Asians and Asian Americans: A Glance

A compilation of our month long discussion on Asians and Asian Americans

First time I faced the “good Asian” tag, I wasn’t sure that it includes me. I was mistaken for an Indian more often than I could politely take. My understanding was “Asian” was used more for Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other SouthEast Asian ethnicities. But no, I was mistaken. As an Indian looking Nepali, I too was part of the “good Asian” brand of expectations.

And there were many expectations. Asian are the so called model minorities in America. Smart, highly educated with solid family structure and stayed away from trouble.

I was floored. It is flattering to be called a “model” of good behavior and success; but take some time and think about it, you will see that it is not so flattering after all.

This tag lumps all Asians into one group as if we age one monolithic group driven by same ideas and dreams. Our diversity is discounted and we are bound by an invisible chain.

When an Asian boy wants to be an actor or when an Asian girl wants to be a jazz musician, it is this perception of “model” behavior that adds to the pressure they feel from home to find more traditional pursuits like Medicine or Law.

Although nowadays you can see the number of Asians in art, television, movies and sports rising;compare that to their presence in say technology, it is negligible. There are about 2 million Indians in America, and how many have successfully transitioned into national mainstream in movies, music, sports etc?

The Chinese are the largest Asian community in America, how many are nationally known actors or musicians?

Other minorities too have to deal with this chain of public expectations and perceptions. For instance ask an African American boy or girl what career path they want to pursue. You will see that their choice or that their understanding of what thy can accomplish is strangely limited in this land of unlimited opportunities.

Where is the root of this chain? Why can’t there be a true freedom, no expectations and no judgments for all ethnicities?

Assimilation

It is futile to expect foreign born/ raised kids to be culturally pure and observant. The degree of purity depends on the definitions set by the parents, how they themselves were raised and their values. But the whole idea of pushing the young generation to follow on the path of their ancestors and ignore their surrounding culture is troubling.

We are born into a culture, religion and values set. Parents, relatives and the community shape us, but ultimately it is us- an individual who decides what to pick and what to ignore. In certain societies parents and elders do push youngsters to confirm, even then the individual decision counts.

To push a young person to follow their parents’ culture, while living amongst an entirely different culture creates “cultural and ethnic ghettos”. They live in an almost parallel universe and the clash between civilizations and cultures makes it’s difficult for them to integrate into their new homeland.

It also confuses them because here they are living in a country where personal freedom and valued, but at home and within their community their voice is ignored. How are they supposed to reconcile the difference and work so that they grow up to be responsible citizen of their new homeland rather then just being a good (insert ethnicity or religion here)?

You see this rift widening in Europe and parts of America. Ethnicities banding together and living in insular communities fractures a nation and crates parallel societies. Integration is difficult and the clash creates a permanent class of “outsiders”- and feeds alienation.

Instead of accepting these parallel societies, effort has to be made to truly integrate new comers and their families. Culture is important part of identity and diversity is good for a country but at a certain point different cultures have to come together and be one nation.

Nepali, Chinese , Hindi schools and culture lessons are welcomed and encouraged, but similar efforts are needed to make sure that the children and the immigrants know that they don’t have to feel like an outsider. An effort to integrate.

Most of us are descendants of immigrants/migrants. My ancestors moved to Nepal 3 or 4 hundred years ago, most definitely from north India. Over time they embraced Nepal and it’s culture and became part of the society. They did retain part of their culture and heritage, but embraced the new too.

Integration and assimilation over time is only natural. Resistance gives rise to fractured societies and ghettoes.

Family

Early this year, the American media was flush with excitement. A new species had been discovered- the Tiger Mom.

Amy Chua, successful Yale University professor and uber “Asian mom” of two daughters created a firestorm after claiming Chinese mothers are better than the rest in her Wall Street Journal article on virtues of Asian style parenting. Her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chided American moms for their permissive parenting style and counted the benefits of being strict and stern with kids.

All this riding on popular understanding that Asian kids, compared to other ethnic minorities, do well in school and are more disciplined- applying the model minority myth.

What about the kids?

Missing in this debate, the kids and their perspective.

I was raised by wannabe Tiger parents. Yes, you can see they failed and I am glad they did.

