Tag Archives: Model minority

Model Minority: Do the Math. The Myth and The Consequences.

Model Minority, Do the Math, Documentary film, trailer, JadeLuckClub, Jade Luck Club

Check out the trailer here.
By co-producers, Teja Arboleda and Darby Li Po Price.

Model Minority: Do the Math reveals the impact of the model minority myth on the experiences and perspectives of Asian American (AA) college students. The myth is a complex and contradictory stereotype of AAs as academic over-achievers. While many believe the stereotype is positive, it causes many problems. Asian Americans are overlooked for affirmative action and academic assistance. Tracked by parents, counselors, and social expectations to excel in math-intensive fields, despite their preferences, they struggle to balance personal goals and mental health. 

The myth diverts attention from systematic structural racism by emphasizing individualism, and pitting AAs against other groups. Viewed as too competitive and taking over colleges, AAs face racial resentment, discrimination, and hate crimes. Model Minority overcomes misconceptions of AA students.

Model Minority timely coincides with national priorities and debates on how to increase educational performance and economic participation. It engages school reform, equal opportunity, multiculturalism, race, parenting, and democracy.
We will compare the experiences and perspectives of AA college students, faculty, and staff of various ethnic backgrounds in Boston, Chicago, Berkeley and Oakland. In Chicago and Boston, AA students and communities are less numerous, and less integrated into campus curriculum and life than in Berkeley and Oakland. The narrator will reveal connections between personal stories and the myth.

Outcomes: To increase understanding of how the model minority myth impacts AAs. Increase knowledge of the diversity of AA experiences, viewpoints, aspirations, abilities, and needs. Include AAs in debates about educational reform, equal opportunity, and affirmative action.

Model Minority Myth – Workshops

In conjunction with using the documentary in the classroom, consider having us facilitate discussion on your campus or workplace.

In The Works

Recently presented at Univ Chicago, IL, November 1st, and at the National Association for Multicultural Education national conference, in Chicago, on November 3rd. 2011.
Continue the discussion on our FaceBook page, Model Minority Myth Buster here.


Here’s another video on same topic:

In Chapter 8 of 18, Korean American Community Foundation (www.kacfny.org) executive director Kyung Yoon shares why it is so important to disspell the Asian-American model minority myth. As a stereotype, the myth misleads communities, limiting need awareness, leading to resource allocation shortfalls. View more at http://www.captureyourflag.com.


How Asian Americans Are Portrayed in U.S. Media. Who Should Be the Next Asian Old Spice Guy?

Asian Americans Portrayal in Media TV Commercials JadeLuckClub Calgon Ancient Chinese Secret Laundry Service Dry CleanersThank you to children’s author of the excellent The Great Wall of Lucy Wu Wendy Shang for sending me this link. And yes, we both grew up “Asian Spotting” on TV because … there just weren’t many Asians on the small screen. We were never in ads of any kind and I remember what a big deal it was when Margaret Cho got a TV sitcom that lasted about two episodes.

“Growing up in the 1970s and ’80s, Jeff Yang, a New York-area marketing consultant, used to engage in “Asian-spotting” while watching TV and movies or looking at advertising. “If you saw an Asian in any role, it was remarkable,” he says. “Even if it was trivial or offensive, you felt that it was somehow better than being invisible.'” The Washington Post

And, I TOTALLY remember this ad:

“The few depictions of the 1960s and ’70s trafficked in gross stereotypes. In a famous early 1970s commercial for Calgon water softener, a laundry proprietor named Mr. Lee confided an “ancient Chinese secret” for cleaning shirts to a Caucasian customer. ” It actually didn’t bother me because there was FINALLY an Asian in a commercial without an thick accent.

Paul Farhi’s article asks a good question, “[Why] There’s no Asian American equivalent of the Old Spice guy, the hunky leading-man type played by an African American actor, Isaiah Mustafa. In fact, Asian American men rarely play romantic roles on TV or in American-made movies.” The article points out that there are basically two roles  for Asian Americans: techy and smart which is, I have to say, better than nerdy but still a small slice of who we really are.

“Even into the 1990s, marketers still depicted Asians as either martial arts experts or nerdy submissive types too shy to speak in public, Yang says.”

“‘When Asian Americans appear in advertising, they typically are presented as the technological experts — knowledgeable, savvy, perhaps mathematically adept or intellectually gifted. They’re most often shown in ads for business-oriented or technical products — smartphones, computers, pharmaceuticals, electronic gear of all kinds.”

And here’s the kicker:

Scholarly research shows that Asian American consumers accept the “model minority” advertising stereotype about themselves. In a study conducted last year, Yoo, the University of Texas researcher, showed panels of Asian Americans two sets of mock ads for mobile phones, the first featuring Caucasian models and the second with Asian models. Then, she repeated the experiment with ads for a “non-tech” product, cologne, alternating ads with Caucasian and Asian models.

Result: Asian American consumers were more favorably disposed toward the tech products when they were endorsed by the Asian models. They also liked the non-tech products more when they were endorsed by Caucasian models.

Yoo theorizes that this is a reflection of the “match up” theory: Asian American panelists have bought into the same cues and stereotypes as other Americans thanks to years of cultural exposure.”

