John Oliver discusses the large and diverse group of people who fall under the term “Asian American”, the history of the model minority stereotype, and why our conversations on the subject need to be better-informed.
“Smart.” “Hard-working.” “Nice.” Those were among the adjectives that respondents offered up in a recent poll when asked to describe Asian Americans.
The poll, conducted by the nonprofit Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH), was another all-too-familiar reminder that Asian Americans are still perceived as the “model minority.”
Since the end of World War II, this myth about Asian Americans and their perceived collective success has been used as a racial wedge — to minimize the role racism plays in the struggles of other minority groups, such as Black Americans.
Characterizing Asian Americans as a model minority flattens the diverse experiences of Asian Americans into a singular, narrow narrative. And it paints a misleading picture about the community that doesn’t align with current statistics.
Here’s a look at some common misconceptions driven by the model minority myth.
Myth: Asian Americans are a single monolithic group
Currently, more than 22 million people of Asian descent live in the U.S., making up approximately 7% of the nation’s population. They trace their heritage to different regions around the world, with people of East Asian and Southeast Asian descent making up the largest shares, though no group makes up a majority. More than 1.5 million Pacific Islanders, who descend from Micronesia, Melanesia or Polynesia, live in the U.S. as well.
Academics and activists trace the term “Asian American” to 1968, when students at the University of California, Berkeley, founded the Asian American Political Alliance. At the time, the group sought to unite students of Japanese, Chinese and Filipino descent to fight for political and social recognition.
“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” (AAPI) is a term that has its roots in the 1980s and ’90s, when the U.S. Census Bureau used the “Asian Pacific American” classification to group Asians, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders together. In 1997, the bureau disaggregated the categories into “Asian” and “Pacific Islander.”
Myth: Asian Americans are high earning and well educated
Asian Americans have a median household income of around $78,000 a year, which is higher than the national median of about $66,000. However, that overall statistic obscures large differences among different Asian-origin groups.
These economic disparities are partially driven by similar disparities in education levels among Asian Americans. The highest-earning groups — Indian American and Taiwanese American households — also have the highest levels of education, while the lowest-earning groups have comparatively lower levels of education.
In fact, a 2018 Pew Research Center study found that Asian Americans were the most economically divided racial or ethnic group in the U.S., with Asian Americans in the top 10th of the income distribution making 10.7 times more than those in the bottom 10th.
Myth: Asian Americans immigrate to the U.S. in the “right” way
The Asian American community has the highest proportion of immigrants of any ethnic or racial group in the United States. Yet, Asian Americans are often overlooked in debates about immigration reform.
Asians have a wide range of reasons for immigrating to the U.S., including those coming as refugees or asylum-seekers. Out of the almost 11 million estimated undocumented immigrants in the U.S., around 1.5 million (14%) are from Asia, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Heightened immigration enforcement has also impacted Asian Americans. From 2015 to 2018, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested about 15,000 immigrants from Asia, according to a report by the nonprofit Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
The report also found that Southeast Asian immigrants were three to four times more likely to be deported for old criminal convictions compared with other immigrant groups. Out of the approximately 16,000 Southeast Asians with final removal orders in that period, more than 13,000 had removal orders that were based on old criminal convictions.
Myth: Asian Americans face less systemic racism and discrimination
Since the coronavirus pandemic started, hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans have increased. In an April survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 32% of Asian American adults — a greater percentage than any other racial or ethnic group — said that they feared someone might threaten or physically attack them.
But anti-Asian bias and discrimination are not new to the pandemic. To understand the current climate, it’s important to look at historical context. In past periods of national tension, especially during times when the U.S. has been at war with Asian countries, anti-Asian racism has similarly risen.
Myth: Asian Americans are fairly represented in leadership positions
Asian Americans are underrepresented in these positions of power, holding about 3% of these positions in comparison with composing 7% of the U.S. population, a report from The New York Times found last year.
More specifically, Asian Americans have the lowest degree of representation in political office compared with any other racial or ethnic group.
Asian Americans are even underrepresented in states with a high concentration of Asian American residents, like New York and California, according to a report by the Reflective Democracy Campaign.
Especially since the start of collective activism among Asian Americans in the 1960s, Asian Americans have had a rich history of political activism and involvement. But that history has not always translated to greater representation in political leadership.
While music festivals remain a distant memory in most parts of the world, a full-scale Ultra Music Festival event went on in Taiwan on Saturday, November 14th. The event, which took place at Dajie Riverside Park in Taipei, was billed as a part of Road to Ultra, the long-running series of one-day festival events in cities around the world created and founded by the team behind the famous Miami electronic dance music festival.
