Model minority

Model minority

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Encyclopedia
Model minority refers to a minority ethnic, racial, or religious
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 group whose members achieve a higher degree of success
Social status
In sociology or anthropology, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society . It may also refer to a rank or position that one holds in a group, for example son or daughter, playmate, pupil, etc....

 than the population average
Average
In mathematics, an average, or central tendency of a data set is a measure of the "middle" value of the data set. Average is one form of central tendency. Not all central tendencies should be considered definitions of average....

. It is most commonly used to label one ethnic minority higher achieving than another ethnic minority. This success is typically measured in income
Income
Income is the consumption and savings opportunity gained by an entity within a specified time frame, which is generally expressed in monetary terms. However, for households and individuals, "income is the sum of all the wages, salaries, profits, interests payments, rents and other forms of earnings...

, education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, and related factors such as low crime rate and high family stability
Sociology of the family
The Sociology of the family examines the family, as an institution and a unit of socialisation, through various sociological perspectives, particularly with regard to the relationship between the nuclear family and industrial capitalism, and the distinct gender roles and concepts of childhood which...

.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the term is associated with Asian Americans, primarily Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, and Korean Americans. In the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, the term is primarily associated with Indo people also known as Indies Dutchmen or Dutch Indonesians, the largest minority group in the country.
Generalized statistics are often cited to back up their model minority status such as high educational achievement and a high representation in white collar professions (jobs such as medicine, investment banking, management consulting, finance, engineering, and law).

A common misconception is that the affected communities usually hold pride in their labeling as the model minority. The model minority stereotype is considered detrimental to the Asian Pacific American (APA) community, because it is used to justify the exclusion of needy APA communities in the distribution of assistance programs, public and private, and understate or slight the achievements of APA individuals.

Some groups commonly noted to be exceptions to the Model Minority Myth are South East Asian communities (e.g. Cambodians and Lao Americans) and the Pacific Islander community (e.g. persons with origins in Guam and Micronesia). However, these regional generalizations are not always true. For example, Sri Lankan Americans are among the poorest ethnic groups, though South Asian Americans are regionally generalized as being a very wealthy and succcessful Asian American subgroup. In another example, both Vietnamese (South Asian) and Korean (East Asian) Americans have similarly low levels of average income.

The model minority myth relies on the aggregation of success indicators, hiding the plight of recent first-generation immigrants under the high success rate of more established Asian communities. While communities of Asian Americans that have been in the US for 3-4 generations are generally wealthier, immigrant communities of Asian Americans will experience great poverty.

Background


In 1966, the term "model minority" was coined in The New York Times magazine by sociologist William Petersen to describe Asian Americans as ethnic minorities who, despite marginalization, have achieved success in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. In his essay called "Success Story: Japanese American Style", he wrote that the Japanese cultures have strong work ethics and family values. Furthermore, he wrote that those values prevent them from becoming a "problem minority". A similar article about Chinese Americans was published in U.S. News and World Report in December 1960.

In the 1980s, almost all major U.S. magazines and newspapers printed success stories of Asian Americans.

In the 1970s and 1980s, many scholars challenged the model minority stereotype. B. Suzuki published "Education and the Socialization of Asian Americans: A Revisionist Analysis of the ‘Model
Minority Thesis." In the paper, he disagrees with how the media is portraying Asian Americans. He explains the sociohistorical and the comptemporary social system, and how the Model Minority stereotype is myth.

The Model Minority Stereotype


There has been a significant change in the perceptions of Asian Americans. In as little as 100 years of American history, stereotypes of East Asian Americans have changed to portraying a hard working and educated minority.

Asian Americans are spoken of as a 'model minority' group, often compared in a racially divisive way, as the minority group that is able to be successful, while other minority groups are relatively not. The term Asian Americans (as a model minority) is used primarily to describe the largest groups of Asian Americans in the U.S. (Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, and Korean). Both South and East Asians have made substantial progress in American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 society. For example, Vietnamese and Korean Americans have both made comparable levels of income.

