As the name suggests, the “model minority” is a term that was coined to describe the paragon of minorities: a demographic group perceived to achieve success despite their adversities. All minorities and marginalized groups are pressured to emulate the “model minority” and assimilate to the perceived racial status quo. The criteria for a “model minority” includes high income, high education, low criminality, and family stability. This term is most often attributed to East Asian demographic groups.
This website tracks the history of the “model minority” concept and deconstructs it through research on people who allegedly fit and do not fit under the label. These explorations direct our attention to how this idea is still relevant to present-day Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. In the pages that follow, we highlight the AAPI community in Michigan by first detailing the stereotypes related to the dated mid-1960s “model minority” label, then tracing the transformation of AAPI communities and individuals over time in relation to the stereotype.
The goal of this website is to explain how the concept of the “model minority” poses as a barrier to understand that Asian Americans have different ethnicities, nationalities, languages, cultural values, and socioeconomic statuses. Apart from understanding that Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are not a monolithic racial community with a single “Asian” narrative, they must individually be acknowledged not only to improve their experience and adjustment to the United States, but in so doing, we can break apart from the black-white binary of the linear American story and reevaluate it as one that is multiethnic and multicultural, with respect to the Asian American diversity within the United States.