Parenting focused on raising young achievers and ultra focused kids denies the children their childhood and robs them the freedom of making mistakes. My parents wanted me to be a Doctor or an Engineer. I hated math and had no interest in science. But the intense pressure and the environment where you feel lees worthy if you do not measure up to the “other” kids made me hate school altogether. I was almost held back for a year in 9th grade and failed every math test in junior high.

And there are hundreds like me scattered all over Asia and in Asian families in America. The push for success and achievement is actually hurting kids. They are forced to value success over honest hard work, achievement over learning and experience; and in many cases pushed to follow a career path chosen by the family instead of the freedom to dream and choose.

There is no denying that children need structure and discipline. They need guidance and encouragement too. Forcing them to abandon simple pleasures of childhood for the sake of future filled with grand achievements is wrong.

Complicit Media

The media circus following Amy Chua’s Wall Street Journal article and her book made me wonder why is the mainstream media in this country incapable of examining the other side when it comes to popular myths regarding the minorities.

The picture of smart Asians and model minority myth is so appealing that they went along with Tiger parenting and failed to show the damage it does to kids. Only after some outraged parents raised their voices, there was some attempt to examine.

Imagine a mother from any other ethnicity or religious group had tried to claim that their style of parenting is better than the rest, on national media! But the good Asian myth was allowed to perpetuate.

Strong discipline and moral foundation is necessary to set up kids for future success but Tiger style parenting focused on success and achievement is nothing but a patenting gulag and is nothing to be celebrated.

Hope the next time an Asian fad comes along, the media will respond differently.

Failed Integration

Sex selective abortion, female infanticide and discrimination against a girl child is pushing gender imbalance in many parts of Asia, specially India and China.

Reports from India’s latest census shows that millions of girls are “missing” because of selective abortion and infanticide. China’s one child policy is clashing with the country’s deep cultural preference for boys, forcing many families to go to the extreme.

It is easy to say that this troubling and inhumane development is confined to Asia and cannot happen in the western world.

Wrong. Immigration/migration has brought this problem into America and Europe. Selective abortion is practiced in number of Asian communities living in the US, as this Slate article shows. In the UK too selective abortion is taking place, according to this BBC report.

This problem has deep roots-boosted by specific religious and culture practices. The fact that families in US and UK are aborting baby girls shows that the education and exposure to different ideas and lifestyle are poor deterrents.

This also shows the failure to integrate in a meaningful way.

A family living in America or Europe, choosing to kill a baby girl shows that we are failing to integrate immigrants when it comes to accepting specific values, and are satisfied when we see outward signs of integration like clothing styles or food habits.

The values- respecting life, honoring women’s role in society and equality, they are in fact human values, not just Western values; but in countries like India and China they are being overshadowed and the West they are at least practiced with force in public sphere.

So why are certain communities holding out on these human values? Why are they reluctant to let go of old ideas concerning gender and equality?

Caste discrimination has also been imported into American from South Asia. Even with increased awareness in the community about the ills of discrimination and the need to promote fairness and democracy, the centuries old habits are still alive.If you compare gender bias with caste discrimination, in Nepali context, it is fair to say that the former is nowadays more acceptable than the latter. Thanks to tireless work of the equality advocates, caste is now a sufficiently taboo issue in major cities and even in rural areas, the people are getting the message. Gender bias however remains persistent.Among Nepali immigrants in the USA, these issues present a strange dilemma. Majority of them are aware that caste bias is demeaning and unacceptable, and yet far too many carry the relics of past and bring it to their new homeland. It may not be overt but behind the polite conversations, the issue stays alive especially when it comes to marriage and important social events like religious observations.

Couple of months back, I had moderated panel discussion on caste and the observations of one of speakers really startled me. Bias is present even among the educated and enlightened, and it is stronger against the so called “untouchables”. Other participant remembered a community picnic where the “lower caste” members felt left out and ate separately.

It is sad to see that educated, aware Nepalis choose to carry burden of caste. It is even worse when they claim “preserve” it as part of their Nepali identity.

As I have discussed earlier, identity crisis is very real for immigrants. In an effort to preserve their heritage and share it with their foreign born children, often they keep outdated practices-like caste and gender bias alive.

Observant Nepalis in America, know caste is wrong and yet they carry on with it in one way or the other. Objecting to an inter caste marriage, checking on guests’ caste credentials discreetly at events, in fact objecting to mixed marriages can also be seen as part of the caste problem. A problem that does not allow one human to see other human as equal.