An example of the Model Minority stereotype are phenomena, such as the high rates of educational attainment and economic success in the India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n American community. Pointing to generalized data, another argument for the Model Minority stereotype is generalized data such as from the U.S. Census Bureau, where the median household income of Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

s is $68,780, higher than the total population's $50,221.

However, there are extreme ranges of income by ethnic group, with some Asian American ethnic groups at the poorest levels of income in the US. For example, Vietnamese Americans (regionally categorized as South East Asian) have same levels of income as Korean Americans (regionally categorized as East Asian). The problems with the Model Minority Myth are often due to regional generalizations of the vast numbers of ethnic groups, which each have vastly different histories and immigration patterns, which in turn impact the experience and ability of various ethnic groups to succeed in the US.

The Model Minority Myth also points to the percentage of Asian Americans at elite universities (elite university being roughly defined as a school in the Top 40 according to US News and World Report.) Model Minority Myth proponents claim that while Asian Americans are only 5% of the U.S. population, they are over represented at all these schools. However, it is also true that Asian Americans comprise the majority of the population in many West and East Coast cities and regions. In California, for example, the over-representation argument is not true because there are majority populations of Asian Americans in California communities. Thus, it makes sense that high numbers of these populations would attend college in the state.

Unsurprisingly, Asian American students are concentrated in a very small percentage of institutions, in only 8 states (and half concentrated in California, New York and Texas). Moreover, more Asian American students attend two-year community college
Community college
A community college is a type of educational institution. The term can have different meanings in different countries.-Australia:Community colleges carry on the tradition of adult education, which was established in Australia around mid 19th century when evening classes were held to help adults...

s (363,798 in 2000) than four-year public universities (354,564 in 2000) and this trend (of attending community college
Community college
A community college is a type of educational institution. The term can have different meanings in different countries.-Australia:Community colleges carry on the tradition of adult education, which was established in Australia around mid 19th century when evening classes were held to help adults...

) is accelerating. Logically, West coast academic institutions are amongst those that have the highest concentrations of Asian Americans.

Due to the impacts of the Model Minority Myth, unlike other minority serving institutions, Asian American Pacific Islander serving institutions (AAPISI) did not receive federal recognition until 2007, with the passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which federally recognized the existence of AAPISIs, making them eligible for federal funding and designation as minority serving institution
Minority Serving Institution
In the higher education system of the United States, minority-serving institutions make up a category of educational establishments based on enrollment criteria...

s.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

's 2003 report Crime in the United States, Asian Americans have the lowest total arrest rates despite a younger average age, and high family stability.
Bachelor's Degree or Higher Educational Attainment
Ethnicity Percent of Population
Indian
Indian American
Indian Americans are Americans whose ancestral roots lie in India. The U.S. Census Bureau popularized the term Asian Indian to avoid confusion with Indigenous peoples of the Americas who are commonly referred to as American Indians.-The term: Indian:...

67.9%
Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

50.2%
Filipino
Filipino American
Filipino Americans are Americans of Filipino ancestry. Filipino Americans, often shortened to "Fil-Ams", or "Pinoy",Filipinos in what is now the United States were first documented in the 16th century, with small settlements beginning in the 18th century...

47.9%
Japanese
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

43.7%
Vietnamese
Vietnamese people
The Vietnamese people are an ethnic group originating from present-day northern Vietnam and southern China. They are the majority ethnic group of Vietnam, comprising 86% of the population as of the 1999 census, and are officially known as Kinh to distinguish them from other ethnic groups in Vietnam...

23.5%
Non-Hispanic White
White American
White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

27.0%
Black
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

14.3%
Cambodian 9.2%
Hmong
Hmong people
The Hmong , are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity in southern China...