In all fairness, the Best Buy Geek Squad ad below only depicts one Geek as Asian … among other ethnicities. I don’t think it’s offensive at all! What do you think of this ad and how Asian Americans are portrayed in general?

If there was an Asian American equivalent of the Old Spice Guy, who would you pick? My vote would be for Russel Wong.

Russel Wong Cute Hunky Asian American Actors JadeLuckClubRussel Wong

Philip Moon Hunky Asian American Actor JadeLuckclubPhilip Moon

John Cho Hunky Asian American Actors JadeLuckClubJohn Cho

Kal Penn Cute Asian American Actors JadeLuckClubKal Penn

Daniel Dae Kim Image cute hunky Asian American actors JadeLuckClubDaniel Dae Kim

Ken Leung actor cute asian actors JadeLuckClubKen Leung

B D Wong cute hunky handsome Asian American Actors JadeLuckClubB D Wong

James Kyson Lee hunky asian american actor JadeLuckClubJames Kyson Lee

Daniel Wu hunky handsome hot Asian American Actors JadeLuckclub next Asian Old Spice guyDaniel Wu


Asian Americans: By the Numbers According to U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau provided all of the information used in this report. Are Asians the “Model Minority?” And if so, why? Here are stats on income, sheer numbers and education. What is the takeaway? Education= Success + Power. If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice. I don’t have stat for average income for Asian American but I do have this tidbit from Wikipedia: As of 2008, Asian Americans had the highest educational attainment level and median household income of any racial demographic in the country, and the highest median personal income overall. Here’s a few more stats I dug up:

  • 44.1 percent of Asians in the U.S. have a Bachelor’s degree or higher– almost twice the U.S. national rate of 24.4 percent. And Asian Indians in the U.S. have a rate nearly three times the national average: 63.9 percent have graduated from college. 16.
  • 45 percent of Asians in the U.S. work in management, professional, or related occupations – above the U.S. national rate of 34 percent. Once again, Asian Indians are even further ahead: 59.9 percent are in management, professional, or related occupations. 17.
  • $57,518 –Median household income for Asians in the U.S. – which was 117 percent of the median for non-Hispanic White households ($48,977).
  • $40,700 Median income for Asian men in the U.S. in 2000 – higher than the national median of $37,100. For Asian Indian men, the median income is even higher still: $51,900.
  • $31,000 Median income for Asian women in the U.S. in 2000 – higher than the national median of $27,200. For Asian Indian women, the median income is even higher still: $35,200. 20.


17.3 million

The estimated number of U.S. residents of Asian descent, according to the 2010 Census. This group comprised 5.6 percent of the total population. This count includes those who said they were both Asian alone (14.7 million) and Asian in combination with one or more additional races (2.6 million).

5.6 million

The Asian alone or in combination population in California; the state had the largest Asian population in the 2010 Census, followed by New York (1.6 million). In Hawaii, Asians made up the highest proportion of the total population (57 percent).*

46 percent

Percentage growth of the Asian alone or in combination population between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, which was more than any other major race group.**

3.8 million

Number of Asians of Chinese descent in the U.S. in 2009. Chinese-Americans were the largest Asian group, followed by Filipinos (3.2 million), Asian Indians (2.8 million), Vietnamese (1.7 million), Koreans (1.6 million) and Japanese (1.3 million). These estimates represent the number of people who reported a specific Asian group alone, and people who reported that Asian group in combination with one or more other Asian groups or races.



50 percent

The percentage of single-race Asians 25 and older who had a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education. This compared with 28 percent for all Americans 25 and older.***

85 percent

The percentage of single-race Asians 25 and older who had at least a high school diploma. This is not statistically different from the percentage for the total population or the percentage of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander alone, 85 and 86 percent respectively.




How many more single-race Asians voted in the 2008 presidential election than in the 2004 election. All in all, 48 percent of Asians turned out to vote in 2008 — up 4 percentage points from 2004. A total of 3.4 million Asians voted.****


Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders

1.2 million

The number of U.S. residents who said they were Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, either alone or in combination with one or more additional races, according to the 2010 Census. This group comprised 0.4 percent of the total population. Over half of all people who identified as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander reported multiple races (56%).

Hawaii had the largest population of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders among the alone or in combination population with 356,000, followed by California (286,000). In Hawaii, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders comprised the largest proportion (26 percent) of the total population.

40 percent

Percentage growth of the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone or in combination population between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.


Income, Poverty and Health Insurance


The median income of households headed by single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.*****

15.1 percent

The poverty rate for those who classified themselves as single-race Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. This is not significantly different from the 2008 poverty rate.

17.3 percent

The percentage without health insurance for single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.


* Did you notice this weird coincidence too? 5.6% of U.S. population is Asian and 5.6 million of Asian Americans live in California!

** Are Asians really out pacing the Latino population?! I wouldn’t have guessed that.

*** None of us are shocked, right? Can you say, “Tiger Mom?!”

****Voting is power people! Let’s get out there to vote!

*****I wonder what the median income is for households headed by Asian. And households headed by Asian with post graduate degree. Does anyone know that? Education is also power but we all know that from our Tiger parents.