Research Project Title

Dismantling the Myth of the Model Minority: How harmful stereotypes effect Asian-American women

Session Type

Traditional Paper Presentation

Research Project Abstract

This research is a report on how the model minority myth negatively affects Asian-Americans, specifically Asian-American women. The model minority myth refers to the stereotype that Asian-Americans are more successful and hardworking than other minority groups in America. The myth is often times associated with the supposed superior perseverance, work ethic, and discipline that Asian-Americans have in relation to other minorities in America. This paper specifically explores the ways in which the model minority myth takes away the political and social agency of Asian-American women. The model minority myth ultimately takes away the ability of Asian-American women to form any sense of a strong racial identity. The myth pushes Asian-American women into a place of “racial limbo”, as they are too Asian to be white, and too connected to whiteness to be associated with other racial minorities. In turn, Asian-American women are left as “perpetual foreigners” in the political and social realm of America. They lose the ability to mobilize politically from a place racial power, thus preventing them from ever forming a strong political voice. The model minority myth also prevents women from having any autonomy over their social identity as a result of exotification and stereotyping. Unable to choose how they want to present themselves in American society, Asian-American women are subjected to living into present day stereotypes. These stereotypes essentialize the experience of Asian-American women, painting them as passive, hardworking individuals who almost act robotic in their existence. Exotification also subjects Asian-American women to be sexualized and perceived as perpetually “foreign”, thus preventing them from ever finding security or stability in their identity. This research explores the inclusion of ethnic studies program as a solution to dismantling the model minority myth, and empowering Asian-American women in the racial identity. In allowing Asian-American students to learn about their history, they are able to form a more solidified sense of self, rooted in racial empowerment. This will combat the harmful narratives dispelled by the model minority myth that erase the experiences of Asian-americans. For Asian-American women in particular, access to an ethnic studies program will allow them to obtain political and social power that has been historically denied to them.

Session Number

RS10

Location

Weyerhaeuser 203

Abstract Number

RS10-a

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Apr 28th, 2:15 PM Apr 28th, 3:45 PM

Dismantling the Myth of the Model Minority: How harmful stereotypes effect Asian-American women

Weyerhaeuser 203

This research is a report on how the model minority myth negatively affects Asian-Americans, specifically Asian-American women. The model minority myth refers to the stereotype that Asian-Americans are more successful and hardworking than other minority groups in America. The myth is often times associated with the supposed superior perseverance, work ethic, and discipline that Asian-Americans have in relation to other minorities in America. This paper specifically explores the ways in which the model minority myth takes away the political and social agency of Asian-American women. The model minority myth ultimately takes away the ability of Asian-American women to form any sense of a strong racial identity. The myth pushes Asian-American women into a place of “racial limbo”, as they are too Asian to be white, and too connected to whiteness to be associated with other racial minorities. In turn, Asian-American women are left as “perpetual foreigners” in the political and social realm of America. They lose the ability to mobilize politically from a place racial power, thus preventing them from ever forming a strong political voice. The model minority myth also prevents women from having any autonomy over their social identity as a result of exotification and stereotyping. Unable to choose how they want to present themselves in American society, Asian-American women are subjected to living into present day stereotypes. These stereotypes essentialize the experience of Asian-American women, painting them as passive, hardworking individuals who almost act robotic in their existence. Exotification also subjects Asian-American women to be sexualized and perceived as perpetually “foreign”, thus preventing them from ever finding security or stability in their identity. This research explores the inclusion of ethnic studies program as a solution to dismantling the model minority myth, and empowering Asian-American women in the racial identity. In allowing Asian-American students to learn about their history, they are able to form a more solidified sense of self, rooted in racial empowerment. This will combat the harmful narratives dispelled by the model minority myth that erase the experiences of Asian-americans. For Asian-American women in particular, access to an ethnic studies program will allow them to obtain political and social power that has been historically denied to them.