7.5%
Laotian
Lao people
The Lao are an ethnic subgroup of Tai/Dai in Southeast Asia.-Names:The etymology of the word Lao is uncertain, although it may be related to tribes known as the Ai Lao who appear in Han Dynasty records in China and Vietnam as a people of what is now Yunan Province...

7.7%
General US Population 24.4%

Indian Americans


The model minority label has also recently included South Asian communities, in particular, Indian American
Indian American
Indian Americans are Americans whose ancestral roots lie in India. The U.S. Census Bureau popularized the term Asian Indian to avoid confusion with Indigenous peoples of the Americas who are commonly referred to as American Indians.-The term: Indian:...

s, drawn from their disproportionate socioeconomic success. For example, according to the census report on Asian Americans issued in 2004 by the U.S. census bureau, 64% of Indian Americans had a Bachelor's degree or higher, the highest for all national origin groups. In the same census, 60% of Indian-Americans had management or professional jobs, compared with a national average of 33%. Indian Americans, along with Japanese and Filipino Americans, have some of the lowest poverty rates for all communities, as well as one of the lowest rates of single parent households (7% versus the national average of 15%). Indian Americans also earn the highest average income out of all national origin groups. This has resulted in several stereotypes such as that of the "Indian Doctor".

Discrimination


The success of Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

s as a group has occurred despite severe discrimination in the previous century, such as, prior to the 1950s, being stereotyped as cheap, uneducated laborers.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some Americans feared that the western part of the US would be overrun by the "Yellow Peril
Yellow Peril
Yellow Peril was a colour metaphor for race that originated in the late nineteenth century with immigration of Chinese laborers to various Western countries, notably the United States, and later associated with the Japanese during the mid 20th century, due to Japanese military expansion.The term...

," prompting initiatives to reduce immigration from Asia, and during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, anti-Japanese paranoia led to thousands of Japanese Americans being held in "internment camps" in the USA.

In addition, numerous Asian Americans were recent immigrants or their offspring, since immigration laws had limited Asian immigration prior to the mid 1960s.

In the mid 1900s, the Yellow Peril stereotype began to give way to recognition of the racial group's socioeconomic accomplishments.

The "Yellow Peril
Yellow Peril
Yellow Peril was a colour metaphor for race that originated in the late nineteenth century with immigration of Chinese laborers to various Western countries, notably the United States, and later associated with the Japanese during the mid 20th century, due to Japanese military expansion.The term...

" stereotype towards East Asians soon broadened to include new South Asian immigrant groups under the terms Turban Tide and Hindoo Invasion
Turban Tide and Hindoo Invasion
The Turban Tide was a xenophobic perception of a mass immigration from the Indian subcontinent to the United States during the late 19th century....

, the first being a reference to the Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

 community and the latter being an archaic spelling of "Hindu", the religion of many South Asians.

Though not widely covered in mainstream media, various instances of racism have occurred throughout the country, a notable example being the well-known "macaca moment" involving George Allen
George Allen (U.S. politician)
George Felix Allen is a former United States Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the son of former NFL head coach George Allen. Allen served Virginia in the state legislature, as the 67th Governor, and in both bodies of the U.S. Congress, winning election to the Senate in 2000...

 and the killing of Vincent Chin.

Media Protrayal


Media coverage of the increasing success of Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

s as a group began in the 1960s, reporting high average test scores and marks in school, winning national spelling bee
Spelling bee
A spelling bee is a competition where contestants, usually children, are asked to spell English words. The concept is thought to have originated in the United States....

s, and high levels of university attendance.

In 1988, Asian-American writer Philip K. Chiu identified the prevalence of the model minority stereotype in American media reports on Chinese Americans, and noted the contrast between that stereotype and what he observed as the reality of the Chinese American population, which was much more varied than the model minority stereotype in the media typically presented.
Since the 1960s, and today, much media representation conveys Asian Americans only in terms of the Model Minority Myth, which is a vast stereotype that dehumanizes the struggles and experiences of the extremely diverse Asian American population. Stereotypes and media images in turn then inform individuals of their possibilities and roles. As Oprah Winfrey said, "you can only become what you can see." When there are repeated and very specific types of images, stereotypes become internalized and reinforced by individuals.

