NAPAWF: Pew Report Should Not Be Misused to Further Model Minority Myth

The following text is from a press release issued yesterday by NAPAWF:

Today the Pew Research Center released a new demographic survey and report on Asians and Asian Americans in the United States. While the survey makes meaningful findings, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) warns that “The Rise of Asian Americans” should not be misused to further the myth of the “model minority.”

“The ‘model minority’ myth continues to make invisible many of the real needs in our community,” said Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). “American Pacific Islander women experience myriad health disparities, discrimination, long-term unemployment, domestic violence, foreclosure and more, but reports like this make it hard for those in need to have their voices heard.”

Asian Americans now comprise almost 6 percent of the U.S. population. The report recognizes Asians as the largest group of new immigrants arriving annually to the United States — a natural gateway to discussions about immigration and civil rights — but more in-depth analysis is needed to sincerely assess these issues. While the report does acknowledge that some Asian-American communities are poorer than their white counterparts, more light must be shed on the daily struggles of being an immigrant navigating the U.S. workforce and school systems.

“We can’t have a discussion about Asians in America without addressing the diversity of the population,” said Yeung. “Many in our communities are achieving the success our parents and grandparents dreamed about — but there is a gap in the report that would tell the story of those who are not.”

Nearly fifty years after the “model minority” label was introduced, Asian Americans still struggle to be seen and heard from their own perspective. An important next step in the struggle is for researchers to ask the questions that truly concern Asian Americans — questions that reveal the full complexity of a diverse, evolving community.

The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum is the only national, multi-issue Asian and Pacific Islander (API) women’s organization in the country. NAPAWF’s mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for API women and girls.