March 26, 2021

Christian Ravela, associate professor of humanities and cultural studies, spoke to WFTV about the model minority myth in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at Asian-owned spas in Atlanta. As the country becomes more aware of long-standing violence against Asian Americans, many people are wondering about the sources of anti-Asian racism.

“The history of the model minority myth really emerges during (the) 1960s period,” says Ravela. The term was coined by a sociologist who noted that despite a history of acts of anti-Asian discrimination, such as internment camps, Asian Americans assimilated into American society through hard work and good attitudes. This concept of the model minority was typically used to criticize other minorities, including African-Americans.

“If there’s the model minority, it’s counterposed to a problem minority,” says Ravela.

Ravela further discussed why the model minority is a myth, given it only considers East Asians and those who were considered to be highly skilled by immigration law standards set in the 1960s. The continuation of these laws prioritizing high-performing immigrants in the 1990s further supported the model minority myth.

Read the full WFTV article here.