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Model Minority Myth

Throughout American history, Asian immigrants, like most minorities of color, have been cast in negative terms (e.g., inassimilable, yellow peril, opium addicts, coolies) and faced discrimination. However, this trend began to change in 1960, when sociologist William Peterson coined the term Asian model minority in an article in the New York Times Magazine. Similar sentiments began to appear in other news magazines during the 1960s. To bolster this argument, Asian Americans were shown to have higher educational attainment, higher-status occupations, rising median incomes, and lower rates of family instability, mental illness, and community crime. Asian family values such as academic achievement, hard work, discipline, and respect for authority were touted as leading to this success.

This characterization is problematic for several reasons. First, Asians are not ...

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