While caste gets the discreet treatment, gender bias,is out in the open. Somehow it is perfectly ok to push women and girls to confirm to rigid standards, while proclaiming masculine superiority. And the bias gets dose of immigrant confusion.

Like caste, gender bias also often gets included in “our culture” stance. Families forget part of their heritage that promoted feminine equality and respect and choose to carry on the diluted message of bias and discrimination.

Honest integration into the American system could soften these biases. I am not saying that they will go away, but learning the principles of equality, fairness and democracy- not only on government but also in relationships, can provide a push, perhaps encouraging them to see the parts of their heritage that they have neglected. The part that is against caste and gender discrimination.

Asian Americans in Public

If you watch randomly selected major television network in America, you get a very twisted idea about the country and it’s culture- that the country is almost all white, white collar mega rich land where everyone is thin, and look better than most models.

Prime Time programming at NBC,CBS, ABC and FOX mostly have Caucasian characters as the leads. Some have tried to fill the gap by pushing in some black and Hispanic characters in between but they don’t get the meaty and leading roles.

I have been a devoted, almost fanatical fan of ABC’s Desperate Housewives. They did try to bring in an African American family as series regulars but after a season dropped them. Yes, they do have Eva Longoria’a family The Solis’ as the “Latino” representation, but is that enough? The show ignores two large sections of minorities in America- African Americans and the Asians. A youngster following the show, what is the picture of America in their imagination? All white with one Latino family!

News networks are no better. Crucial 8-10 PM hour are, with one exception- MSNBC has Rachel Maddow at 9; all white males. CNN has Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan, Fox has Bill O’Reilly and Hannity, and MSNBC has Ed Schultz and Maddow. Women, minorities cannot be trusted to shape and debate issues facing America and the world?

Exclusive club of American mainstream media, gives an impression of America that is so skewed and false, it begs a question, is entertainment/news only for the delusional? Or are the minorities too insignificant to be embraced as part of the country?

Politics and Policy Making

Asian Americans are about 5% of total US population. Although they are spread out across the country, California, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, Washington have number of large concentrated Asian American communities.

Previously we discussed how the community is portrayed in the mainstream media and, their disproportionate academic success and how it affects the way the community is viewed by the larger society.

The “model minority” myth means that issues like poverty, access to job opportunities, domestic violence, gender and religious issues facing the community do not get as much attention.

Political empowerment of Asians and Asian Americans is also of concern because compared to their success in medicine, technology or business, the community’s involvement in local and national level politics is minuscule, and erratic.

In states where there are large concentrations of Asian Americans like California and New Jersey they have found some success. San Francisco just elected it’s first Asian American mayor and in local level too Asian Americans are visible politically. In states like Texas (unlikely, I know) their participation is encouraging.

See this graph by University of Texas on race and Texas legislature. Asian participation is 1%, and they make about 3.8% of the state’s population.

The other side of this limited but encouraging success is the in states without concentrated Asian American population, their presence in state and local politics is dismal. Does this mean that their success still depends on large community backup and the country still does not see them as mainstream or is this different for Republicans?

What about Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley?

Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley’s success, that too in the South-often misunderstood and with long history of racial bias, is often used as an indicator of how Asian Americans are starting to make their presence in politics. In a way, that is true. They are of Indian heritage and have made their name in national level too.

The flip side of their success, they are hard Republicans, a party which in recent times is known more for it’s anti-immigrant stance and conservative religious values. Their appeal among Asian Americans, beyond the wow factor, is questionable. Even among Indian Americans, their policies could be a deterrent.

Their success is based heavily on their policies that court the Republican base. If they were Democrats pursuing liberal agenda, could they have produced similar success?

 

To conclude, it is clear that like any other ethnic group in America, Asians and Asian Americans have struggles and joys. It is unfair to look at them through the film of “exotic over achievers” and perpetuate the “model minority” myth.

Asians and Asian Americans are part of the American reality and they need to be accepted as such. Just like any other American.

 

(This concludes our series on Asians and Asian Americans.Thank you for stopping by)

What is Twitter, Really?

Ok ok before you pound me with details and all the cool things Twitter is, please, I do use the social media too quiet regularly. Sometimes too regularly. My question is more about what this service, this tool really means.

During height of Arab discontent earlier this year, social media utilities like Twitter, Facebook, blogs played crucial role in organizing people, spreading the message and informing the people and the world of what was happening. They were one of the many pillars that supported the movement, from Tunisia to Egypt and Syria.

