Summary: Because Asian-Americans are often better off educationally and economically than whites and other minorities, many people believe in the racial stereotype that Asian-Americans are the model minority. This stereotype argues that Asians are naturally smarter or always fare better because of their strong “family values” and work ethic, with some arguing they are a “superminority” and have been “outwhiting the whites.” This CNN news clips analyzes and critiques the model minority stereotype. The video accurately notes there are no biological or genetic differences between Asians and any other so-called race (see video on race as a social construction). It cites psychological research from Hazel Markus (featured in the video) documenting how racial/cultural identity does shape some Asian-Americans' educational performance. The video further adds that the Asian-American classification is comprised of individuals from more than 12 countries, and that not all Asian immigrants or Asian-Americans performed equally well in education or economic success (a distinction that the stereotype ignores). However, the video fails to note the recent changes in Asian immigration that also affect educational and economic differences between Asians, whites, and other racial minorities. Specifically, many early Asian immigrants came to the US with relatively higher levels of education, English language skills, and occupational skills. More recent Asian immigrants tend to have less educational and economic resources, which again, is overlooked by the racial stereotype. Viewers are encouraged to consider: how does this seemingly positive racial stereotype actually hurt Asians (and other minorities)? As noted in this video interview with an Asian-American advocate, the stereotype prevents resources from being directed into the Asian-American community because "people are not aware of the critical needs" that exist. It also hurts other racial minorities (e.g., African-Americans) because the stereotype gets used to legitimate the opportunities of racial minorities in the US and to argue against the need for resources distributed to those communities.
Submitted By: Paul Dean