High school and university performance


The University of California
University of California
The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

 system is an academic institution with a high population of Asian Americans. For instance, at the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

, Asian Americans accounted for 42% of the undergraduate student body as of 2003. There are also a few top high schools in states with many Asian Americans where Asian Americans constitute large proportions of the student body; over half at Lowell High School
Lowell High School (San Francisco)
Lowell High School is a public magnet school in San Francisco, California. The school opened in 1856 as the Union Grammar School and attained its current name in 1896. Lowell moved to its current location in the Merced Manor neighborhood in 1962....

, Stuyvesant High School
Stuyvesant High School
Stuyvesant High School , commonly referred to as Stuy , is a New York City public high school that specializes in mathematics and science. The school opened in 1904 on Manhattan's East Side and moved to a new building in Battery Park City in 1992. Stuyvesant is noted for its strong academic...

, Brooklyn Technical High School
Brooklyn Technical High School
Brooklyn Technical High School, commonly called Brooklyn Tech or just Tech, and also administratively as High School 430, is a New York City public high school that specializes in engineering, math and science and is the largest specialized high school for science, technology, engineering, and...

, Hunter College High School
Hunter College High School
Hunter College High School is a New York City secondary school for intellectually gifted students located on Manhattan's Upper East Side. It is administered by Hunter College, a senior college of the City University of New York. Although it is not operated by the New York City Department of...

 and the Bronx High School of Science
Bronx High School of Science
The Bronx High School of Science is a specialized New York City public high school often considered the premier science magnet school in the United States. Founded in 1938, it is now located in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx...

. However, it is important to note that California and New York have the majority of the US population in the US, with Asian Americans consisting the majority of some communities.
Percent with High School Only and Less than High School Education Attainment by Ethnicity*
Ethnicity Less than High School Graduate High School Graduate
Non-Hispanic White
White American
White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

 
14.5% 30.1%
Black
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

 
27.7% 29.8%
Asian
Asian people
Asian people or Asiatic people is a term with multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.- Central Asia :...

 
15.8% 19.6%
Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 
19.2% 13.2%
Vietnamese
Vietnamese people
The Vietnamese people are an ethnic group originating from present-day northern Vietnam and southern China. They are the majority ethnic group of Vietnam, comprising 86% of the population as of the 1999 census, and are officially known as Kinh to distinguish them from other ethnic groups in Vietnam...

 
30.0% 19.1%
Cambodian  60.3% 18.8%
Hmong
Hmong people
The Hmong , are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity in southern China...

 
59.6% 16.1%
Laotian  49.6% 24.4%
*of the population age 25 and older

Possible Causes of Model Minority status



Self-selective immigration hypothesis


One possible cause of the higher performance of Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

s as a group is that they represent a small self-selected
Self-selection
In statistics, self-selection bias arises in any situation in which individuals select themselves into a group, causing a biased sample with nonprobability sampling...

 group of Asians. The relative difficulty of emigrating into the United States selected out those with less resources, motivation or ability.

Cultural differences


Cultural factors are thought to be part of the reason why Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

s are successful in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. East Asian societies themselves, in general, will often place more resources and emphasis on education. For example, the Chinese
Culture of China
Chinese culture is one of the world's oldest and most complex. The area in which the culture is dominant covers a large geographical region in eastern Asia with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, cities and provinces...

 culture places great value on work ethic and the pursuit of knowledge. In traditional Chinese social stratification, scholars were ranked at the top — well above businessmen and landowners. This view of knowledge is evident in the modern lifestyle of many Asian American families, where the whole family puts emphasis on education and parents will make it their priority to push their children to study and achieve high marks. Similar cultural tendencies and values are found in South and Southeast Asian families (such as Indian Americans and Filipino Americans), whose children similarly face extra pressure by parents to succeed in school and to achieve high-ranked jobs.