The struggle is alive, Egypt is not happy and Syria is still captive and social media is a big part.

Where is social media in Nepal and Nepali issues?

I am not sure. Earlier this year, a well known Nepali blog Mysansar was threatened by Nepal Press Council, after Chaudhary Group complained to them that the blog had maligned their name.

Even though blogs do not fall under the Council’s jurisdiction, they overreached and engaged in a behavior that is way beneath their stature. Chaudhary Group also emerged as this industrial powerhouse incapable of respecting free speech and all too eager to flex it’s muscles to intimidate dissenters.

Now the CEO of the same Chaudhary Group has joined the Twitter family.Welcome and here are the hard questions? Or may be not.

He received a red carpet treatment, some tweets welcoming him read like cheesy fan mails.

And some more. Although someone questioned weather he will be able to handle the democratic playing field of social media, nothing uncomfortable, nothing challenging.

I have nothing personally against Mr Chaudhary, it is the conduct of his company that bothered me. Among his followers are some well known bloggers and journalists. So far, they have not asked him a single question about the Mysansar incident.

So then what is the point of Twitter and other social media tool? Citizens in Arab world are using it to demand democracy, what are we doing with it? Other than rolling out the red carpet for an industrialist who company has no respect for free speech.

And to add to the strange situation, Nepali tweetosphere was outraged when Mysansar was bullied. Now we have the opportunity to question the company and it’s leader about the incident and everyone seems too star struck to utter a sensible word. Pitiful!

Monsanto Mania

Short break from discussing Asian American issues, here to share background information on Monsanto-the global biotech giant which is a hot media commodity in Kathmandu right now because  (Nepali Times)

“In a USAID press release last month announcing a partnership between the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and Monsanto on a pilot maize production project in Nepal, we heard the same tired arguments of more nutritious food, increased yields and food security, and the requirement of less chemicals.”

What could go wrong? A global giant wants to partner with Nepal and help the “poor” produce more and earn more. Well, this gentle giant is not so gentle and the outrage is valid.

According to SourceWatch, Monsanto is a rabid anti-organic farming, pesticide loving, lobbying genius of a company.They are also very much into harvesting fear, as this Vanity Fair investigation shows (May 2008), treating their seeds as patented software-never to be stored or shared. Use it and pay again if you want it for next year-thus altering what farmers have been doing for generations-saving seeds for next season.

It has been named in 50 cancer lawsuits and India has filed bio-piracy lawsuit against the company.Monsanto has filed numerous lawsuits against US farmers. In 2005 alone the company has $10 million budget and 75 staff members “devoted solely to investigating and prosecuting farmers” (Center for Food Safety).

They have good friends  in Washington.

“If GMOs are indeed responsible for massive sickness and death, then the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated their introduction holds a uniquely infamous role in human history. That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto’s attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto’s vice president and chief lobbyist.

This month Michael Taylor became the senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. He is now America’s food safety czar. What have we done?” (Jeffery Smith, Huffington Post, July 23,2009)

And Monsanto is serious about lobbying, this year they have spent almost $6 million pushing their case ($8 million last year).

controversy has pushed USAID to play cat and mouse.

“In the wake of media reports that the hybrid maize seeds produced by Monsanto, a U.S.-based giant seed company, are being introduced in Nepal and a subsequent protest campaign, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said that it has not made any decision about the matter yet though the options were discussed with the Nepal government.

In its Facebook page, USAID Nepal wrote on Friday that no new programmes have been entered into by the US government with the government of Nepal to introduce hybrid maize seed as some media articles have suggested. “We have discussed options with the government, but no decisions have been made yet…” (The Himalayan Times, November 19,2011)

Well, good then. Lets keep it under consideration until the giants change their ways.

Asian American LGBT Community

Acceptance and respect.We are told time and again that these virtues are the bedrock of any democratic and civil society. But when it comes to minorities, especially the LGBT community, the society is still struggling-although in past decade or so the tide has changed significantly in favour of the community.

Among Asian Americans, LGBT issue most often comes with the narrative that, for Asians it is doubly hard to identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or come out as transgender person because of cultural constraints and also because of the “model minority” expectations.

