to Jennifer Lee, a sociology professor, “They feel like ethnic outliers and they feel like failures if they don’t live up to the standards.” Living under so much pressure could affect a person’s mental health. Recognizing that not all Asians are successful would help those struggling to live up to high expectations.

 

 

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