Asian American status in affirmative action


In the 1980s, several Ivy League schools alleged that they have limited admissions to Asian American students. Because of their high degree of success as a group and over-representation in many areas such as college admissions
College admissions
University admission or college admissions is the process through which students enter tertiary education at universities and colleges. Systems vary widely from country to country, and sometimes from institution to institution....

, most Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

s are not granted preferential treatment by affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

 policies as are other minority groups.

Some schools choose lower-scoring applicants from other racial groups over Asian Americans in an attempt to promote racial diversity
Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

 and to maintain some proportion
Proportionality (mathematics)
In mathematics, two variable quantities are proportional if one of them is always the product of the other and a constant quantity, called the coefficient of proportionality or proportionality constant. In other words, are proportional if the ratio \tfrac yx is constant. We also say that one...

 to the society's racial demographics
Demographics of the United States
As of today's date, the United States has a total resident population of , making it the third most populous country in the world. It is a very urbanized population, with 82% residing in cities and suburbs as of 2008 . This leaves vast expanses of the country nearly uninhabited...

.

This policy was highly criticized as simply going forth with the Model Minority Myth, instead of recognizing the individual struggles of people, despite their ethnic or racial background.

The policy was also highly criticized as framing admissions as either one minority or another minority member being admitted; instead of considering the spot of white Americans or non minorities.

Effects of the stereotype


According to Gordon H. Chang: The reference to Asian Americans as model minorities has to do with the work ethic, respect for elders, and high valuation of family and elders present in their culture.

Despite the fact that this concept seems to valorize Asian Americans, the notion is very narrow and dehumanizing. It delegitimizes the experiences of the many Asian Americans in poverty and low educational attainment.

The Model Minority Myth also comes with an underlying notion of their apoliticality. Such a label one-dimensionalizes Asian Americans as having those traits and no other human qualities, such as vocal leadership, negative emotions, or intolerance towards oppression. Asian Americans are labeled as model minorities because they have not been as much of a "threat" to the U.S. political establishment as blacks, due to a smaller population and less political advocacy. This label seeks to suppress potential political activism through euphemistic stereotyping. (Reference: Asian Americans and Politics: Perspective, Experiences, Prospects by Gordon H. Chang.)

Effects of Model Minority stereotyping


Asian Americans may also be commonly stereotyped by the general public as being studious, intelligent, successful, elitist, brand name conscious, yet paradoxically passive.

As a result, higher and unreasonable expectations are often associated with Asian Americans. Some educators held Asian students to a higher standard. This has the effect of those with learning disabilities being given less attention than they need. The connotations of being a model minority mean Asian students are often labeled with the unpopular "nerd
Nerd
Nerd is a derogatory slang term for an intelligent but socially awkward and obsessive person who spends time on unpopular or obscure pursuits, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities. Nerds are considered to be awkward, shy, and unattractive...

" or "geek" image. They are often harassed or bullied due to this stereotype. Asians have been the target of bullying and racism from other races due to the racially divisive model minority stereotype.

The higher expectations placed on East Asians as a result of the model minority stereotype carries over from academics to the workplace.

The Model Minority stereotype is emotionally damaging to many Asian Americans, since there are unjustified expectations to live up to stereotypes of high achievement. Studies have shown that Asian Americans suffer from higher rates of stress, depression, mental illnesses, and suicide attempts in comparison to other races. The pressures to achieve and live up to the model minority image have taken a tremendous mental and psychological toll on Asian Americans.

Cultural references

  • The film
    Film
    A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

     Better Luck Tomorrow
    Better Luck Tomorrow
    Better Luck Tomorrow is a 2002 crime-drama film directed by Justin Lin. The movie is about Asian American overachievers who become bored with their lives and enter a world of petty crime and material excess...

    plays on the model minority stereotype by depicting a group of East Asian American
    Asian American
    Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

     teenagers who use their academic achievements to cover up criminal activities they are involved with.