Asian cultures, from India to Japan, from Indonesia to Pakistan; are family centeric. Loyalty to the family and fulfilling obligations towards the elders and parents are perhaps the most important duties of a child. Individualism, so celebrated in the West, is largely seen as an undesirable personality trait.

Changing times and globalization have shifted long held values, but the basics still remain. For Asian Americans, these values mean that asserting one’s sexuality and gender identity-different from the heterosexual norm, is challenging and presents unique obstacles not encountered by other ethnic groups.

But some sociologists say that since sexuality is not used as an identity issue openly among Asian families; coming out as gay,lesbian, bisexual or transgender may be a more private affair and thus less public stress. (Read Gay Asian American by Lisa Wong)

And  the process of asserting identity and getting accepted different within the Asian American community since there is so much diversity-religious, cultural and the level of exposure and assimilation. Gender also plays a big role because certain cultures are more restrictive towards them than the others.

South Asian Americans 

Here is a profile of couple of South Asian American lesbian women, which illustrates their experience in coming out and living openly. Quiet a leap forward because these women come from a culture, although not overtly anti-gay but has deeply biased attitude towards women and their role in society.

Growing number of LGBT advocacy and networking organizations geared towards South Asians is also a positive move and a sign that the South Asian as well as the Asian American community is slowly but surely opening up.

For Further Reading

http://www.asian-nation.org/gay.shtml

The following is an article entitled “Young, Gay, and APA,” originally published in the July 17, 1999 issue of AsianWeek Magazine, written by Joyce Nishioka. It captures many of the obstacles and challenges that LGBT Asian Americans go through as they search for acceptance and happiness with the multiple forms of their personal identities.

 

 

Dr. So states that in her work and research, the definition of “identity” is different in many Asian cultures. “To a lot of Asian gays, they’re gay but it’s not their identity. It’s not choosing one or the other,” Dr. So said. “In America, people wear their sexuality as their primary identity. That’s because they’re fighting the dominant norm of heterosexuality. To a lot of other countries, sex is private.”
Dr. Connie So, Senior Lecturer of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington, has been teaching Asian American Studies since 1989.
Trikone is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people of South Asian descent. Founded in 1986 in the San Francisco Bay Area, Trikone is the first group of its kind in the world. South Asians affiliated with Trikone trace their ethnicities to one of the following places: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan,Sri Lanka, and Tibet.
The South Asian Lesbian & Gay Association of New York City (SALGA) serves to promote awareness, tolerance, acceptance, empowerment and safe spaces for sexual minorities and people of all gender identities, who trace their heritage to South Asiaor who identify as South Asian. Our mission is to enable community members to establish cultural visibility and take a stand against oppression and discrimination in all its forms.  We pledge to encourage leadership development, provide multi-generational support, work towards immigration advocacy, address health issues such as HIV / AIDS, and foster political involvement in the interest of creating a more tolerant society.


Asian Americans in Politics and Public Policy

Asian Americans are about 5% of total US population. Although they are spread out across the country, California, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, Washington have number of large concentrated Asian American communities.

Previously we discussed how the community is portrayed in the mainstream media and, their disproportionate academic success and how it affects the way the community is viewed by the larger society.

The “model minority” myth means that issues like poverty, access to job opportunities, domestic violence, gender and religious issues facing the community do not get as much attention.

Political empowerment of Asians and Asian Americans is also of concern because compared to their success in medicine, technology or business, the community’s involvement in local and national level politics is minuscule, and erratic.

In states where there are large concentrations of Asian Americans like California and New Jersey they have found some success. San Francisco just elected it’s first Asian American mayor and in local level too Asian Americans are visible politically. In states like Texas (unlikely, I know) their participation is encouraging.

See this graph by University of Texas on race and Texas legislature. Asian participation is 1%, and they make about 3.8% of the state’s population.

The other side of this limited but encouraging success is the in states without concentrated Asian American population, their presence in state and local politics is dismal. Does this mean that their success still depends on large community backup and the country still does not see them as mainstream or is this different for Republicans?

What about Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley?

Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley’s success, that too in the South-often misunderstood and with long history of racial bias, is often used as an indicator of how Asian Americans are starting to make their presence in politics. In a way, that is true. They are of Indian heritage and have made their name in national level too.

The flip side of their success, they are hard Republicans, a party which in recent times is known more for it’s anti-immigrant stance and conservative religious values. Their appeal among Asian Americans, beyond the wow factor, is questionable. Even among Indian Americans, their policies could be a deterrent.

