As American society in general and Asian Americans in particular continue to evolve in the increasingly globalized and transnational 21st century, it becomes even more important to understand the unique details that are included within both collective categories.
With that in mind and following up on my recent post about differences among Asian Americans when it comes to education, a new book entitled The Myth of the Model Minority: Asian Americans Facing Racism written by Rosalind Chou and Joe Feagin promises to be a very useful and enlightening resource on the Asian American experience:
In this pathbreaking book sociologists Rosalind Chou and Joe Feagin examine, for the first time in depth, racial stereotyping and discrimination daily faced by Asian Americans long viewed by whites as the “model minority.” Drawing on more than 40 field interviews across the country, they examine the everyday lives of Asian Americans in numerous different national origin groups.
Their data contrast sharply with white-honed, especially media, depictions of racially untroubled Asian American success. Many hypocritical whites make sure that Asian Americans know their racially inferior “place” in U.S. society so that Asian people live lives constantly oppressed and stressed by white racism.
The authors explore numerous instances of white-imposed discrimination faced by Asian Americans in a variety of settings, from elementary schools to college settings, to employment, to restaurants and other public accommodations.
The responses of Asian Americans to the U.S. racial hierarchy and its rationalizing racist framing are traced—with some Asian Americans choosing to conform aggressively to whiteness and others choosing to resist actively the imposition of the U.S. brand of anti-Asian oppression.
This book destroys any naïve notion that Asian Americans are universally “favored” by whites and have an easy time adapting to life in this still racist society.
I have not read the book yet and I have to admit that I do not know Rosalind Chou’s work very well, but I am a huge admirer of Dr. Feagin and respect him and his work immensely.
Therefore, but I have no doubt that this book will be a very enlightening and useful resource for faculty, students, and anybody else who seeks to understand what it means to be an Asian American in 21st century American society.