  • In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
    Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
    Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is a 2004 American stoner film and the first installment in the Harold & Kumar series...

    , Harold is faced with the stereotype of the intelligent, academically successful and "nerd
    Nerd
    Nerd is a derogatory slang term for an intelligent but socially awkward and obsessive person who spends time on unpopular or obscure pursuits, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities. Nerds are considered to be awkward, shy, and unattractive...

    y" Asian
    Asian people
    Asian people or Asiatic people is a term with multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.- Central Asia :...

     male. Kumar, of South Asian descent and whose father and brother are both medical doctors, denies himself the prospect of going to medical school
    Medical school
    A medical school is a tertiary educational institution—or part of such an institution—that teaches medicine. Degree programs offered at medical schools often include Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Bachelor/Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, master's degree, or other post-secondary...

     in defiance of the "Indian doctor" stereotype despite his considerable intellect and knowledge.

Black African immigrants


According to the London Daily Times "Black Africans have emerged as the most highly educated members of British society, surpassing even the Chinese as the most academically successful ethnic minority." In a side-by-side comparison of 2000 census data by sociologists including John R. Logan at the Mumford Center, State University of New York at Albany, black immigrants from Africa averaged the highest educational attainment of any population group in the U.S., including whites and Asians.

According to an analysis of Census Bureau data by The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, some 48.9 percent of all African immigrants hold a college diploma. This is slightly more than the percentage of Asian immigrants to the U.S., nearly double the rate for native-born white Americans, and nearly four times the rate for native-born African Americans. In an article by Clarence Page for the Chicago Tribune 43.8 percent of African immigrants had achieved a college degree, compared with 42.5 of Asian Americans, 28.9 percent for immigrants from Europe, Russia and Canada and 23.1 percent of the U.S. population. The article beginning with the lines "Do African immigrants make the smartest Americans?" was meant to call attention to the dubiousness of affirmative action.

Similar to the Asian American population, attainment rates vary widely between countries. Nigerians have both the largest number of immigrants as well as the highest educational attainment and income statistics.

Other countries



In Germany the Vietnamese have been called a model minority, because while many first generation Vietnamese immigrants live below the nation's poverty line, their children are successful in gaining access to Germany's university preparatory schools, the so called Gymnasien. Their success has been called "Das vietnamesische Wunder". ("The Vietnamese Miracle"). A study revealed that while in the districts of Lichtenberg and Marzahn, Vietnamese account for only 2% of the general population, but make up 17% of the prep school population.

See also

  • Academic elitism
    Academic elitism
    Academic elitism is a charge sometimes levied at academic institutions and academics more broadly, arguing that academia or academics are prone to undeserved and/or pernicious elitism; the term "ivory tower" often carries with it an implicit critique of academic elitism...

  • Affirmative action
    Affirmative action
    Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

  • Dominant minority
    Dominant minority
    A dominant minority, also known as alien elites if they are recent immigrants, is a group that has overwhelming political, economic or cultural dominance in a country or region despite representing a small fraction of the overall population...

  • Elitism
    Elitism
    Elitism is the belief or attitude that some individuals, who form an elite — a select group of people with intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most...

  • Narcissism
    Narcissism
    Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait...

  • Stereotypes of East and Southeast Asians
  • Stereotypes of South Asians
    Stereotypes of South Asians
    Stereotypes of South Asians are oversimplified ethnic stereotypes of South Asian people, and are found in many Western societies. Stereotypes of South Asians have been collectively internalized by societies, and are manifested by a society's media, literature, theatre and other creative expressions...

  • Supremacism
    Supremacism
    Supremacism is the belief that a particular race, species, ethnic group, religion, gender, sexual orientation, belief system or culture is superior to others and entitles those who identify with it to dominate, control or rule those who do not.- Sexual :...


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