Their success is based heavily on their policies that court the Republican base. If they were Democrats pursuing liberal agenda, could they have produced similar success?

Multi Cultural Homes

Last year I posted this on mixed marriages and inter-cultural relationships for Global Voices Online. It was quite a learning experience. I came across couple of blogs on mixed marriages where one of the partner is a Nepali.

For a year now, I have regularly visited three of those blogs-

Musings from an American-Nepali Household (American Wife)

Bideshi Biya (Nepali Husband)

White Girl in a Sari (Australian Wife)

All three blogs have different character and nature, but one thing is common-the mixed marriage situation (from what they discuss) is surprisingly smooth and accommodating. Well, surprising at least for me because growing up and even in adulthood I was under the impression that in situations like this, there is always a winner and loser. The losing culture gets sidelined and forgotten.Instead, the way they managed to navigate cultural and religious differences made me question my commitment to my heritage.

As a Nepali living in America, raising an American born daughter, I have always made an effort to be as authentic as possible, while being open to my surroundings. But I do carry pretty heavy baggage with regards to Nepali symbols and my feminist ideals. Most often, they don’t go together. I hate wearing a “pote” or a “chura”, and “sindoor” is also a no no.

So, it struck me to see that the lovely American wife in the America-Nepali household wears a “pote”. She is embracing part of my culture that I,native daughter, have ignored. I don’t know what that says about me, but she does get hugs for her openness.

White Girl in a Sari (Casey) has also embraced Nepali culture and language. She celebrated Dashain in Australia with her husband and group of Nepali friends, and even managed to enjoy goat curry( part of Dashain festivities).

Our Dashain celebration was a bit Americanized, with pumpkin pie and no goat curry.

Bideshi Biya (Nepali husband) is also very open about being flexible regarding cultural assimilation and integration.

These three homes represent a pixel on larger mixed marriages/multi cultural homes picture, they are an interesting study on culture and what it means to “be”. They show that It is possible for cultures to coexist and thrive together.

Being a native-born does not make one’s affiliation dearer and embracing the foreign does not have compromise your true self. It is how your live it, how you love it and how you preserve it that counts.

Asians and Asian Americans in the Media (Links)

On the model minority, over achievers myth

What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test-taking ends? by Wesley Yang

“Asian-American success is typically taken to ratify the American Dream and to prove that minorities can make it in this country without handouts. Still, an undercurrent of racial panic always accompanies the consideration of Asians, and all the more so as China becomes the destination for our industrial base and the banker controlling our burgeoning debt. But if the armies of Chinese factory workers who make our fast fashion and iPads terrify us, and if the collective mass of high-­achieving Asian-American students arouse an anxiety about the laxity of American parenting, what of the Asian-American who obeyed everything his parents told him? Does this person really scare anyone?”

Bullying/education

Story: Are You Picking On Me? by Helen I. Hwang

Bullying includes verbal taunting, physical assaults, exclusion from a peer group, spreading rumors and cyber bullying — and Asian Americans are the most frequently bullied ethnic group, according to a 2004 study conducted with nearly 1,400 students. Psychologists believe Asians are particularly vulnerable to bullying because of stereotypes of being submissive. Sometimes the bullying of Asian youths also lends itself to an ugly cycle, where they become bullies of others.

Unraveling the Model Minority Myth of Asian American Students by Brandon Yoo

The model minority myth ignores the heterogeneity of Asian American groups and their significantly varied levels of success. While many South and East Asian American groups such as Asian Indians and Japanese have been successful in receiving high school, bachelors, and advanced degrees, most Southeast Asian Americans including Hmong, Cambodians, and Laotians never finished high school-at times, rates comparable if not lower than other racial minority groups (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004).

Entertainment/Media

SHATTERING ASIAN AMERICAN STEREOTYPES by Screen Actors Guild

We have all seen the Asian stereotypes in film and television: the nerdy student, the submissive lotus blossom, the sinister Fu-Manchu or Dragon Lady type. On May 10, 2011, in honor of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Screen Actors Guild Affirmative Action & Diversity invited a group of distinguished Asian American entertainment industry professionals to the SAG national headquarters in Los Angeles to discuss how to overcome the stereotypical portrayal of — and lack of portrayals of— Asians in television and film.