2016 Undergraduate Awards

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Asians and Asian Americans are considered the most well-to-do racialized groups in twenty-first century U.S. Their identity and ontology are incontrovertibly influenced by the model minority myth, a stereotype that envelops them as successful and as overcoming racial discrimination. This paper argues that the model minority myth exemplifies how putatively benevolent racial tropes are nonetheless racist against all communities of colour. Thus, Asian Americans are positioned as the ‘model minority’, as opposed to certain ‘problem minorities’, in order to further subjugate Black and Brown bodies. The myth is also problematic for Asian Americans themselves, demonstrating that to exist as an Asian resident in the U.S. is to live a life still marked by marginality, a life where one’s self-worth and ability must be navigated through the model minority paradigm, and a life as an ethnic sub-group included under the all-encompassing umbrella of Asian Americanness as little more than an afterthought.


Image: "Exhibition_Stereotypes" by Neon Tommy. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.