Asian-Americans labor under some painful stereotypes, even though they’re praised as “the model minority”. What does “model” mean in this sense? Basically, that they’re the minority with the best qualities and skills. Surely this wouldn’t be negative? Ah, but it is. Read on to see why, and how Asian stereotypes can actually be quite damaging.
The most common Asian stereotype is that these people are hard-working and persistent, but lack charm and interpersonal skills. There is a disproportionately high level of interest on the part of this minority to get into Ivy League schools, and they work hard, in part hoping that the prestige of the school will protect them from discrimination when they start a job.
This isn’t the case. The stereotypes of Asians as diligent, technically competent, and quiet persist throughout their lives, making them less likely to be promoted into leadership or management positions. Asian-Americans are rarely seen in these roles despite having the skills to perform them. In particular, this applies to Asian-American males, as the women are just as victimized by the glass ceiling as white and black women are and aren’t seen in these roles either.
We can’t deny that many Asians are very successful all over the world. Surely this can’t be a coincidence! They do work very hard, are diligent, and make great efforts to get ahead. However, the pressure of this stereotype ignores the struggles of separate Asian nationalities and can be quite disabling.
The Worst Outcome of Stereotypes
The most notable consequence of the model minority stereotype is its failure to acknowledge educational and socioeconomic difference among the diverse Asian community. When we hear “Asian”, we automatically think “Chinese” or “Japanese”. However, they’re not the only Asian communities. For instance, statistics show that 2 of 5 Hmong-Americans drop out of high school. For Laotians and Cambodians, the numbers are 38 percent and 35 percent respectively.
The damage of Asian stereotypes is indisputable.