The Ultra event in Taiwan was headlined by Swedish progressive house maestro Alesso and featured performances by LA-based duo Slander, Israeli production pair Vini Vici, and America DJ Kayzo as well as regional supporting acts Junior, RayRay, and Pei Pei. It welcomed crowds of thousands to enjoy a full music festival experience complete with lavish stage production, pyrotechnics, and fireworks in addition to live painting demonstrations, global street food, and a graphic art wall created by Taiwanese designers. The event was streamed live online to a global audience.
The successful festival serves as a big win for the Ultra organizers, whose Covid-imposed cancellation of Ultra’s flagship Miami event in early March was among the first in a cascade of cancellations that saw much of the global live music industry to screech to a halt over the ensuing weeks.
As the United States struggles with its nastiest spike to date and the prospect of a full-blown music festival remains entirely out of the question, Taiwan has had immense success in curbing the spread of the coronavirus. As of the end of October, the East Asian country had gone 200 days without a locally transmitted COVID-19 case.
Source: Live For Live Music
The Notorious B.I.G. was made a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tonight during an induction ceremony broadcast on HBO. Biggie Smalls was inducted by Diddy, who signed the rapper to the then-fledgling Bad Boy Records in 1993, and was also honored by JAY-Z, Nas, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, in addition to his family: his mother Voletta Wallace, daughter Tyanna Wallace, and son C.J. Wallace.
“Big just wanted to be biggest, he wanted to be the best, he wanted to have influence and impact people in a positive way, and that clearly has been done all over the world,” Diddy said. “Nobody has come close to the way Biggie sounds, to the way he raps, to the frequency that he hits. Tonight we are inducting the greatest rapper of all time into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Notorious B.I.G. representing Brooklyn, New York, we up in here!”
Nas discussed how Biggie opened doors for New York rappers. “Rap music is all about who’s gonna be the king,” he said. “The West Coast, they was sellin’ millions of records, and before Big, I felt like there was only so far New York rap could go as far as sales. Biggie changed all of that.”
The segment closed with Biggie’s children—daughter Tyanna and son C.J. (who has previously worked as an actor and released his own music for the first time in August). “Our father was one of the founding fathers of hip-hop. He helped revolutionize what was a young art form for the Black community and the world,” C.J. said. “I’m honored to share his name and his dedication to Black music, creativity, self-expression, and Black freedom. I love you, Meemaw. Thanks for teaching us who Christopher Wallace was as a son, friend, poet, artist, and father. We love you Meemaw. We love you dad. Brooklyn, we did it!”
Biggie is joined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2020 by Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Whitney Houston, T. Rex, the Doobie Brothers, and Ahmet Ertegun Award winners Jon Landau and Irving Azoff. The in-memoriam segment included a tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen.
Eddie Huang has just announced the official closing of the bao shop that started it all. Opened in 2009, Huang and his close friends/partners set out to tell their story through food, via delicious pork belly buns (gua bao) to be exact, and Baohaus in New York City‘s Lower East Side was born. Two years later, Baohaus moved to a larger location in East Village where they remained up until now.
The popularity of his New York establishment has aided in catapulting Huang into the fields in which he has always believed saw the least bit of Asian-American presence — Television, film, and literature — to which he has now all successfully offered his voice to. Huang points out that it was not an easy decision with, “We held out as long as we could, but we have decided to close. Shouts to the customers that ran in thinking we were open, it means a lot. It’s been a wild and fulfilling 10-year ride with Baohaus but I’d be lying if I said ‘I can’t believe what’s happened.’”
In the Instagram post, Huang shouted out his team, plugged his upcoming film Boogie, quoted Raekwon, and paid his respects to Prodigy and Anthony Bourdain. And with that, Baohaus turned on their glowing-blue neon sign for the last time. It’s on to the next adventure for the Human Panda.
Laney College in Oakland confirmed that they are aware of allegations of “racist and xenophobic messages” from one of their faculty members about the pronunciation of a student’s name.
According to an email chain, which was later posted onto social media, professor Matthew Hubbard had asked student Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen to change her name as it “sounds like an insult” in English.
“Your name in English sounds like F**k Boy,” Hubbard adds. “If I lived i Vietnam and my name in your language sounded like Eat a D**k, I would change it to avoid embarrassment both on my part and on the part of the people who had to say it.
“I understand you are offended, but you need to understand your name is an offensive sound in my language.”
The emails were posted onto Instagram by the student’s sister along with a video of the professor only referring to the student as P Nguyen.
“As a professor, he should be trying to learn her name and culture and not try to white wash her name. My sister graduated high school thinking she can finally be able to use her name.
“I love that my parents want to keep my culture alive by keeping our Vietnamese name. If you can’t say it then ask.”